May 2007 - School children playfully learn about their landscape
Belgian and German school children have contributed to the European Notebook, a Lifescape project where school children tell the tale of their surrounding landscape with stories, drawings and photos to other school children. ‘It was important to see the children from other countries‘, says the German Melody.
From France and England the European Notebook has now travelled to Belgium and Germany. School children from all the Lifescape nationalities will eventually compose pictures and texts to tell school children from other countries about their surrounding landscape.
‘The schools wanted to participate immediately‘, says Leen van den Bergh of the Vlaamse Landmaatschappij (VLM). ‘And the children were very keen. In Westerlo you have the Asberg where they play hide and seek, but now they have learned that on that spot the urns used to be burned (Asberg is Ash Mountain) they were very surprised. A school in Averbode - near the monastery - has visited the fathers for the first time. And the children helped with the management of the marsh of the Demerbroeken.‘
The teachers were also very enthusiastic. Van den Bergh: ‘They spent more time on the project than they intended. The school management has asked us for a paper version of the notebook when the project has been completed, so the children have something to remember it by. Now of course they could see what the English and French children made for the notebook, but they also want to see what the German and Dutch children have to offer.‘
For the VLM it was the first time that they have worked with children, says Van den Bergh. ‘I thought it was very positive, because you involve children in your own work. But if we want to repeat this initiative in the future, we must think of ways to embed the notebook concept more structurally into the national educational system. Now, because schools have a lot of projects to work on, they tend to choose the ones that are specifically referred to in the educational system‘.
Meanwhile the European Notebook travelled from Belgium to Germany. There school children from the Wilhelm Busch Schule in Maintal and the Enkheimer Grundschule in Landgraben added stories about the apples from the orchards of the orchard centre MainÄppelHaus Lohrberg. The children have told about their favourite apple variety and have published some apple recipes.
The visit of the European Notebook did not stay unnoticed. The local newspaper Frankfurt Neue Presse interviewed teachers and school children. The eight year old Jannika views the orchards in the Lohberg differently since she participated in the notebook. ‘When I go walking with my dog I know a lot more about the harvest and the animals then before‘, she says. ‘And it was also important to see the children from the other countries‘, added Melody. Anita Henkel of the orchard centre thinks the children will learn about themselves and about Europe. ‘The children will learn something about their own identity and their identity as a European in a playful and creative way.‘
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