f#@%

by Gabriela Barton

September had barely started when one of the teachers of our school called for an assembly. We gathered around the biggest room available and sat in circle. Soon enough we knew the reason for this intervention: some pupils had been using curse words too often, to the point of bothering other kids, so it was their idea to search for an agreement.

This situation is actually easy to picture for any educator of primary school, but unlike the formal system, we do not simply cut this behavior off by forbidding these words without any explanation. In a democratic system, although there are differences among us in terms of experience, age and responsibility, all opinions are valid and ought to be heard and pondered.

Soon enough there were several risen hands requesting intervention. One by one, the children exposed their own views on the matter, for and against the use of these “bad” words, on why they were bad, what they really meant and how to use them. Children and adults discussed the pros and cons of using such vocabulary. After a heated and prolonged debate, we reached the following conclusion:

Language is to be used. Curse words are fun: they are short, expressive, and get a reaction from others most of the time, as well as they suppose an outlet for our own emotions. However, if we overuse them, they will lose this power and not provide any relief to feelings of frustration, pain or joy. Also, they can sound aggressive to some people and intimidate them. We do not want this to happen, as we live in a peaceful community. We need to take care of our words to convey what we feel in the most effective way, so it is only logical to use “strong” words when “strong” emotions are involved.

As a result of these premises, we made two new rules involving curse words:

  1. Cursing is okay if we really need to do so.
  2. Cursing as a joke is okay with close friends of our age: not with smaller kids and not in front of adults. This way we set an example for the younger ones and we respect the feelings of the teachers and parents.

This is the way we believe decisions are taken and problems are solved: with the understanding and participation of all involved.

When the system steals your freedom… F#@% the system!

A week in a Youth Exchange in Croatia

I was in Croatia for a Youth Exchange called “Color Blind” for one week. I went there to represent Poland, but there were also other countries like Italy, Spain, Croatia, Serbia and Germany. There were 36 of us ! The band was awesome! With different personalities, we had a lot of fun !

A first day in a YE can be scary and cleated, especially for shy introverts. Like a push in cold water; with all the new rules, arrangements and side effects to share a week with a bunch of strangers.

But this day a melt really like a good ol’chocolate. We entered the water of illumination with a welcoming hot shower (rain). We were working our shallow path to deeper seas, discovering facts on the surface, such as “Where do you live and what are your names?”, but already dig deeper with great curiosity. (We even had heroes of the day, which is great, since we weren’t warned to act like one).

On the second day, we had a mission impossible to solve with our 36 ! Of course, the mission was not impossible and we solved it in 25 minutes ! What an incredible group !

Then we had a workshop in small groups to create our country ! The result was very funny, we had discovered that we are all crazy ! But that finally our countries all had one thing in common: Solidarity and joy of life !!

After that, one last workshop that is done in two. For me it was very difficult, the goal: to find 3 qualities and 3 defects then then find 3 qualities and 3 defects to his partner. It wasn’t easy, because we were only on the second day, but it allowed us to get to know others and also it was interesting to compare what we thought of ourselves.

The third day was based on our topics of the week, we, the group from Poland we had “gender equality”. We had present our topics in the form of a game, “the watchzapping”. The goal of the game: by group by country, they had available themes on gender equality and had to invent a play in 5 minutes. We had a remote control, like to change the programs to TV. The other bands had to guess which topic was played by the other bands.

Day four, we went to another city, Varadzin. There we were by think tank and we had to do the “city quest”. This game is perfect for getting to know a city or a country. We had to find 5 historical monuments and take pictures with them. Swap something out of our pocket with a local person, learn a typical phrase from this city or even sing in the city center and collect 10 kunas.

Day five, we learned that we were going to have to prepare a game for a school with children with disabilities related to our topic, gender equality. We created a game of goose, this game is just perfect!! We keep it and we’re thinking about modifying it to play with our friends.

Day six, THE big day! We went to this school and we played with the kids, it was one of my best days. The kids were all very cute and all participated in our games!

