To all my loyal followers: don’t worry I am still alive! I did not realize that I would actually have very little downtime this trip but wouldn’t want it any other way! I can finally update you a little bit about what has been going on here in Holland.
This past weekend, we traveled to Amsterdam where we spent three days exploring the breathtaking city. From the Disclosure concert, Heineken Tour, and Anne Frank House to the Nutella waffles (finally got my waffle and trust me it lived up to its expectation), it is safe to say it was an amazing weekend. It was such an amazing weekend we have decided to go again tomorrow after school to see some more sights we didn’t get to see before- The Van Gough museum. Being the big history and culture nerd that I am, I am thrilled some other girls want to do this as well. Because Wednesday’s are meant for teacher planning, the school lets out at 12:00 p.m. Perfect for us to make a little day trip out of it. It also doesn’t hurt that it’s only an 11 euro train ride to the city.
As I was sitting and observing in the school today, I really tried to focus in on the similarities and differences I have seen thus far. Perri and I have been bouncing around classrooms so we can get a feel of the teaching and instruction in all grade levels. Today, we were with “group 1” which is equivalent to our kindergarten. One way I can describe this class: INDEPENDENT. I have never been more blown away by a five year old! For example, a student was finishing an art project by cutting out a picture. Not only was he using adult size scissors, but also doing this completely unsupervised and cut so perfectly (honestly better than I can cut and I am going to be a teacher!). To me, this was crazy. These young students don’t need the teacher to watch their every move. They learn and problem solve on their own. Another example was the students were trying to sit in a circle with chairs. However, there was one less chair than number of students. The teacher had the students problem solve how to get another chair. She just sat there and scaffolded the students on how to fix it and they did. ON THEIR OWN. We always talk about child centered learning in my education classes, but it is completely different to see it first hand. That is what I love so much about the Dutch education system. They focus completely on the student and how to make that student an independent, contributing member of society. It definitely shows because every student I have met is extremely smart. There is one five year old who speaks four languages. You heard me. Four. Dutch, English, Russian, and French. Meanwhile still learning how to say good morning in Dutch. Anyways…. I am blown away with how this school is run and I can’t wait to take all the positives into my classroom one day! Oh, and maybe the coffee machines they have in the teacher’s lounge. Don’t worry I limited myself to three cups today.
I promise I’ll update more this week and after this weekend in Prague!
Until Next Time,
Here’s some pics of the classroom and from my weekend trip!