Home to Hollybush!
After a wonderful time in Asturias, we have returned to Hollybush with many a story and tale to tell! Our objective in making this trip was to establish relationships with the children and staff and to get to know more about school life at C.P. San Felix. We also travelled a little within the area to develop a basic knowledge of the local culture and to get to know a little about the surrounding areas. With the help of our very accommodating hosts, we certainly achieved all we set out to do and more.
Over the coming weeks, we will share our adventures with the staff and children at school to ensure that we maximise impact on all we have learnt. Look out for a display in school as well as details of an exciting project which we will share with C.P. San Felix. For now, here is a taste of our journey ...
Discovery day in Gijón!
Today was about local food, drinks and taking in local sights in the town. The weekly flea market was first on our agenda- watch out Hollybush children, we found a few choice items to bring back for you. After an interesting conversation, exchanging stories and adventures with an American couple who we met in the market, we headed back to the coast and walked right along the headland- apparently over 17,000 steps later, we deserved the bench stop for yet more Spanish cakes .... to justify getting familiar with the culinary delicacies of the area of course! The views were as dramatic as they were stunning, from city skylines to waves crashing against the rocks. The sun shone for us and as we stopped for afternoon drinks, the rain aptly fell.
Overall, considering the time of year and the similar climate to ours in southern UK, we've been incredibly lucky with the weather here which has been another unexpected bonus.
Our evening ended, and indeed our time here, with yet more local food. I think we've eaten our way through Asturias in 5 days and enjoyed every minute and bite!
So our adventure here has almost come to an end. We have had a fabulous time and truly thank everyone at C.P San Felix for making us so welcome. Back to 'normality' tomorrow but we have so much to tell you on our return. Hasta Luego España y muchíssimas gracias por todo ... Hollybush we're coming home!
Gijón en el sol!
The magic in our day wasn't quite as littoral as we'd expected, however you could say that breakfast at the recommended 'Café Mayca' was a magical experience. We were told that this traditional style cafe was the best in town for yet more 'chocolate con churros' and it did not disappoint.
We walked through the town's food market along cobbled streets and back to the sea front where surfers were enjoying the waves in the warmer weather. Several thousand steps later, according to Mr Gill's Fitbit, it was then time for another coffee! We saw historic ramparts and climbed a steep hill to see the 'Elogio del horizonte' sculpture and then back into town to see the calmer seas - compared to yesterday! Then the moment came for Mr Gill to be blessed outside the cathedral by a passing seagull...we tried in vain to convince him that it was good luck and not just a stain on his jacket but he wasn't too pleased! Another long walk to the football stadium followed; we were hoping to get tickets for a match...which after translating the board, we realised was an away game! So we stopped for yet another coffee and card games in the park cafe- some competitive matches later and Mr Gill's luck was still not in!
After an exhausting day of walking and sightseeing, we expanded our culinary experience of the region yet again with a deliciously huge plate of barbecued meat, meat and more meat for the two carnivores; personally, I stuck to her safe tray of barbecued vegetables! The day ended with yet more games, plenty of laughter and a deeper understanding of the culture we've been immersed in.
El último día a C.P San Felix, day 3!
The day began with story time, where Miss Chandler, Mrs Gill, Bengeo Bear and I were invited to lead a story session with Yr1 children. Bengeo, decided in his honour, that we should tell the story of Goldilocks and the three bears so I was the narrator, Miss Chandler starred as Goldilocks, Diego (yr1 teacher) was Daddy Bear, Mr Gill was mummy bear and finally Bengeo was baby bear. We acted out the story with the children and their parents, who were in for a reading morning, with much laughter and interaction from everyone.
Over the course of the school day we saw some great investigations and collaborative work in maths. The yr2 teacher used some fabulous resources which we'll be looking to replicate in Hollybush. We spent the remainder of today with Maria in both yr 6 classes and also 3b, where we were greeted with close to an X factor welcome! The children had lots of questions for us and we exchanged ideas on our favourite sports and food; I think chocolate rated very highly much to my delight! Pizza and football were also popular so not altogether dissimilar from Hollybush favourites. The yr3 children were fascinated with our school uniform and seemed to unanimously agree that they would prefer to have a uniform (much to our surprise).