The seventh day, and the last! And yes, it’s already the end… We had to do a reflection session on how the week unfolded. Then lots of little workshops about the week, and how we had lived this week.

It was really good! And very fun, I learned a lot about different countries, about migration, how to solve conflicts or in diversion in the same country.

Polish group

Aurélie

Contact-Making seminar “EduACTor for change”

What happened between 7th to 15th of June in Salzburg, Austria?

A  group of youth educators,Teachers, social activist, project  managers meet to discuss new educational perspective, share experiences from daily routine but mainly exchange contacts for future projects partnerships and also change the funding opportunities available , so indispensable for materialization of any project.

Some of the participants  meet each other already in previous occasion , so the rencounter was already a good sign that the seminar would be fortifruit, indeed even for us , as young educators.

The works sessions was held from 9 a.m to 18p.m covering a range of topics related to youth participation and socio-cultural inclusion.

What was really lovely to see is the diversity of the participants,in terms of religion,culture, backgrounds , age , experiences, even life philosophy.48 people from more than 10 countries, 3 continents proves that is possible a peaceful cohabitation of differents communities in the same space.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/333944420837802/

For some more impressions, just click on the above link to read the Facebook posts and comments about the seminar, and follow the Facebook page of the Generation europa to stay tuned about upcoming events.   

With all the knowledge and skills gathered, some participants has teamed up to carry on some projects elaborate “in loco” testing the methods from the seminar.At the end,all the participants agreed on keeping the contact so we can keep on the track of our work as well as our amazing network.

Interculturalism mosaic nights rhymes with barbecues nights which goes well with marvelous view of Austrian alps.As they say “every end is the new beginning”.

French experience in Poland

French moment !

On November 21, 2018, I met for the first time, Johana the French teacher in a high school with 3 of her pupils. Today I arrive almost at the end of my project and I continue to visit every Wednesday at this high school to meet Johana, Kamila and Dominika. Sometimes other students join us, it depends because these are extra lessons.

To be honest, it’s not really French lessons!! We discuss, share music, books, poems… They even made me discover French music that I did not know!

But it goes beyond the meetings in high school, we see ourselves outside too. To drink a coffee and chat, or just walk and they make me discover from day to day Sosnowiec. We’re going to eat zapiekanka. And with Dominika we will run on Sundays, at last I mean… We’re trying!

It’s really nice moments, we even plan to keep in touch with each other! They are in love with France, and as soon as they can, they leave to visit France. Kamila is going to France in October 2019, I will have finished my project here in Poland. But we plan to see us when she’s coming to France.

Aurelie from France

Poland through the rear-view mirror

Samurai Jaime in Torun

This voluntary service it’s going to be that experience I will tell everyone about. I will tell my friends about that time I lived in the south of Poland, about the people from the 21 different countries I met. About their names and our differences, about how much they thaught me, about the words they showed me in their languages.

I will tell them how much I enjoyed steping the snow every day in winter when I was going to the school and how many times I felt because of it. I will show them pics of the foods I tried but I can’t pronunce. I will tell them about the people I lived with, about our jokes and long talks.

I will explain what an arrival training and mid-term meeting are, and what we did there, about the beers we drank singing and the activities we played together. I will explain them how I introduced my roomate to another volunteer and how I reacted when they told they were gonna get married.

Comunist museum in Warszawa

I will tell them about how we were looking for dwarfs in our trip to Wrocław. How I feel when I visited Auschwitz in the coldest day on winter, and how I saw Kraków by the hand of a beautiful woman who showed me her favourite places.

I will tell everyone about that day I went to Chec Republic and I jump on the bridge, over the line that separates both countries. I will tell them about the history of Warszawa, about the nice guide who showed us the buildings and the destrucción that the city suffered. And about that day that a priest gifted me a cake for a photo with me.

I will explain how polish people curse, cause I learnt even that, and how elegants go students to do their exams. And the teachers, if I talk about my time in Poland I must talk about the nice teachers who took care of me, with who I went to dinner and how they surprise to each other.

