Tag Archives: education

Peace Day

31 Jan

 

Last Friday they celebrated Peace Day at my daughter´s Kindergarten. All the children had to come to school wearing a white shirt.

One little boy showed up that day in a colourfully striped T-shirt. Because his father had forgotten about the white shirt assignment, or simply couldn´t be bothered, I don´t know.

I imagine the teacher seeing that boy walking into the classroom in his multicoloured shirt, amid a sea of white. I imagine her raising one eyebrow and sighing. I imagine her thinking what she´d like to tell the dad, like, for real.

But – it was Peace Day. So, you know, what can you do?

 

 

 

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Pass The Cambridge Proficiency In English Exam: Check

6 Jan

(Number 5 on the list)
In 2015 I gave myself a useful present: a 40-hour course to prepare myself for the Proficiency in English Exam.

 
I did this for three reasons:
• I love English.
• I´m an English teacher, but not a native speaker. So that certificate will be a great help when I start looking for a job again.
• I´m often asked to prepare people for language exams, so I thought it would be a useful experience doing an exam myself.

So that´s how I got to spend eight Saturdays in a row bent over linguistic exercises. My fellow students were a bunch of bright and brilliant twenty-somethings and one sweet-tempered middle-aged woman. Most of us were strangers to each other, but again that Spanish magic happened, the way I´ve seen it happen so many times before. You put some Spaniards together and within a few hours they will have managed, with the skillful use of casual conversation, to tie a group together that is ready to collectively celebrate Christmas, New Year´s and each other´s birthdays. Whenever I get to be part of that experience, I always feel blessed for living here.

 
Our teacher was a loveable Scottish girl, who repeatedly expressed how sorry she felt for having us all locked up inside on a Saturday evening. But those were needles worries, because it always seemed to fly by.

 
The exam took place at the end of November, in a fancy hotel. It took just about the whole day, hours and hours of intense concentration. I was tired but in full Border Collie mode, so I managed all right.

Today is Three Kings´ Day, which is a big thing in Spain. The Three Wise Men bring presents to all those supposedly well-behaved children, the way Santa Claus/Father Christmas does in the English-speaking world, and Sinterklaas in Belgium, Germany and The Netherlands. But apparently those magic kings also have some leverage with the people at Cambridge, because we´ve just found out that our results are already online.

And I passed!

Thank you, Melchior, Gaspar and Balthasar!

Stuff vs Stories

25 Jun

At the end of the school year, my daughter brought home a folder with all the things she did on the school project, which was about pirates. Apparently this subject was chosen democratically, by means of a poll held among all 126 toddlers of the Primera de Infantíl. The poll was included in the folder and showed the various options as well as the votes each option received from the 3-year-old electors.

They could choose between:

*fairy tale characters

* vehicles

* the circus

* toys

* pirates

As you can see in the picture below, pirates celebrated a landslide victory that day, followed by the circus and fairy tale characters. No doubt a memorable party followed in Neverland. And the big losers were: toys.

Isn´t that remarkable? We live in a time where children are absolutely overloaded with toys in any shape and colour, where they get toys on every possible occasion, where we live under the impression that, to make our child happy we have to give them something material, and to stimulate their development they need educational toys specifically devised to meet their needs at that specific age.

Of course every child pressed with his nose against the shopping window of the Disney store will dictate to you an exhaustive list of things he wants to have.

But if we give children a free choice, if we ask them what they really want, toys apparently are the last thing on their mind.

They want adventures.

They want stories.

And I know this wasn´t in the poll, but I bet their favourite storytellers are the people they love.

poll

Tiger

26 Nov

My daughter´s class in preschool is the class of the tigers.
How wonderful, I thought, that at the age of 3 you learn that you are a powerful creature.
That you are beautiful and majestic.
That you have a natural strenght inside you that reaches far beyond your imagination.
And that the kids in the other class are pigs.

tiger