We were given a rapturous send off by the children as well as a very warm farewell from the teachers who'd given us such a warm welcome. We've had an amazing time here in Candás and hope that we will have the pleasure to welcome our new friends sometime at Hollybush soon.
So we were on our way again, sent off with CIPE San Felix diaries and pens given to us by Bigoña, (Head Teacher) along with a list of recommendations for our weekend in Gijón.
Gijón is the largest town of the region of Asturias. Huge winter waves, by its long coastline, delighted us this afternoon, although Mr Gill was nearly caught out by the fall out spray! We loved walking around the characteristic old town, stopping to watch people over another round of chocolate with churros 😋. Diego and Bigoña have sent us lots of tips on how to enjoy the town tomorrow, including an arts and magic festival- watch out year 2, Mr Gill will soon be pulling rabbits out of hats! 🐰🎩
What a fabulously diverse day, meeting new friends in Candás. It varied from spending time with children in school to meeting teachers over an elaborate Asturian feast for break time; to discussing potential projects and comparing teaching, to another delicious lunch and later being challenged to pour and drink the local cider.
We had a spontaneous trip to the theatre and met its director, Alain - a thoroughly interesting and inspiring local, dedicated to preserving classic film. We found out that each class visits 3/4 times every year, funded by the town council, to learn about artists such as Laurel and Hardy, Alec Guiness and Audrey Hepburn; alongside snippets of Alain's extensive knowledge of the art of film. The listed building was like a living museum- aiming to teach an appreciation for classic theatre - and Alain's passion was contagious.
We spent time in the infants and early years today, enjoying answering the children's questions, introducing them to Bengeo bear and teaching them 'heads, shoulders, knees and toes' (in English!). They were fascinated by our school uniform and loved looking at our class photos and videos- especially commenting on how many of our children have blond hair! The school seems huge, with its two storey building, separate gym and outdoor (undercover) sports pitch but we managed to negotiate our way around.
This evening we were taken to the most northerly point of Spain with its lighthouse and dramatic cliffs leading down to the stormy seas. This area is contrasting to the Spain we know. We are all feeling very privileged to be living this experience and look forward to teaching a little tomorrow and spending time with the older children. Hasta luego!
Hollybush unites with C.P. San Felix ... Welcome to Candás! Day 1
Miss Chandler, Mr Gill, Bengeo Bear and I arrived in this charming little northern Spanish town after a VERY early start. We were welcomed at the airport by Diego, the yr1 teacher who gave us a quick tour of the surrounding area. Much of this area was used previously for mining steel and zinc. Unlike the British stereotype of Spain, Asturías is lushfully green which provides a beautiful backdrop to the coast. Our tour included visiting the playground of a disused school, which had a number of amazing stone engravings, depicting sounds, numbers, Roman and Arabic, and maps of the local area -Spain and the world; the idea being that children would continue to learn even during their breaks. It was such a shame that they're no longer benefitting anyone. If only we could pack them ...
Our early arrival meant we had time to explore the town before meeting the teachers for lunch. Candás is a picturesque, quiet town situated around a small harbour with stunning ocean views and we started our tour reviving ourselves from our 3:30am start, with a long awaited 'chocolate con churros', YUM!! 😋 We climbed hills, saw lighthouses along the coastline and snow covered mountains in the distance- beautiful!
Lunch was typically around 3pm and we were joined by Diego, Maria and Lucia who are both part of the specialised English team (who we have already been working with) and Bigoña, the Head teacher, who kindly treated us all to a delicious Spanish four course lunch. We thoroughly enjoyed speaking to the Spanish team, exchanging stories and comparing our schools. More about that tomorrow when we've been to the school ourselves.
So it's been a very long day, which ended with a sunset walk along the coast and a trip to the local supermarket to fuel our evening- spent watching 'Friends' in Spanish, for language enhancing purposes of course!
Can't wait for tomorrow when school begins, Buenos noches y hasta mañana!
Our school link with C.P. San Felix has got off to a flying start. We have initiated introductions across both schools using various software programmes and technology where children are talking about who they are and what they like. The children in Spain have written us comic strips including superheroes who are rescued by Hollybush school. They also asked us a question about our favourite sport. In assembly we quickly established through a clapometer that our children's favourite sport is clearly football. We are currently working on a video to send to C.P. San Felix to virtually show them around Hollybush. Meanwhile take a look at this video which they have sent us of their school break time.