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 just over 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 back in 2016, Mr Willis went out to Nepal to visit the school and support the staff through training - see below.
Phase 2 planning is underway and visa-permitting, we hope to welcome either the director of the Model School Project, SK Thapa, or one of his dedicated teaching team to Milford in the near future.
In the meantime, our 'connecting classrooms' project continues apace with live-links between the two schools. Last year saw us move from Friendship Ambassador live-links to individual class live-links, and each class had a chance speak 'face-to face', share some learning and ask questions of one another. Our conversations and connections were given a shared structure last year through consideration of UN Global Goal 6 - Clean water and sanitation - take a look at an overview of our Face-time sessions, below. This year we are using UN Global Goal 13.
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.
What's New for 2019-20?
This year we will continue to connect each of our classes with our friends in Kushadevi. Over the course of the year, we will use our connections to share learning and spread the word on UN Global Goal 13: Action for Climate Change.
As each classroom connection happens, a brief write-up will appear below, so keep coming back to this page to keep up-to-date with our programme of live-links.
Sister Schools’ Project 2019-20 Kicks Off With Class 11
Last Wednesday our Sister School’s project kicked off with the first live link of the year. Once again we are using the UN Global Goals for Sustainability as a framework for our conversations and last week class 11 were considering the problem of clean air. Both classes prepared posters to promote the need for clean air and talked about what they were doing to try to combat air pollution, such as walking to school etc. The pupils from Kushadevi explained that because there are not many cars in the village, air pollution isn’t really an issue, but it is in Kathmandu. The children from both classes had really thought about the right to clean air and their responsibility in helping to reduce air pollution. Next up will be class 10 and they will be considering how to reduce energy use as a way of combating the pollution caused by power stations.
Live-Link Programme 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!
Fundraising To Support Live Links
Our Sister Schools Friendship Ambassadors met on the last Wednesday of term to try to turn £10 into £85 in order to purchase a blue-tooth speaker to send over to Kushadavi.. We have been able to hear all the pupils in KMS have said to us, as our brilliant whiteboards have such good speakers, but over in Nepal, they have been straining to hear our words, huddled around an i-pad. This simple purchase will really help to bring our pupils together.
The simple Rice Crispie and Cornflake chocolate cakes were easy to make and Miss Walton oversaw the ambassadors as they created their Easter classics. 110 were made at the final count and these were then sold over two after-school cake sales. Thanks to some very generous donations , we have managed to raise £55 towards the speaker, so we will need to think about how we can muster up those last few pounds.
If you have any simple fundraising ideas, or would like to make a donation towards the speaker, please pop in and see Mr Willis.
Thanks to Miss Walton and all the ambassadors for their help and support so far.
Class 10 Close our First Year of Live links
Class 10 were the last of the classes to do a live link with Kushadevi Model School pupils, and once again technology tried its best to scupper the session. IN the end, Joey had to use her phone to make the connection, but we still got it up on the big screen. With the subject still being water and sanitation, Class ten shared an environmental song and talked about the beach cleans we have done as part of Beach School. The Kushadevi pupils talked about the river that runs through their village and the importance of caring for it. This round of live links has really opened up the Sister Schools programme to many more students, so thank you to Joey Owen for all she has done to keep us all connected.
Class 11's Live Link
In contrast to class 9’s session, technology smiled on us for Class 11’s live link, despite very heavy rain in Kushadevi!
This week both sets of children shared poems about the importance of water. SK had to translate a rather lengthy poem ‘The Day I Fell Down The Toilet’, which dealt with the problem of sewage being piped into our oceans. Our pupils performed the poem beautifully.
In return some of the Kushadevi pupils, from class 5 and 6 sang a poem for us, which talked of the importance of water for the rice crop. We were then told that they had chosen the poem because it is currently rice-planting season, so it was really topical.
This time it was there turn to be impressed with us, as all of our Q & A pupils introduced themselves in Nepali, before asking their questions.
Nice one class 11!
Class 9 Live Link
Unfortunately, due to some technical issues both here and in Nepal, class 9’s live link was done via Facetime on Miss Walton’s phone, however this did not affect the session.
Still focusing on the global goal of clean water and sanitation, the pupils in Class 9 shared—and modelled– an experiment to clean water through filtration, each stag of which was expertly translated by Bina in Kushadevi.
The session ended with the usual Q & A and we continue to be amazed at how well they read their prepared answers in English!
Class 8 Live-Link
Due to a technical hitch before Easter, Class 8's live link was postponed, but it was well worth the wait. To complete our focus on 'health and well-being', both sets of children shared information about recent festival experiences and how these give a sense of community and are good for the spirit.
We explained all about the festival of Easter, sharing the Easter story and talking about ways in which people celebrate Easter - we even had an Easter egg to show them!
In return, they told us all about Holi, which they celebrated in March. They explained that it is the most enjoyable and inclusive festival and that it includes throwing paint at friends and family. They also explained how the festival brings everyone together.
Through the question and answer session that followed, we learnt that there are similarities between some of our festivals, but a few differences too.
To round the live-link off, we shared a song from the Easter performance and our friends in Nepal sang us a song sung during the Tihar festival.
Class 7 Talk Healthy Bodies and Minds
In their live-link, class 7 decided to talk about healthy eating, exercise and the importance of sleep. They shared the concept of a balanced meal, the current recommendations the amount of exercise children should undertake on a daily basis and then talked about the need to turn off screens at least an hour before bedtime. The Kushadevi pupils might not all have their own smartphones, but some have tablets and limited internet access, and most have TVs. They shared with us what they thought was important to good health and it was interesting to see that they have a different attitude to exercise than we do here. We are so focused on keeping active, that we treat walking to school as daily exercise, whereas they think of exercise as just sport and PE.
Unfortunately the session ran out of time before Joey could share with us Traditional Nepali food, so that we could see if it was a balanced diet, but she will be back in next week to work once again with class 7.
Class 6 Kick Off our Spring Term Live-Link
This term we are centering our Live-links around the 'Global Goal' of 'Health & Well-being'. Class 6 were first up and they shared a keep-fit workout in our first session, which took place in the third week of term, and this was followed by a revealing question and answer session relating to out-of-school passtimes that are good for the mind, body and soul.
At the close of the session, Joey ran a hands-on session with some Nepali cultural artefacts.
Once again the technology worked well our end, but in Nepal they struggled to hear some of our conversation and this has given us the idea to start fundraising for a bluetooth speaker, so that they can hear us loud and clear.
Keep a look out for upcoming fundraising.
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.