Keep the Flame Burning, Middle Primary!

Welcome to our final blog for the 2020-2021 school year!  It has been a year of surprises, joy, learning, and growth for all of us in Middle Primary.

We recently welcomed a new student, Dhriti, into our classroom after the Easter holidays.  Dhriti comes from India and has brightened up our classroom with her eagerness to help and share her knowledge from home.  Welcome, Dhriti! Ms. Irene (Italy) and Ms. Veta (Greece) also joined us as classroom support in Middle Primary, and their assistance has been invaluable.  The children are so welcoming to new faces in their space and Ms. Veta and Ms. Irene quickly made a positive difference in our classroom. We also said goodbye to our friend Minami, who moved to America with her family.  We wish you well, Minami!  

We have celebrated so many birthdays since February!  Tess turned 10 in April, Gaja turned 11 in May, and Julia turned 9 in June.  We are also looking forward to celebrating Berit’s 9th birthday next week. Avni and Misha have summer birthdays and we celebrated them during a class field trip to the Blaarmeersen, which was quite a highlight of this year.  The children participated in organised frisbee and baseball games then had the afternoon to play and swim together in celebration of all of their learning and hard work.  We even got lucky with warm (not rainy!) Belgian weather and enjoyed an ‘’uitstapje’’ with all of our Primary classmates.

In IPC, we wrapped up our beloved ‘’Do You Live Around Here?’’ unit with a pizza party and nature games in the woods.  The children raised money for their pizza party by brainstorming lists of chores and tasks and negotiating with their families about how much each task could earn.  They raised enough money for their pizza party through their housework at home – well done!  Another highlight of our habitats unit was our field trip to the Ghent University Botanical Garden, where we scooped up and analysed pond life.  The children discovered leeches living in the water – what a surprise!

We moved into our next unit, ‘’How Humans Work’’, which the children became fascinated by.  Why do we have skulls?  What happens when we get sick?  What is the most important organ in our bodies?  The children had many questions, which we answered as we progressed through our studies of the digestive system, cardiovascular system, and skeletal system.  We used our new anatomical and biological knowledge to make detailed displays of body systems outside of our classroom, defining important body parts and showing our understanding of these systems in action.

To wrap up our year, we’ve moved into a study of the Olympics.  The children have learned the origins of the Olympic games in ancient Greece and compared the ancient games to the modern-day Olympics.  We’ve even created our own class Olympic motto:  Keep the flame burning!  We chatted over Zoom with a Paralympic silver medalist who sailed in the 2016 Rio Games and we had many questions for him about what the Paralympics represents and how he achieved so much.  We will culminate our studies of the Olympics by participating in a whole-school end of year Olympics competition next week.

In literacy, the children have been learning how to format and write formal letters.  We dove into a study of child activists and focused on how our own words can change the world.  The children brainstormed a comprehensive list of world issues that they’re concerned about, then we began to investigate children who have made a difference.  We learned about Greta Thunberg, Iqbal Masih, Louise Braille, Marley Diaz, and Malala Yousafzai, and how each of them has fought for what they believe in.  The children then chose one world issue that spoke to them the loudest and wrote a letter to a world leader to express their concerns.  They also addressed their own envelopes, many of them for the very first time.  Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo, American President Joe Biden, and the Pakistani Ambassador to Belgium Zaheer A. Janjua have quite a few letters to answer these days!  Our fingers are crossed that we get some responses in the mail.

As the year draws to a close, we are preparing to say goodbye to our friends Gabriela, Antonio, Berit, and Enrique.  We will miss you so very much, but are confident that you will spread your wings at your new schools.  Best of luck in Italy, Dubai, America, and the Nederlands!

It has been an absolute pleasure to lead this group of compassionate, creative, curious, bright children this school year.  We are finishing the year with many memories of our days spent together,  from big whole-school moments like Fudge’s Ancient Egyptian-inspired funeral to our smaller, day-to-day rituals like writing kind messages on the whiteboard for our dear cleaning woman, Cemile, and eagerly awaiting her replies in the mornings.  The children have grown not just as students and intellectuals but as humans, developing their resiliency, communication skills, problem solving abilities, social skills, and empathy throughout the course of this year. 

Middle Primary, we are so proud of you and all that you have experienced and achieved this year.  Now, onward and upward!