On 9th of June 2019, the Czech School without Borders, London organized its Summer Party at the Czech Embassy in London. At the same time, its 10th year anniversary was celebrated and a very varied program was held, including a farewell to the graduates, performance of the school’s music group, bouncy castle, an ice-cream parlour and a contest for the best Czech sweetness, to which all guests could participate both with their own sweet creations and in the following vote. Moreover, four talented Czech artists living and working in the UK, including Tereza Bušková, Hannah Nepil, Petr Štefek and Bernard Štorch, participated at the event with their art/music workshops.
All the participants were leaving very enthusiastic and happy, but above all, they were excited about what else is waiting for them at the Czech School Without Borders, London in the future.
The Mystery in South Kensington
On 31st of May 2019, we have prepared a workshop for your kids called The Mystery in South Kensington. The detective case of the stolen Petr Pan’s flute began with an expedition to the Science Museum, where the pupils had a chance to see the Who am I exhibition and learned something new not only about the human mentality, but also about the physical side of human beings. We found out what our hands say about us, found out how would we look like as the opposite sex, and tried to remember the individual features of the face, so we could identify the suspects. And so we got through a training and acquainted all the skills that a good detectives needs to work with. After a short snack in the museum, a journey to the Peter Pan’s statue in the Kensington Gardens awaited us. Pupils were getting clues during the whole workshop – often for a physical activity. The competitions took place in three teams whose commanders were the Czech School Without Borders interns – Andy, Nikča and Mária. Also, Mája was helping in the teams and Káťa together with Soňa organized the whole day. During the competitions, the pupils were practising memorising, readiness, writing, reading and, last, but not least, all the physical abilities. After the last competition, we discovered who was the real culprit of the theft of the Petr Pan’s flute and who was then arrested. At the end, we received the diplomas and small gifts for enthusiastic competitors.
On 12th of April 2019, we organized another interesting workshop for our children, namely Slavnosti slunovratu (the Solstice Celebrations). The whole event took place in the premises of the British Museum and in the nearby Russell Square Park. The program was taken care of by our dear interns together with our teachers Veronika and Soňa. The first part of the workshop was associated with the Celtic culture. Through an engaging narrative, the children found out who the Celts were, what they wore, ate, what they discovered, and created, how and with what they wrote. But above all, the children learned, how the Celts celebrated the departure of winter and the arrival of spring which is connected to it. In the exposition, which is specialized in this culture, the task of the children, according to the instructions in the worksheets, was to find hidden parts of a puzzle that they eventually put together. The children also tried the work of the Celtic druids and created their own scapulars, by mixing many kinds of magical herbs. One of the tasks was also to decipher the recently found Celtic parchments and then write down recipes for miraculous potions. The imagination of children was borderless (just as our school is). For example, a potion for eternal sleep or a cure for abdominal pain occurred. The children also got acquainted with Celtic jewellery and made their own jewels, based on some of the showcased designs. In the second part of the workshop, the children visited the park, where many physical activities took place. One of them was collecting miraculous water from the well, but the most important thing was welcoming spring in the Czech way. The children found out how spring has traditionally been welcomed in the Czech Republic and have subsequently created their own life-size Morena (a Slavic symbol representing death and rebirth of nature). With the Morena they created, they walked around the park while singing folk songs and dances. In the end, they “brought the Morena in”, by which they finally ended the winter season and welcomed the spring. After returning from the park to the museum, everyone could create their own little version of the Morena, bring it home to decorate their flower pots. We hope that everybody liked this spring workshop, that we really brought the winter out and that only beautiful spring days full of sun are waiting for the Czech school.
A Journey through the Screen
The theatre workshop Cesta skrz obrazovku (A journey through the Screen) took place on Thursday, 11th of April 2019. The whole event was led by the teacher Alenka, together with the interns Mária, Barča and Nikča. The workshop began with a digital exhibition at the Serpentine Gallery, continued with great exercising activities in the Kensington Palace Gardens. Around noon we moved together to the Czech Centre, had lunch and started to prepare theatrical situations (sketches). We created a virtual world “the New World” and at the end, we performed a play for the audience. The kids were amazing. It was wonderful to see how they opened up with exercising activities and plays through sounds. And how they played in Czech without any restraint and spoke for their puppets in the Czech language. Throughout the creative process and immersing themselves into the roles, the Czech language has become their natural instrument.
A Night With Andersen
6. 4. – 7. 4. 2019 we participated in a project called A night with Andersen, which aims primarily to support children’s reading.
