After travelling from Vienna to Graz on Sunday, we met with the teachers from Austria,
Denmark, Finland and France in the evening and got to know one another.
On Monday morning we made our first trip through the beautiful Styrian countryside to the Volksschule in Gutenberg. We had a welcome from the children from each of the four grades. They performed songs and dances and read in English to welcome us. There was also a boy from the third grade who played the accordion, which was fantastic! After this, we went to each of the classes and spoke to the children; they had made gifts and were very excited to have all of the different teachers in their school. The school day begins at 7.45 and finishes around 2.00. They have a similar structure to our day, however they go home for their lunch instead of having it at school. The school has 58 pupils in four grades and also has a large kindergarten. The pupils range from 6 to 10 years and all come from the surrounding countryside, in the village of Gutenberg. After meeting each of the children and spending time in their classrooms we then had a project meeting, to discuss how we would share findings and information from the project with other teachers in our schools.
On Monday afternoon we had a guided tour of the city of Graz, which is around 20 minutes from the school. The tour was fascinating and explained how the city had changed over the past 800 years. The city lies in a basin, surrounded by mountains, and there was once an important castle controlling the area. However, during the French revolution, Napoleon ordered the castle to be taken. With its high position over the city it was very difficult to attack and over 500 French lives were lost. When the castle was eventually taken, Napoleon decided, in revenge, that it should be destroyed. After paying a huge amount of money, the people were allowed to keep just the clock tower and bell tower, and this now remains.
We found the day fascinating and gained a real insight into both the school day and structure and also the local area. We are looking forward to the rest of our week!