Preschool dance at SILA Bazaar

We were honoured to be invited to give a presentation at the annual SILA (Slovenian International Ladies' Association) annual charity bazaar on Saturday. Some of our Preschool children presented dances from around the world, guided by their dance teacher Petra Škofic. The children's performance, prepared during their dance lessons three times per week, was received very enthusiastically by the large audience. A big thank-you to the parents who came to support. We were also pleased to be involved with the SILA "Tastes of the world" charity cook-cook, by helping with proof-reading. Several of our mums are members of SILA and we are pleased to be able to support their fundraising efforts on behalf of underprivileged children within and outside Slovenia.

We are now CIS Regular Members

We are proud and delighted to announce that we have today heard from Richard Tangye, Executive Director of the Council of International Schools (CIS), that we have been granted Regular Membership of CIS, an association comprising 700 of the world's foremost international schools.

In his report, CIS Visitor Nick Bowley described BISL as a "very good school" and commented that he had "rarely seen such open and respectful relationships between students, staff and parents". He observed that the staff are "a highly dedicated and competent team with a genuine passion for student learning and well-being, and a strong commitment to their school." He noted "an exemplary approach to meeting the individual needs of all students. It is rare to see such care and attention given to students, from the moment they are individually greeted by the Headmaster at the start of the day." In his conclusion, Mr Bowley stated that "there is a spirit of unity and sense of purpose that permeate every aspect of school life. This is reflected in the demeanour of the students and the support afforded to the school by the parents. One senses that this is a true learning community."

He observed areas where there is room for improvement, too, of course. One of the most valuable aspects of such a visit is to have an impartial specialist give advice on aspects of our operations which deserve our attention. For example, we have to establish and practise rigorous procedures in case of earthquakes, bomb threats, lockdown and "invacuation", as well as coordinating fire drills with our host school (we currently do these on our own). These and the other recommendations, alongside the helpful comments made by COBIS Visitor Dr Jennifer Bray in March, will inform and guide the continuing process of school improvement to which we are totally committed. We therefore look forward to the next stage of embarking on the CIS Accreditation process when we and CIS deem appropriate.

A very big thank-you to Nick Bowley from the whole BISL community for helping us with his professionalism and insight. 

Thanksgiving

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.

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