This time, the central theme of the project, was the book ” Kuky se vrací ” (Kuky returns) by the Czech writer Jan Svěrák. Therefore, during the night from Friday to Saturday, the areas of the St. Mary Magdalene Church turned into places from the book, which included for example “Smradov” (Stinkplace), a dump, a hollow trunk, beech forest, meadow, cemetery, or a pub. The interns, together with the supervisors Hanka and Soňa, prepared a lot of interesting forest and non-forest activities for the children. The most important ones were the four main sites, where the children could make their landfill characters, or tried to trace animal tracks in the beech forest. They also had to go through a blindfolded obstacle course and puzzle out the encrypted instructions for making a corded bird cage. For every finished activity, the children earned a star on their playing cards, which then served as tickets for the popular forest disco.
In the morning, during breakfast, cleaning their teeth and packing, the children could see a movie version of Kuky’s story. The last important thing was giving away the diploma’s and magnets with the picture of Kuky, as a memory for this event.
The whole event was very successful and all the children were leaving with a smile on their faces, which was the biggest reward for the organizers for a job well done.
International Mother Language
On 23rd of February 2019, The Czech School Without Borders participated on an event which was called Mother Tongue Day and took place at the Islington Town Hall. This festivity was visited not only by The Czech School Without Borders, but also by other schools, teaching their own mother tongues (including Greeks, Turks and many others). It was, however, very easy to find us between all the different nationalities, as we were all wearing clothes in the colours of our national tricolour (red, blue and white). Additionally, we also wore our new button badges with the logo of The Czech School Without Borders in London. We used our new banner as well. The event began with a ceremony where selected individuals from all participating schools were awarded diplomas for outstanding results in studying their native language. After the ceremony, each school was introduced. The children from our “Hudební kroužek” presented a musical performance accompanied by a short dance. They performed the song “O ježkovi” (song about a hedgehog) and a well-known Czech song “Já jsem muzikant” (song about Czech musicians). Eventually, they performed a folk dance which imitated a traditional dance with clogs. Everything was perfectly rehearsed, the children glowed with pure joy and therefore was their effort awarded by a long, appreciative applause.
St Nicholas 2018
Czech School without Borders, London organized again a St Nicholas event for its pupils and their parents. On 8th of December 8 2018, at 2:45 the Church St Mary Magdalene opened and the full program could start. After a short introduction, pupils from Year 5 performed a play that was prepared by teacher Adela and trainee Adam. Children played about the winter child games and Christmas so the audience thanks to that they could feel the coming Christmas atmosphere. Then, children and their parents enjoyed the great feast; meals were prepared and brought by all parents. After that, another performance took place. Children from lesson called Hudební půlhodinka together with trainees Káťa, Maruška and Kačka sang a few Czech Christmas songs and carols. Children also played the maracas, the triangles, and the drum. Moreover, three parents accompanied the performance by playing the guitars and the flute.
The carols and songs invited St Nicholas who arrived with the angels and devils. St Nicholas had a pack full of many small presents for every child but at first, children had to sing him a song and swore to speak Czech at home and to read Czech books with parents.
Children were very excited about the packs and presents. At 6 pm they were leaving the church with small presents and their own handmade products that they had made during the whole day, such as paper Christmas trees, angels or handmade decorated gingerbread.
The whole St Nicholas event was very successful; children and their parents enjoyed the programme, meals and creative activities. Moreover, everyone had a chance to talk in Czech with friends or with teachers from the Czech School without Borders, London.
Discussion with Dr Froso Argyri
On 10th November 2018, a scientific Dr Froso Argyri, who works in a research team BiLingo at UCL that studies bi-, tri- and multilingualism, held a presentation at CSWBL about multilingualism and parenting.
This was not the first time and again, her contribution was very inspiring and the following the discussion with parents (and a few kids) encouraged their parents’ and teachers’ effort in keeping up the children’s ability to speak Czech on more than a decent level.
Dr Froso is a mother of two trilingual daughters herself and very often she uses her own experience and specific examples from her Icelandic-Greek-English family.
This time not only she discussed the question of multilingualism but also the
downfalls and benefits of multilingualism and bi- or even a trinational identity. From the discussion, it emerged how difficult of a process cultural identification is and what problems it brings to multilingual children living in international families in London.
