Today is Thanksgiving, a major American holiday, which remembers the arrival of original founding forefathers of the American nation in their new homeland. We were delighted and privileged to have a visit from Brian Cristiani, who is one of our parents and works at the US Embassy in Ljubljana, to lead our morning Assembly.

Mr Cristiani explained about the pilgrims' journey in the Mayflower and how the festival is celebrated today as a family holiday with turkey and all the trimmings. We have several US citizens amongst our student body, who are looking forward to a real feast this evening when they return home from school!

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

Grandma in school

The Primary Section children have "Clubs and Activities" every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon. For this five-week period, they are visiting elderly people in a local residential home, to make Christmas decorations and cards with them. We are also delighted to welcome some of the children's grandmothers to our school to help with this. Craft-lovers of all ages had a fantastic time on Tuesday afternoon when half a dozen grandmas came in and made wax paper stars and collage Christmas cards with our younger students.

A big thank-you to everyone who came in and made this such a special afternoon!

Cambridge approval for A-Levels

We have just received approval from Cambridge International Examinations to run a wide range of A-Level courses. Our first Year 11 students will sit their IGCSE examinations this May/June (after their English Literature successes last summer as a "dry run"). We are pleased and proud that we now have the necessary authorisation to take these students through to their A-Levels, to prepare them for university entrance worldwide.

The big difference between A-Levels and the Slovenian Matura, for example, is that students choose three or four subjects, which they then study in greater depth, typically with 7 lessons per week in each subject. Some Universities require certain subjects (at least at a lower level) in order to qualify to admission, but UK Universities (all 168 of them!) would tend to require A-Level subjects relevant to the chosen degree subject. Thus, a talented artist need not study Chemistry or Maths, for example.

Planning for our continuing expansion in 2010-11 is proceeding apace, including securing additional accommodation and teaching staff at all levels.

In the news

We welcomed journalist Gregor Jagodic from RTV Slovenia to the school last week. The children and staff were filmed going about their daily learning. Gregor interviewed two parents and the Headmaster, who emphasised that the motivation was to provide choice to families.

The lack of a legal mechanism for recognition of our school (and the other Slovenian international schools) was the central theme to the report, which even included an interview with Education Minister Igor Lukšič.

You can watch the report by clicking here.


Giant turnip

Milepost 2's Slovene 1 set performed the Giant Turnip for the Primary students and their parents during Assembly on Tuesday morning, 3 November. Involving a farmer, his mother, his wife, dog, cat and a mouse, they finally managed, as a team, to pull the giant turnip from the ground.

A big thank-you to our Slovene professor gospa Eckman for preparing the presentation with the children and for narrating.

FunSports 2009

On Friday 6th November we held our second FunSports event. It was great to welcome back Mrs Sarah Newman, who organised the event last year, to lead our students through a range of team challenges. Balls, hoops, cones and bouncy frogs all featured in the activities, in which teams taken from the complete age range of the school competed.

This was also the occasion on which we launched our new Houses. Again, these include the whole age range of the school, with one of the oldest students as House Captain of each. The Houses are provisionally named Blue, Green, Red and Yellow, but we hope to come up with more inspiring names in due course!

A very big thank-you to Mrs Newman for her time, expertise and enthusiasm.

Hallowe'en shenanigans

The school enjoyed a selection of performances of scary songs by the Primary Section children at Assembly on Friday 30 October. The youngsters arrived at school in their Hallowe'en costumes and had their faces painted by the adults. Various games and activities followed during the day.

Cricket success

Congratulations to the BISL Cricket team who competed in their first competition last Sunday 25th October against Ljubljana elementary schools. Despite BISL having some of the youngest players in the League, the team came second in their division. The team had a great time and played well together, exhibiting wonderful team spirit, with some of our students even playing for other teams in the league due to their lack of numbers. Our BISL cricket team is already practising for next year thanks to the Ljubljana Cricket Club, who have generously donated a Kwik Cricket Set; and hoping to beat Nove Fuzine, the finalists 4 years in a row.

- Tanya Charlesworth

Canadian Governor General

Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, Governor General of Canada (the Queen’s representative to Canada and de facto head of state), made an official visit to Slovenia, from October 21 to 22, 2009, exactly one year after the State Visit of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth. Her Excellency hosted a Youth Dialogue on "Young People and Peace Building", during which she met with young Slovenes to discuss the importance of empowering youth to build peace and solidarity in their communities.

Having made youth one of the priorities of her mandate, the Governor General inaugurated the Youth Dialogues series in 2007, providing youth in Canada and abroad with a space to voice their opinions on social issues and to pursue their dialogue with other young people on the Citizen Voices website. The Governor General’s Youth Dialogues are part of a series of national and international high-energy discussions that focus on galvanizing youth across the country and around the world to become catalysts of positive change. Her Excellency then shares the ideas and perspectives presented during the dialogues with decision makers. Eight of our students attended this event and had the privileged opportunity to have an exclusive dialogue with Her Excellency during the reception, as well as posing for a group photo (due to arrive soon). I would like to thank these students for sharing in my “Canadian enthusiasm” and in representing our school.

- Tom Majer, Year 1 teacher

Trick or Treat!

Our Primary Section students were invited to the US Embassy for Trick-or-Treating in advance of Hallowe'en, which is just a week away. After having make-up applied, the twenty scary zombies from Mileposts 2 and 3 travelled with their teachers by public bus (which attracted some comments!) to visit our friends in Prešernova ulica. They were rewarded with generous quantities of treats from the Embassy staff. A big thank-you to Vedrana Mandić and colleagues for making our children and their teachers feel so welcome.

Visit from Dr Dušan Petrač

We were honoured to receive an impromptu visit from Slovenia's most eminent space scientist Dr Dušan Petrač yesterday lunch time. Dr Petrač, 77, who worked for many years for NASA and ESA, came to look around the school and enjoyed meeting and chatting with the students and teachers. He wished everyone well and told us to "Keep trucking!".

Milepost 2: Post Museum

As part of their IPC Topic on Communications, Milepost 2 had an exciting time traveling to Polhov Gradec on the regional bus. Once there we had a very short walk to the Polhov Gradec Castle, which houses the Museum for Post and Telecommunications. We were pleasantly surprised that we were the first English speaking group ever to come to the Museum. Our guide was great and took time explaining all the telecommunications in the museum, such as the morse code machine, the telegraph and old fashioned systems for phones. The students loved having a go on the equipment, but our favourite was the set-up which demonstrated how the telephone exchange works. One student would go into the telephone booth and the other would turn their back to the booth and face the telephone exchange which was laid out floor to ceiling. The student in the booth would dial a particular phone number and the other student would with absolute delight wait for the phone in front of them to ring, and then the conversations would begin.

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