This year, Fontenebro International School’s cultural week in Primary and Early Years was dedicated to Ancient Egypt. From 20th – 23rd February students (and teachers) took a break from their regular curriculum content to be immersed in the theme of Ancient Egypt. As an ‘exit point’ the school invited families to enter our Pyramid which showcased the amazing learning of our students.
Our Primary students were able to learn about Ancient Egypt from passing through 17 workshops which included topics such as Cleopatra, making a sundial, the Egyptian gods, Ancient Egyptian society, understanding hieroglyphics and making papyrus, the importance of the River Nile to name but a few. As a consequence of the way the week was organised in Primary, teachers had the opportunity to work with year groups that they had not worked with this year and that really motivated the staff.
Our Early Years students also had their own set of workshops. Families were invited to workshops focussing on how Ancient Egyptians dressed. They enjoyed making jewellery such as necklaces and arm and wrist bands and bracelets which they were able to show off during the parade on the final day. Our youngest students also enjoyed workshops with their tutors where they had the opportunity to immerse themselves in the theme by learning about the importance of beetles to the Egyptians, writing their names in Egyptian hieroglyphics and learning about Pharaohs and gods.
The week of our Early Years students has also revolved around Egyptian culture.
This theme is part of a subtheme of a much broader project called “The pole and the desert.” In which our students have learned specific things about these two very different parts of the world full of contrasts: cold and heat, snow and sand, haimas and igloos, warm clothing and light clothing, animals such as seals and camels… and an endless number of concepts of very different geographical places.
The cultural week began with an approximation and a look at a culture as exciting as the Egyptian one.
- First we held workshops with families and we focused on jewelry and decorations related to the clothing typical of that era. The students with their parents made bracelets, bracelets, necklaces, pectorals, belts, amulets, anklets, crowns, diadems, etc. Accessories that they wore in the parade that we held on the last closing day of the cultural week.
- Then the little ones with their tutors made a full immersion doing different activities by age. So they got how important beetles were to them (an animal they wanted sacred), they converted what hieroglyphs were and made their names with these writing symbols. They were able to know the Egyptian numbering and have been able to compare it with the numbering we currently use. They have approached the world of the gods and the pharaohs and have discovered that it is a pyramid and what they were built for, they have also discovered the world of sarcophagi and mummies and endless other things.
- Finally, we invited our families back and we were the “guides” in our pyramid. We were able to show some knowledge that we have learned and we have also done it in English so that parents could see how children learn new concepts naturally in this language.
The Pyramid – An Exhibition of Amazing Learning!
In the days which followed the Cultural Week we exhibited the student’s learning in a Pyramid which was erected in the sports hall. Families from Primary and Early Years were then invited – class group by class group- to see examples of the students’ work for each of the workshops. It was really impressive to see how the students performed the role of ‘museum guide’ for their families as they took them round the Pyramid and explained, in both English and Spanish, not only what they did but how it connected to aspects of Ancient Egyptian history and culture that they had learned.
Both the Head of Primary and Head of Early Years were very positive in their evaluation of the success of this year’s Cultural Week. Julia García, Head of Early years, said that ‘the experience has been a very rewarding one and it’s very beneficial for our students learning for the school to come together with a common learning goal’. Cristina Béjar, Head of Primary, emphasised that the ‘Cultural Week is a wonderful opportunity to raise awareness of any area of cultural interest and this year we noticed our students were very enthusiastic about their learning’. Our families agreed. Over 90% of our families who responded to our survey felt that the learning experience had had a high or very high impact on their child’s learning. It was also great to receive some suggestions about how to improve this type of project for future occasions.
¡GOOD JOB TEAM!
Mike West, Cristina Béjar & Julia García
Head of Learning, Primary & Early Years Coordinators