Workshop Anděl Páně
Czech School without Borders, London prepared a craft workshop for children on the occasion of a screening of Czech fairytale film called Anděl Páně 2. The screening was organized by Czech Centrum, London in Regent Street Cinema on 4th November 2018, as a part of festival CZECH 100 remembering a centenary of the Czech Republic.
From 13:30 children were coming in fancy costumes of small devils and angels in order to take a picture with two figures from the film itself. The two figures were two volunteers that wore the original costumes from the film that were borrowed by the filmmakers from the Czech Republic.
After the screening children could make three different toys that were inspired by the film plot. Children enjoyed film screening and they went home with the devil´s pipes, paper angels and apple trees from cones.
Workshop Corsairs of Her Majesty
On 26th of October 2018 during the half term holidays Czech School without Borders, London organized a workshop called the Corsairs of Her Majesty for 19 children, which took place in the magnificent spaces of the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich. The event lasted from 9:30 till 17:30 and through the indoor and outdoor activities it helped children to understand better the Tudor dynasty, especially Elisabeth I and her Corsairs.
After a short walk by the clipper Cutty Sark, we headed straight to the museum where children worked on one part of their worksheets. That was followed by a museum tour with a comment done by one of the interns. The children saw the record-breaking speedboat Miss Britain III, figureheads, the famous painting the Battle of Trafalgar by J. M. W. Turner or the interactive polar exhibition.
After lunch, there were art and craft activities prepared. Children were creating boats from wine corks, their own pirate flags and finally, they dressed up the 4th-grade teacher Soňa who personified Elizabeth I.
The children continued with the second part of worksheets near the big world map in the museum. The great map was later used to remake the Francis Drake’s journey around the world. Besides that, children learned about the Tudor fashion, they were also finding differences in pictures with pirates or they tried to find a way out of a labyrinth.
After that, children got a chance to run around in the park. It was followed by an activity where one child from each team was blindfolded and the others had to navigate them to the target using codes they came up with. It was moved even further to finding treasures. In the teams, the kids divided themselves into pairs and they were searching for little gifts they were gathering for the queen as her Corsairs. Finally, we moved onto finding a lost treasure box that contained gifts for everyone. Children successfully found it so they could go home proudly with the gifts and the certificates.
Workshop A Centenary of the Czech Republic
Czech School without Borders, London prepared the whole-day workshop commemorating the centenary of Czechoslovakia. The workshop was held on 23rd of October 2018 in the Imperial War Museum from 10 to 17:30 for children over 10 years. The very important centenary was remembered by many indoor and outdoor activities.
After short warm-up activities children walked around the museum in order to see for example the coding machine enigma or a nuclear shelter from World War II. Before the prepared activities, during the mind mapping, children showed that they know a lot about the Czech Republic and its nature, history, and culture. Then, a short video about the founding of Czechoslovakia and presentation about the most important historical and cultural events of Czechoslovakia since 1918 were prepared for children. This helped them to create a timeline of the Czechoslovakian 100 years represented by a Czech national linden and pictures. Children also made interactive maps showing the territorial changes of the Czech Republic since 1918.
In the park, five different sportive activities commemorated the most significant sportsmen and sportswomen of the Czech Republic such as ice hockey player Jaromír Jágr or athlete Roman Šebrle. After that, children started to decode 8 various codes in order to open a mysterious safe. All children were very successful in decoding so thanks to the password DEMOCRACY the safe was opened and everyone was given a T-shirt with the picture of Tomas G. Masaryk – the first Czechoslovakian president. After the last taking of pictures in the new T-shirts children were leaving with great experiences.
On 4th of October 2018 at the Tufnell Park Primary, Islington, there were International day celebrations with the Czech School without Borders taking a part. The event lasted two to two and a half hours.
The Czech school hosted a stand with handcrafting and art activities. Children had the opportunity of creating snails from newspapers, templated helicopters, flags from colorful papers they were cutting out, but the favorite was spectacular butterflies from tissues and pegs. This part was led by the preschool teacher of the Czech school and its interns.
Besides, thanks to a dear member of the Czech school committee the children could listen to poems that were being made on an emigration themed workshop Taking Flights and throughout the whole last year. The poems were written by Czech kids in English and then recorded so you could dive into a stream of deep meaningful words.
An undividable part of the event was intercontinental cuisine. The parents brought some of their national dishes, both sweet and savory and meaty and vegetarian. To mention, for example Palestinian falafel, the German and Polish versions of a soft plum cake, Georgian BBQ, Italian pasta and real American doughnuts.