My and my roomates in Wroclaw

I will tell them about the spanish teachers and how polish people love spanish culture, how they asked about every detail and compared to their own culture.

I will tell them how it was to go to a polish cinema, how I fought with polish buses and trams until I got so used I could go everywhere by my own. How I solved my problems here and who helped me, how I stayed two days at bed, cause is not always easy to be far from home and how I enjoyed to live outside my confort zone and all I loved. How I answered “Cause I know nothing about Poland” when people asked me why I moved to their country, and I how I explained that I’ve never wanted to think twice instead of living. How I realized how many things I had in my life and I never needed.

I will tell them how I learnt again to do the things I already knew how to do, but I wanted to learn again, to learn better. How I open myself to people with who I couldn’t talk cause we didn’t have a common language, how I helped people with power to be happy, and how I showed to people who lived longer than me, how to live properly. I will tell them how the most innocent question opened my mind to answers I didn’t expect, and how with those answers I hitted the brain of the closest mind I found, and I made a hole, not big, but big enough to let some light enter.

Dinner is ready

I will tell them how I cricked a wip, how I wore a crown and how I fought a wall. How I made people enjoy the silence for a minute and how I sang so hard that I thought the building was colapsing.

How I lied, and how I lost saying the truth, how I met awful people and how I’m gonna keep in touch with others I need in my life forever.

I will tell them how I got trapped inside a sofa and how I rescued someone from inside a container. How I scared a stranger speaking in spanish and how I found a door behind a bookshelf. How I had to explain what ñ means, through the phone, and how we stop a guy in the middle of the street to take a pic with his shows, or how I met someone who was reading the same book as me in another language. How I spend so many hours sitting in the train that my butt felt sleep and I couldn’t get up for a while, or how the control of the train convinced me to jump in without ticket.

With the Joannas, english teacher and spanish teacher

How I saw a railway on the bottom of a lake and how I danced under a spider. I will definitely explain how I change my name for a week and how I didn’t speak in three days, cause it was forbbiden.

I will tell them how my students looked for me on the breaks and how I had to carry even some of them on my arms. How we made a huge puzzle and how I played my role in a show for them. How we watched movies together and how I carried their mistake as mine in front of the teacher, cause they needed.

In our blue mission on Torun

I will explain about the battle between the shark and the giant octopus and about the student who felt with me on the ice to make me company while the rest were skating properly. And how my roomate and I got lost cause we were do drunk that we were following the GPS with the phone head down, or how I burnt my hand doing laundry.

If I have to talk about my time in Poland I could tell a lot of things, and that’s what I will do.

Jaime.

My feelings in the Horse’s School

I remember very well my first day as volunteer in the Horse School. I took a walk in the park of the school with my tutor at school and some pupils with disabilities, and it was asked me if working with these children scared me. I answered that I felt totally at ease. The truth was that I felt a mix of excitement of tension: I wasn’t afraid of the children, I was afraid of myself. I was afraid of realizing over the time of not being able to meet the expectations of this challenge, and I was afraid that I couldn’t provide any contribution for the emotional growth of these children. I forced myself to set aside these irrational fears, because I had come here in Poland very motivated and aware of my potentialities, and I didn’t have reasons to doubt myself, I knew that I was a person with an extraordinary and innate capacity to connect and empathize by all the means, and the fact that I was going to work with children with serious disabilities (and who didn’t even speak english) wouldn’t be a problem. I had just to do what I was able to do without judging myself and giving me the opportunities of making mistakes, because it’s through mistakes that we can understand which parts of us we have to improve, and how we can do it.

