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.
Primary Section Hiking
Despite the weather forecast, Milepost 1, 2 & 3, along with many parents and primary teachers, took a coach to Katerina to brave a walk. The day turned out perfectly and the fog lifted during our walk up the beautiful hill. Thanks to Mr. Nino Kokalj, we were very pleased to meet two of the teachers from the school at Katerina who became our guides, along with some of their students on the walk. The scenery was picturesque as we passed by rolling fields, farms with animals and fruit filled gardens. Despite the long walk up and down, the students were still full of beans and played running games with Mr. Majer and many of the parents when we returned to Katerina's school's playground.
A big thank you to all of the parents who came along with us and to the students and teachers at Katerina, who were so giving of their time.
We had a stall at the annual Otroški bazar (Children's Bazaar) event at Ljubljana's exhibition halls between 10th and 13th September. With several thousand visitors, this is one of the city's premier events for providers of everything for children, from bedroom furniture to books, from police dog handler demonstrations to a climbing wall.
We handed out a thousand bright green balloons filled with helium and printed with the school's logo, which proved immensely popular with the youngsters. We also had an opportunity to meet dozens of parents who were interested in exploring alternative solutions for their children's education. We will be holding an Open Day on Wednesday (16th September) afternoon, during which the people we met are invited to come and meet the teachers and see the school in action.
Milepost 2: Cycling
Milepost 2 had a great time demonstrating their cycling proficiency last week as part of our IPC Unit on Transport. On their own bicycles and wearing their safety helmets, students performed a number of different tasks such as manoeuvring around witches' hats (cones) and stopping just short of Baby Bjorn; thus demonstrating control over their bicycle and the ability to stop quickly.
Ms. Erika was kind enough to join Milepost 2 and give a talk about blind people and the tools they use to make life easier for them. Our students thoroughly enjoyed this, especially having a chance to be blindfolded and walk in our classroom using a cane for blind people. Ms. Erika taught us the correct way to help a blind person cross the street. The tools Ms. Erika brought in were very interesting and included - a braille type writer, playing cards, adapted chess board and pieces, a ball that rattles, a talking clock and a cube for different games. Ms. Erika concluded her talk by giving us each a copy of the Braille alphabet and a booklet with hints and tips on how to be kind and courteous to blind and short sighted people.
On Wednesday 2 September the British Ambassador, His Excellency Andrew Page, who is the school's Honorary Patron, very kindly hosted a Garden Party at his Residence in Rožna dolina for the school's teachers, parents and children. 80 people came and enjoyed tea, coffee, juice and cakes, whilst the children particularly enjoyed being shown how to play croquet on the lawn by the Ambassador himself.
In a short speech to those present, Mr Page said how pleased he was to be asked to be our Honorary Patron and said that he looked forward to regular visits over the coming years, to get to know the staff and students better. Headmaster Jeremy Hibbins thanked the Ambassador for generously hosting the Garden Party and presented him with a school fleece in readiness for the impending cooler autumn days.
The following day, the Headmaster delivered to the Embassy an enormous yellow Thank You card which was made by the Milepost 2 children.
Milepost 2: Muffins
As part of our unit on Instructions in Literacy the students in Milepost 2 made Banana Maple Muffins. We learned about the different sections in a recipe - ingredients and instructions. The students practised their reading and measuring mathematical skills as they followed the instructions. The students worked really well together and washed up everything. Quite a lot of the students and all the teachers at the school got to eat the muffins and we all agreed that they are absolutely delicious!
New school year
August 24 saw the school open for its second academic year. We are opening a week earlier than local schools, which enables us to offer more breaks through the school year, which is organised into units of 5 weeks.
The school now has about 60 students, which compares with the 22 we had for last year's Induction Day and 44 at the end of last term. This growth is extremely encouraging, and our Year 1 class is now completely full and the Milepost 2 class has only one or two spaces remaining. Families are still visiting the school with a view to enrolling their children and so we expect that other classes are likely to be full within the coming weeks.
New park opened by the Mayor
Mayor Zoran Janković visited Vito Kraigher School yesterday to welcome the new 1st Grade children and to open the new park in front of the school. The park, which is fenced, features a wide range of top-quality German-made wooden play equipment and conforms to latest EU safety regulations. The park has many mature trees which will provide shade during sunny weather. Headmaster Jeremy Hibbins was pleased to be able to speak with the Mayor and visitors Marija Fabčič and Olga Glaser from the municipality's education department.