Sunderland teachers head to Nepal classrooms
Four teachers from Sunderland travelled to Nepal to visit their partner school.
Grangetown Primary School has created strong links with a school in Nepal and four Wearside teachers recently spent a week there.
The staff members, Karla Miller, Lesley Cole, Sarah Hunter and Lesley Millican, gave up a week of their holidays to provide training for teachers in Kathmandu.
The links between Grangetown Primary and schools in Nepal began four years ago and staff, children and parents of the Spelterworks Road school even raised £1,600 for partner school, Traibidya Shikshhya Sadan Primary, when it was hit by the devastating earthquakes in April 2015.
This latest visit was part of a fully-funded British Council initiative, designed to establish collaborative international projects that enrich the primary school curriculum.
After arriving in Kathmandu the group took a flight to the more rural western area of the country, visiting Bakena Bal Batika School in Chitwan Province.
They were treated to lots of singing and dancing, observed and taught lessons and worked with the Bakena staff on aspects of classroom practice.
Back in Kathmandu, they spent several days in two schools – Traibidya Primary School and Thankot School – where they taught lessons, observed teaching and held discussions with staff to explore curriculum development.
They taught the children a range of UK nursery rhymes, songs and dances, and read stories.
Whilst in Kathmandu, the Sunderland teachers led an education conference for 50 Nepali headteachers, teachers and other education officials, running sessions on phonics, reading, storytelling, online safety and children’s mental health and well-being.
Lesley Cole, deputy headteacher at Grangetown, who was visiting Nepal for the second time, said: “Our last visit was just after the earthquake in 2015, and it was wonderful to see how much the country has moved on since then.”
Money raised by the Sunderland school community was used to rebuild parts of the school, redecorate classrooms and develop the outdoor play areas.
Year 4 teacher, Sarah Hunter, said: “The visit was an unforgettable experience, and we are looking forward to sharing what we did with staff and children in Grangetown.”
Back at Grangetown, the children have already enjoyed an assembly about the visit, plus classroom sessions to share photographs and videos.
Future plans include setting up a ‘Peace Garden’ at Grangetown, to include Nepali plants and based on Buddhist principles. The link will be further developed via Skype sessions, and through a project looking at the day to day lives of children in the UK and in Nepal.
Grangetown headteacher, Les McAnaney, who set up the visit, said this was a great way to enrich the primary school curriculum.
He said: “Visits like this give our teachers amazing professional development opportunities and this then provides our children with a range of highly engaging and valuable cultural experiences.”