Every day at school I make different activities (cooking, gym, drawing, ceramic, workshop, support to children with low abilities, theatre, gardening, hyppotherapy, music therapy) with the pupils of the school, and each of these activities gives me a different kind of fullfillment, even those that at the beginning I liked less (ceramic), beacuse it’s always amazing to see as collaborating with these children with these pupils can make them feel so involved in what they do. And something that I found out is how the hyppotherapy is giving me a new kind of awareness of myself and a new emotional balance, teaching me how to carry my energies and my concentration in what I am doing, setting aside my feelings and thoughts connected to these. Horses are very mighty and forceful animals, and when you work with them you have to be aware that everything can happen in a tenth of a second, and consequently you must pay attention and have the control of the situation, in order to guarantee the security of yourself and the children, and all the people around you. All this makes me enter in an emotional dimension, in which only the horse, the child and me are included. This thing helps me to “feel myself” and to disconnect from all the rest. Moreover I have to say that if I’ve always had the passion of cooking, the desire to make the culinary tradition of my country known to the pupils and the teachers of my school has led me to improve more and more my cooking skills, and it’s always rewarding to see how the pupils are curious to learn, and their enthusiasm and their partecipation is even better than knowing how much they appreciate that I propose (not for being self-celebrative but I consider myself The King in cooking pasta…at least here in Sosnowiec). But the thing that I am more proud of, it’s how I’ve been able to transform some pupils that at the beginning seemed very unwilling to speak and to partecipate, but by providing them some inputs with little gestures and single words (even meaningless), I’ve managed to unblock them. And those meaningless words and gestures are fundamental, and they get worth when we realize how important they are for establishing a connection, built on shared meanings. I think this is the most important thing that this experience has taught me, and it doesn’t concern just the professional field, but it’s an important life lesson: sometimes we need to think about recovering and rediscovering the beauty of simplicity and spontaneity instead of measuring people’s abilities of communication by big, redundant and empty speeches. I couldn’t be more satisfated than now, because learning this lesson allowed me to learn something very important about myself: in my past I used to be very shy and insecure, and sometimes I’m still afraid that this feelings of insecurity can go back to haunting me, but that now I know that if I want I’m not just able to unblock myself, but I’m even able to unblock other people (in this case very problematic people). In conclusion: working in the Horse’s School makes me feel fullfilled as I’ve never felt.

Guido

EVS adventure of Stanley Williams

Aurélie on our first visit of Katowice.

Introduction to a long term stay

My adventure started in April 2018 as I was in high school and my final National exams were approaching very quickly. I was starting to be scared of going to University but as everyone was doing it I decided to do it too. After a few months of being panicked I came to the conclusion that maybe University was not made for me so this is what I decided to find Opportunities to travel. Very quickly, I ended up finding what was called European voluntary service which is now European solidarity corps, and started applying for many different projects.

I started being very stressed as no organization were accepting me, until one day my friend was with me in a bar and told me that she did EVS last year in Poland. First I was a bit skeptical but she kept telling me that it was an amazing experience and that I should definitely try it. (This happened mid August, and I started my applications in April… I was about to give up) the next day I decided to open my computer and add Poland to my research for volunteering. And within a few days only I have been accepted by the active woman Association of sosnowiec. I eventually had to Skype interview with Monica and Anita showed my motivation my projects my state of mind and got in touch with my mentor a few days after.

Only 2 weeks after this interview I was jumping in a plane to Poland not without a lot of stress.

And here I am in Krakow beginning of September 2018. I get panicked and lost in Kraków… I had to find my way to katowice by myself, on my first minutes of traveling alone. It ended up being something that I laugh about and was actually a good training and life lesson for me.

I came to Poland with many things in mind, such as developing my creativity, developing my first professional skills, meeting new people and finally developing my self confidence and autonomy.

A picture of our first shopping, not the least!

The personal aspect

We live in a very cosy flat, located in Środula. The first month seemed boring and a bit long, I didn’t meet many people or go out so much… Maybe homesickness?

But in October I was invited to a training camp in Ramales de la Victoria, Spain, about non violent communication, emotional management, and power abuse. I met people from Italy, Romania, Spain, and Hungary! This was a very enriching experience and also a big week of crying and hard work. Between the heavy Spanish meals we made activities of mind opening, awareness raising, stereotype breaking, and energisers. In conclusion, it was an amazing week filled with laughter, tears, and human love.

