By day three we have all acclimatised to the Erasmus+ pace and are becoming old hands. Our children have made some great new friends and today it has been really rewarding to see them growing in confidence and spending more and more time mixing both with the other visit g pupils as well as the Bulgarian children.
After a great night’s sleep for all the children and after a hearty breakfast we were in school bright and early. Whilst at home our families were probably just getting up, we were taking part in the first lesson of the day. Split into two teams of mixed nationalities the children were challenged to make two traditional dishes: a Bulgarian bread and Banitsa - a pastry made with filo pastry, yogurt, eggs and crumbly white cheese a bit like feta. The kids from all nations were great and showed some fantastic teamwork. The bread was decorated with pictures and patterns made with dough and the Banitsa was topped with skewers holding wishes for good fortune. These are traditionally written by Bulgarian children on Christmas Eve.
After demonstrating our culinary expertise we were whisked speedily (there was hardly even time to have our photo taken) to our next session which was a citizenship lesson based upon the Bulgarian equivalent of Young Enterprise. Pupils designed their dream city containing buildings which beat represented our National identity. Ours was a shop selling fish and chips and cups of tea! Not that we are adhering to any stereotypes or anything!
After lunch in the school canteen we had a lesson with a number of Bulgarian children involving traditional crafts. Children (and a headteacher who could not resist) all made traditional dolls from wooden spoons. We had great fun and it was great to see the children working so well together and so refreshing to listen to a classroom buzzing with excitement being expressed in so many languages... and Mr Spruce managed to get a present for Freya without spending a single Lev!
After a short break in the sunshine it was time for the moment the children were really looking forward to. It was time to don the ribbons and bells and do a spot of Morris Dancing. Each country had prepared a short dance piece to represent their country’s attitudes and cultural heritage. The Romanians treated us to an intricate hand dance with a rhythm hammered out on the floor, the Portuguese contingent put on a lovely display involving colourful ribbons and ballet-style movement. And then it was the turn of the British who, dressed in ribbons and bells skipped merrily to the strains of the accordion. We took a great video and, for a small donation to the school fund, we will make it available to parents so that they can show it at their children’s eighteenth birthday parties!
Following the formal dances we all joined together for a great disco with children of all nationalities having a great time playing and dancing together. Over dinner tonight one of our children told us it was their “best school day ever!”
With each passing day it feels more and more of a privilege to have the opportunity to participate in Erasmus+. Your children have been an absolute credit to you and our school. They have been the first to volunteer for any opportunity and have been brilliant at making new friends whether it is playing stuck in the mud with a group of Bulgarian children in the school yard or discussing the best locations for souvenir shopping with children from Romania. The lessons that we are all learning are truly unique and a very special experience.
Tomorrow we will visit the National History Museum and we are all looking forward to another exciting day.