“We are all citizens of one world.” The Comenius Programme is named after Jan Amos Comenius (1592-1670), often considered the father of modern education. Comenius is aimed at schools, colleges and local authorities across Europe. Comenius has two main objectives:
- To develop knowledge and understanding among young people and education staff of the diversity of European cultures and languages, and the value of this diversity
- To help young people to acquire basic life skills and competences for their personal development, for future employment and for active European citizenship
At St Mary’s we have participated in two previous Comenius projects:
Project One 2004-2007
In the first year of this E.U. funded project we focussed on traditional recipes and foods from the participating countries, each class in school had a partner class in one of the countries and we all swapped recipes, for example the Foundation Phase department had great fun making authentic Italian Pizza whilst Year 6 made a Norwegian Christmas drink called Grog. The first year culminated in a ‘European week’ in school where, thanks to the schools meal service, children were able to invite in their parents to sample menus from the five participating countries and the children also took part in fun activities such as country quizzes.
The theme for the second year was traditional games and hobbies. Each class sent instructions illustrated with photographs showing their partner classes how to play games such as ‘stuck in the mud’, ‘musical statues’, ‘Queenio’ and so on. We then received instructions on how to play games from our partner schools and had great fun trying them out in P.E., after playing them we e-mailed our partners with our thoughts on their games.
In the final year we looked at ‘Houses and Homes’. We sent over photographs and written descriptions of the types of homes we live in in Wales and how we decorate them at Christmas. The last part of the project looked at how environmentally friendly we were at home and the children designed the ‘Eco-home of the future’.
We kept in touch with our partner classes through e-mail and also sent gifts and other packages through the normal mail system. Apart from the specific themes mentioned above there was also a continual exchange of material between classes throughout the year, one particular highlight being a Christmas pack, in which the children decided to include paintings, decorations and stories that they felt best illustrated a Christmas in Wales, in return we received similar packs off our partner countries, the children were then able to look for similarities and differences between our cultures.
Project Two 2009-2011
In this project we established links with partners in four countries; Greece (SaravaliSchool in Patras), Spain (CEIP Carballal in Marin , Galicia), Turkey (NosabPrimary School in Bursa) and Poland (Szkola Podstawowa in Torun).
The theme for the whole of the project was to improve the environmental awareness of all those participating, including pupils and adults. We also thought it important to look at aspects of citizenship that affect us all across cultural differences.
We attempted to achieve these objectives through pre-determined projects on environmental subjects such as recycling and pollution. However we also worked on slightly less formal projects with individual partners looking at cultural differences associated with how we celebrate different festivals throughout our year and so on.
By the end of the two years it was hoped that all those involved had a better understanding of the cultural differences between the different countries, which in turn has hopefully led to a better understanding and tolerance in the citizens of the future.