One of our workshops with Jaime and Teresa
(look at this sun and beautiful mountains)

When I came back to our flat in Sosnowiec, the new volunteer was here: Almudena, a very energic, imaginative 24 year old woman from Spain. This is when everything changed, she made me meet new people, we went out to have drinks on weekends and talking with crazy polish youngsters. The social aspect of my stay in Poland took a whole different turn when I started to become friends with Almu!

Still today, she is and will be a very precious friend to me…

Almudena in the Art School

I am blessed to have such a good relation with all my flatmates. Together we have fun, decorate our flat to feel at home and learn from each other. Aurélie teached me how to cook, clean, be organised, take care of money, etc… And I taught her English!

It is not always easy, but we always communicate and solve our problems like adults.

Untill now, I have SO MUCH fun around here and truly feel at home.

The professional aspect

I started working in school number 30 of sosnowiec which is a specialized school for disabled children. My mentor was Peter a very strong man that you can see on this picture below.

Peter, Aurélie, Teresa, and me.

While working in the school I have been teaching a lot of English, looking after the pupils in corridors so they don’t fight or hurt themselves, and moreover playing a lot with them. This playing included many things from football to basketball and drawing. None of them could actually speak English but there was this constant will from them two communicates with us in the ways they could. It was very funny moments, I keep good memories of it. Sometimes we would go out to the park or to the stadium for some sport events. We even went to see films and jazz concerts.

I have been working with pizza until end of November, but started to be bored and a routine installed itself. Who knows maybe this was not to job for me. Jaime and Almudena, two of my flatmates were working in a art school in Dąbrowa Górnicza. But at some point an incident happened, and Almudena asked me to join her in her projects from Dąbrowa. This is how I ended changing school . And a new project was starting for me.

Art school in Dąbrowa Górnicza

This school includes no disabled children only very creative and autistic teenagers. As I am a very artistic profile I considered that this would maybe be a more appropriate job for me.

And I was right! Shortly after arriving in this school, I made a lot of friends within the pupils and started launching some crazy projects with Almudena.

Almu and Me posing next to the Bachus statue of our school …

The first weeks were pretty calm so my coworker and me spent most of our time with the photography teacher to eventually became our very good friend. His name is Sylwester.

Sylwester on Christmas period.

But it was not enough, we needed to create something more concrete, and this is when my coworker came up with the idea of creating a class where the students would just come and experiment their own autistic qualities. This may sound very special but in this school students mostly have to paint still-life, and this is not so interesting, so in these classes we give them the opportunity to experiment abstract art and other informal types of art that they would not be allowed to do in formal classes.

The name of these classes is Art You Lost?

The students were free to choose if they would join this class or no, and we ended up having two different groups each of them including about five or six students.

Group 1
Group 2

Since, our groups have been creating paintings of their dreams, drawing games, and even activities such as “make the most HORRIBLE creation you’ve ever made”.

We produced A LOT, and there is still so much to do, so many ideas. We are not even sure if we will have the time to finish all of them!…

Conclusion

I was afraid of many things before coming here. Would I be homesick? Would I be happy with Polish culture? Would the work be too hard? Would I make friends?

In the end, all of those questions went down: I am the happiest boy ever! I made good friends, long lasting friends, learned from myself, learned from poeple, acquired new soft skills, became almost 100% autonomous, discovered so many things, and found true love.

Me watching a sunset in Będzin with a very, very, very good friend of mine.

Stanley Williams, a happy and fulfilled boy with orange hair, volunteering in Poland for 11 months.

