Milford-on-Sea CE Primary Academy & Kushadevi Model School - Sister Schools
Through our links with local charity Freedom to Learn, we have been paired with a school in the Kathmandu Valley.
The school is in the village of Kushadevi and it is a priviledge to be involved to be paired with such a forward-thinking government school.
Proudly known as the Mushadevi Model School, the aim of the staff is to provide an education, in English, that is on a par with the Private school system - in short, to show other government schools how to breathe life into their curriculum and provide a quality education for children from the poorest backgrounds (who can argue with that?).
The Sister Schools project has been running for three years now and during that time we have undertaken countless live video links with the children in Kushadevi, formed groups of 'Friendship Ambassadors' in both schools and shared information on key events and festivals that shape the lives of the two schools. Our children have also been involved in helping to raise funds to support our friends in Kushadevi, such as doing a sponsored climb on the anniversary of the devastating earthquake which affected many families in and around Kushadevi.
So far, our support has helped to provide a library and begin to stock it with books in both Nepali and English!
An important part of the Sister Schools project is the exchange of knowledge and educational practices between the staff at the two school and we are pleased to announce that phase 1 has just been successfully completed - Mr Willis went out to Nepal to visit the school and support the staff through training - see below.
Phase 2 planning is underway and soon School Director SK Thapa will be making a visit to MOSPS to gather further ideas for Kushadevi and to share some of his own.
We very much look forward to welcoming him - watch this space.
If you want to find out more about the Sister Schools Project, or are interested in supporting the valuable work of the Freedom to Learn charity, please do not hesitate to come in and speak to Mr Willis, or visit the Freedom to Learn website.
Last year saw our Friendship Ambassadors do six live link-ups via Facetime to share learning on religious festivals, traditional foods and traditional songs, amongst many other things. we also did two successful whole-school link-ups in the hall, where we shared songs and dances and got some burning questions answered.
WHAT'S NEW FOR 2018-19?
Our 'We Care' green jumpers have taken over from our red VIP jumpers, so we have sent those out to Kushadevi with Joey, to help celebrate good learning qualities seen in their school. She has also taken out the dual language books purchased with the money raised from last year's World Book Day fundraiser.
But more importantly...
This year we are scrolling out the live link-ups so that every class will get a chance to do a face to face session with their counterparts in Kushadevi. We have chosen Global Goal number 6 - Water & Sanitation - as our conversation starter and each session will have a focus on the importance of clean water and hygiene. Through updates below, we'll keep you posted on how they go. Fingers crossed for a good signal!
Live Link 4 - the 'Share a Song Session'
Our final 'live link' of 2018 was an opportunity to show how music has no boundaries.
We arranged to share songs with one another - we would share some songs from the KS1 Christmas Show and our friends in Nepal would share some traditional songs sung during the festival of Tihar and the session was a real success.
The technical gods were on our side and we enjoyed an almost glitch-free facetime link with the Kushadevi school pupils. Both sets of children listened with real interest and respect to the songs shared during the morning and the applause at the end was genuine and heart-felt.
Just before we signed off, we were asked to give a few lines of 'Jingle Bells' as they had learned this was a traditional Christmas Song and our fantastic Yr 2's were only too happy to oblige.
What a lovely way to sign off our round of KS1 'Live Links'.
Thanks to Joey, this end and Bina and Sangita in Nepal for their work in making this last link of 2018 such a success.
Click on the video below to get a flavour of the session.
Live Link 3
Class 4’s ‘Live Link’ took place during th hustle and bustle of Christmas performance week. Our pupils shared a little about the Christian
festival of Christmas and their own favourite bits of the festive period.
In return pupils from Kushadevi spoke about the similar Hindu festivals of Tihar & Dashain and their favourite bits from those.
The link ended with a question and answer session to allow both sets of pupils to find out more about each other and their lives in and out of school.
Our pupils then spent a little more time with Joey, looking at some Nepalese religious and cultural artefacts, to learn a little more about Nepali customs and traditions.
Class Live-Link 2
Class 5 did the second of our live Facetime sessions. They had prepared posters about handwashing to share with Kushadevi Class 1 pupils—they will be making some posters to send back soon.
Both sets of pupils got a chance to ask some questions and technology seemed to be on our side this week, as we only had to reconnect three times during the half hour session.
They wanted to know whether we liked singing and dancing, how long we spent at school and how we got to school, while we asked questions about the games they like to play, what things they like to do outside of school and if they have taps in their houses.
We were really impressed that many of the Kushadevi pupils asked their questions in English, so we introduced ourselves in Nepali.
To say "My name is....", you just say "Mero Nam (insert name here) ho". Why not try it at home!
Check out the photos of Class 5's session below.
Class Live-Link 1
Class 3 did the first of our live links with a demonstration of effective hand washing. They broke this important process down into clear steps and shared these with the Kushadevi Kindergarten children. They even sang their alphabet song.
In return the pupils in Nepal answered some questions and sent through some photos of hand washing Kushadevi-style. The signal was a little intermittent throughout the session, but SK has told me that the youngest children in their school loved their facetime session.
Check out some photos below.
OUR CROSS-CONTINENTAL CLEAN-UP
With the work we did with the Volvo Ocean Race early in 2018, our thoughts were never far from turning the tide on plastic pollution, so we decided that when the weather got better, we would attempt a coordinated clean-up with our friends in Nepal. We would set about doing a beach clean down at Milford Beach, while the Kushadevi pupils would clean up the river that runs through their village. The idea was that the two water-cleans would happen on the same day, but the weather got the better of that plan. While it was very windy here, in Kushadevi their were torrential rains which caused the river to swell so much that it was too dangerous to attempt to clean. We did get down to Milford, but our friends left the river alone and instead decided to clean the centre of the village around the small temple complex.
After the clean-ups, we skyped each other to talk about the types of waste we had found, and discovered that, although we might be thousands of miles apart, the main form of waste found in both villages was food and drink packaging.
Take a look at some of the pictures form here and in Kushadevi.
Whole School Live Link-Up
The second of our whole-school 'live link-ups' took place in March. It was a chance for our Friendship Ambassadors to share what they had learned about Nepali culture and Hindu festival rituals and then share some songs, dances and questions with our friends in Kushadevi.
The signal lasted the whole session and both sets of pupils got a lot from the experience, although next year we may move to more regular facetime sessions class to class, rather than a whole-school affair. keep your eyes peeled for developments.
In the latest part of our Sister Schools Project, our Friendship Ambassadors got the opportunity to learn a popular Nepali Children’s song: Resham Firiri.
First, they were played a pre-videoed version of Nepali children singing it, then, under Joey’s tutorage, they began to learn the lyrics before they interrupted by a surprise Facetime call from pupils at Kushadevi School, who performed the song live. Our ambassadors joined in with the chorus and produced a magic moment of inter-continental connection.
The 2016-17 Year 6 Friendship Ambassadors said their farewells to their Kushadevi counterparts last week.
Topics for the conversation included moving schools, travelling to school and Nepali greetings.