International Link with Freetown
Embedding international learning into our classrooms is key to deepening pupils’ understanding and respect for the world around them.
School partnerships give pupils an insight into another way of life. By working together on joint projects, pupils can gain a greater appreciation of cultural diversity and global issues such as migration, sustainability and conflict.
By bringing international learning into our classrooms, our pupils will learn valuable lessons about sustainability, mutual respect and citizenship.
A while back Bricknell Primary School linked with Obez Memorial School in Freetown, Sierra Leone, as part of Global Schools Partnership ran by the British Council.
This has been a fantastic opportunity to learn about life and education in another part of the world.
We were recently involved in a group trip to Freetown were two of our members of staff visited our partner school Obez Memorial.
Here is a collection of images from the trip:
We arrived in freetown after a long day travelling to Sierra Leone. We used a bus, 2 aeroplanes, a stop in Brussels and Monrovia and then a pelican from the airport to the hotel we were very tired! The first thing we noticed as we travelled around Freetown was the hustle and bustle, loud streets and friendly people. We slept well and looked forward to the next day exploring Freetown.
After a good nights sleep we got up and got ready for an exciting day exploring Freetown. We met up with our partner school headteacher at the British council and then departed as a group to see the sights. We went to the mayors office and were greeted by the commissioner who welcomed us to Freetown. We then went to see the slave steps, King jimmys market, the hospital and the national museum. It was a very hot day but it was fascinating to learn all about Sierra Leones history and culture.
We arose early to get ready for church. We were invited to join the service at UMA,s church where our headteacher Reverand Sengovah was leading a sermon. It was a lively, interesting and engaging service which involved lots of singing, dancing and drum playing! We were then lucky enough to be able to visit No 2 beach and spend a lovely afternoon in the sun and take in the beautiful landscapes of Sierra Leone.
Our first day in school! We woke up with a mixture of nerves and excitement. We were collected by the Reverend and transported to school. However it was not a normal journey. The streets were alive with people, vehicles, animals and sound. We have never heard so many beeping horns! It is a much quieter experience travelling around our city of hull. People are selling items on the streets, travelling to work and school and going about their daily lives and it makes it very difficult to get around. We arrived at school and were greeted by our lovely partner school children and staff.
The school is nothing like ours, it has 200 pupils and it is a very small school. The children sit at small benches and tables with 3/4 children to each bench. There are no toilets for the children to use and there is no running water. It was a very eye opening experience for us and made us realise how lucky we are to have these things in our school. We introduced ourselves and spent the first part of the morning with the reception and nursery children. We learnt how they work and then spent time singing songs and playing games to do with number and phonics. We then went into class 1 and 2 where we did some counting games, quizzes and practical activities. The children loved taking part and were so eager to get involved and to learn. In the afternoon we presented the whole school with the generous donations from our parents and other contributors. The children cheered and clapped with joy and the teachers were blown away with your generosity, it made a huge impact upon them.
Day 2! We couldn’t wait to get started today and got to school quickly despite the deafening traffic, we often ran on ‘Sierra Leone’ time. Today we worked with class 5 and 6, which was an absolute pleasure. The children were responsive, kind, respectful and very eager to learn. They produced some amazing fact files about important places in Freetown and worked hard to choose places which were important to them. We were then treated to an amazing afternoon of African and creole cultural activities. The children performed traditional dances and songs and then we were very lucky to receive some traditional creole dress as a gift! We felt honoured to be welcomed with open arms and given an insight into the children’s and the communities lives.
Today we worked with class 3 and class 4 looking at reading and creating stories with puppets. We discussed the story of the birth of Jesus Christ with the children, as it was a story they had acted out the previous day as part of the cultural celebrations. The children then created puppets of the main characters in the story and acted this out in small groups. Again the children were blown away by your kindness and loved using the resources to enhance their learning. We also managed to complete interviews with the children in the afternoon as we wanted to learn more about their lives and had some questions from our children at bricknell for them to answer. We were overjoyed with the children’s aspirations and dreams, they are so motivated to achieve their goals and know how important education is to their lives and their futures. They are truly an inspiration.
We were then taken to Big Market which is a huge indoor market selling all sorts of items such as baskets, material, figurines and instruments. We used part of the donation money to buy items from the market for a special Sierra Leone box for our children to explore when they come back to school after the half term. It was a very busy and energetic place and our haggling skills were really put to the test!
We attended the British Council and had a meeting with lots of schools from across Freetown to share project ideas, teaching tips and resource ideas. The teachers were so happy to listen to and share their ideas, it was a useful day and allowed us to plan fun educational activities for the children. We enjoyed sharing best practise and working with the staff at Obez to help provide a varied curriculum.
It was time to go home! We went to our school for the last morning where we could celebrate our visit with the children. We did a presentation of the gifts that we had bought with the donation money and the staff and children were overwhelmed with the generosity of all of our parents, children and businesses from the community who had helped us to achieve our goal. The staff and children were sad to see us go, but we can’t wait to continue our project when we arrive back in Hull and continue the important communication with Obez.