MY EVS- JUANJO

Hello, my name is Juanjo, I am 19 years old, I was born in Argentina but I have lived all my life in Spain, I am a volunteer of the Erasmus plus project,
I am currently living in a small town called Sosnowiec, which is very close to Katowice which is a bigger city than with other
volunteers we go usually.
My volunteering began at the end of September and I have been here for 6 months now, in my experience here I could say that a little bit of everything has happened to me, things
good and bad things … But as everywhere, that never changes, if you do an EVS you have to be clear that you are going to share a flat, you are going to have to
get used to other ways of living.
I had never had an experience of sharing a flat with another person or being in another country living for almost 1 year.
I will be able to talk about many aspects of the EVS but it would be very long so I will talk a little bit about everything …
In our project we mainly help in the school, in my opinion it is one of the things that most fills me either by our tutor, who always
help, or by students, at the end of the day something gives us and learns.
Speaking of tutors, mentors, etc … I suppose that in each project it will be different but in my case our teacher we help is one of the best
people that I have met here and that I know will always be 24H, for us it is a great support here.
But I know that other projects is not the same, you do not always have a good relationship with your coordinator or you are not comfortable in your city or you do not find any hobbies
to fill you up, but we’re talking about my EVS, so I’ll say that I have things that fill me and I like the city …
In the EVS you also have the so-called “trainnings” that you will always have the “ON ARRIVE” and the “MID-TERM” that supposedly have to be when you arrive and
another half of your project …
The “ON ARRIVE” I did 2 weeks ago … and I learned a lot, not only from the classes but also from the people who were there, from their experiences, from their project and from
different points of view to see things, in my opinion this “trainning” helped me a lot to appreciate what I had and learn from other people.
In our project in total we are 8 and each one has their ideas, their hobbies but in general we understand each other and whenever we can we try to do something
together, in general we have very good coexistence, could tell things that have happened to us but better stays in history for us.

Juanjo / 2019

A week at the horse school

I’ll tell you a week at my school. But first you need to know some little things about my school. It is a large school that accommodates small children up to the age of 25. These children have a handicap, it can be physical or mental. And in thid school there are a lot of people with lots of love !

First of all on Monday morning, I arrive, all the children present in the room serves me hand by telling me “Czesc”, also the father of one of the pupils, it became a habit. Then we go to the gym, I will change and I know that when I come back the twin will wait for me with their hairbrush. Every Monday morning I comb the twin hair, then we start the sport, most of the time the students ask to do basketball, they know I love it ! The teams made, we start to play, everyone has fun and we share good times, there are also the students who do not play and who encourage us. After I go to art class, I love this class, because when I go there I don’t know what I will discover, and every time, it is magical for me ! I discover full of art methods, currently I discovered the method lunocout, it consists of sculpting on a board of flexible wood a drawing, then to lay the color with the help of a large roller, then I position a white sheet on the board of wood that is on a large machine that a flattener. There you go ! The drawing is print, we can change the colors and also we can print on bags, t-shirts…

In this class there are 2 young girls, one shows me a lot of affection by touching my hand, talking to me or hugging me. Then there is another girl, who she doesn’t speak to much, she is always with makeup, with nail polish and beautiful clothes. So, I arrive in the class, I say hello, and I sit next to this girl, when she sees that I is not varnish to my nails, she takes my hand, and chose me a color for my nails without saying anything. It’s cute !

On Tuesday, I start with cooking, with our main class. Once in three, it’s my turn to cook with the students. This is a class that I love ! In this class, we share a lot of things together, we laugh a lot and share our stories.

After we have ceramics, always with the same class, in this lesson I learned a lot about myself and my creativity, I discovered to me a talent ! During this lesson I can see that the pupils behave differently, they argue and seek all the time to go to the conflict. I find it interesting to see the behavior of the class change as much if the teachers are different.

On Wednesdays, I start with a different class, a little younger, in this class I take care of a young girl, I try to find different methods to calm her and to listen and do the work that the teacher asks. A great responsibility for me. Step by step I create links with students, for example, one of them starts to speak English and wants to talk with me.

Then we have gardening with Klaudia. I think I love and don’t like this activity at the same time. I like it because we take care of the Park (and I love this park), the flowers… And also that we spend a lot of time with Klaudia to discuss and I don’t like because it is outside, it is cold and even sometimes it rains.

On Thursday I join my favorite class in art, we draw, create things in ceramics, listen and share music. After we go with low ability children, this class is composed of 3 young children from 7-8 years old, they are blind. We start by giving the food then after with music or in the relaxation room, there full of lights, a large bed of water, everything to relax. This room is called snoezelen. The snoezelen is a controlled multisensory stimulation, a practice aimed at awakening the sensoriality of the stimulated person, in a reassuring atmosphere

After that I will help a teacher with horses, my favorite activity ! I love horses and kids !! Often we walk with the horses in the school, the child is on the horse and I hold the horse and secure the child. During this lesson, children learn a lot, such as self-confidence, confidence in others, motor skills. Sometimes we sing it creates a good atmosphere. I noticed that the kids were more relaxed with the horses, and I’m agree with them !

And finally on Friday, I’m in the library with 2 autistic boys, we create all the time new things. Christmas trees, Easter hens…

Then again with the horses ! But let’s not just walk. We brush the horses and ponies, we give them food, apple, carrots. And we’re cleaning their houses. I find this lesson more interesting than the others, because, I love horses and because we don’t just ride on horseback, we learn all that is around the horse, clean their houses, what food to give them, to put the equipment of horses, clean the feet of horses… Finally we have a lesson with a theatre teacher. Often it makes us do role plays like theatre with puppets, which allows to release the expression of children’s emotions.

For me this school is magical ! Students learn many different ways that are non-formal. Like taking care of the sale of coffee in the Park, they learn to count while passing good times.

Here children don’t just ordinary lessons, they learn life under different methods that are educational and playful always in good humor. And for nothing. And for nothing in the world I’ll change school !

Aurélie

Democratic School :)

A few days ago someone told me that I had to write an article about something that had happened to me in Poland. The truth is that I’m not sure where to start because in Poland there are a lot of things that cannot be explained in a 2D text and with 2000 characters If the question is: What am I doing in Poland and how have I ended up here?, Personally, I still do not know, bureaucratically, I am participating in an EVS project, in a country where time wears in gray as well as   looks and emotions often stay buried under several centimeters of snow.

But…do you know what? There is a place in the middle of the forest where all the beautiful things that happen are hanging from the trees, leaving space for any margin of error, being able to break a branch that will end up in the ground being the substrate of future processes.

In this place, different concepts related to music, mathematics, biology astronomy, etc are learned,  as in all schools, right? Well, with a small difference. In this school, the knowledge does not reside hermetically locked, being only opened at certain times. Rather, the subjects are applied transversally, spatially and temporarily speaking, where every bit of knowledge is subjected to the curiosity of children. In this way, it can be concluded that music is related to mathematics, mathematics to astronomy, astronomy to biology and at the same time every subjects are interrelated.

In this place the classes do not exist as usually we imagine. Do you see the image? Well, that does not exist. There is no type of teacher who places himself above children, thus avoiding creating a spatial, moral and ethical distance. In this way the processes of trust and learning are facilitated. In any case, there is the guiding figure, which is in charge of giving the students the necessary tools to reach knowledge, in such a way the learning that takes place is bidirectional and not passive and always takes place according to the needs, abilities and interests of children.

Bearing in mind that formal learning through exams is governed by the following equation: (unfair competitive and comparative system + reduces the abilities and interests of children) = emotional stress in many students to reach the expectations invented in the world of the adults.


So … what? Easy, learning is encouraged through play, curiosity and emotions.

And emotions? What about the emotions? Have you ever felt in the school that you wanted to cry but you could not? What if you did you were going to bother someone? That they were going to say “do not cry, I’m sure it’s not that bad”.

             

The same thing happens with emotions as with rivers. If we put a barrier and stop the emotions two things can happen: (a) we drown with them, (b) that we get used to not expressing them, we end up being dry and feeling empty.

So … Is there anything better than … having a safe space where we can learn to recognize all our emotions, express them freely and build ourselves with them?

If I had to share something that I felt being in this school, I would say that although sometimes I feel in a game of thrones episode that could be called “the never ending winter”, in this space there is the necessary people that will not let your  heart freeze and that they will share your growth.

Tere 🙂