2 EVS Placements in Belgium

Primary school De Appeltuin

(1-st Project)

Native City: Leuven

 

Activities and mission of the organization:

De Appeltuin is one of the 40 Freinet Schools in Flanders. The Freinet Pedagogical concept is part of the larger pedagogical project of Community Education in Flanders. Its aim is the total development of a person, with attention for the optimal development for each child personally. De Appeltuin is a kindergarten and primary school.

The aims of the school are:

  • to have a constant attention for natural learning, based on the experiences and world of interest of the child, keeping in mind the established development goals and school
  • to work together, based on cooperative and democratic consultation instead of one sided Children are one of the three stakeholder groups in our school. This way, we want to stimulate independency in children.
  • to experiment and learn-by-doing instead of applying rules and regulations, because the learning effect is much larger when a child can convert self-discovered material into new
  • to work usefully and Working useless in a school leads to following without thinking and a lack of satisfaction.

The groups of children are structured in a way that there are always 2 age groups together. This stimulates that older children learn from the younger ones and the other way around.

There is a lot a thematic approach – so called projects – especially in the kindergarten. Their kids can explore together different themes that are of interest in their world. In primary school, these projects are larger and more elaborated in time and space. The learning area of ‘world orientation’ is treated in these projects.

 

Sector of the organization: children – non-formal education

 

Location of the project: The school is located in the center of Leuven, at 20 min. walk from the train station. Leuven is one of the most popular cities in Flanders for students. It is one of the oldest university cities of Belgium and has a wide range of cultural and social activities. Students from all over Belgium and Europe live here during the academic year. Leuven has a very rich history, which can be seen in the many historical buildings and sites. Leuven has a small center but counts several parts, which are nearby and are more quiet and green.

Office environment:

De Appeltuin has a staff team of 23 people, which includes kindergarten teachers, primary school teachers, pedagogical support team, after care, administrative staff, coordinator,…

Another important factor in this school is the involvement of parents and thematic working groups within school the education of the children. This can be in the classroom (projects, practical work,..), class responsible, working groups in the school (reading support, logistics, music, communication,..).

 

Benefit from the volunteer:

The school sees project education as the important working method. Having an international volunteer could in this context be a perfect challenge for everyone involved to apply this form of non-formal education. The presence and cooperation of a foreign volunteer can mean a serious extra value in our school. One of our goals is to form our children to be active citizens with respect for every other human being, for nature and for other cultures.

 

Tasks of the volunteer:

The tasks of the volunteer will evolve from practical help in the classroom to the setting up of a specific project. The velocity of this evolution will depend on the growing language and practical skills of the volunteer. The volunteer will be assisting in classes of toddlers or primary school children, depending on the level of Dutch.

 

The volunteer will:

  • Assist in mainly one classroom (depending on the language level). This can be individual guidance of children who can’t follow the lessons as good as the It can also be to assist when the teacher is using a method where they need assistance, for example when they want to do an educational game to teach them something; then the volunteer can help in preparing this and guide it. It can also be to help with the classes when they are drawing, making something creative, or doing work-shops, such as drama and theatre or teaching them new songs.
  • Take part in out-door activities with the children: go swimming with them, excursions, thematical workshops,… For example, going to the forest in autumn to learn about this season, going to a museum and they have interactive workshops, going to a theatre or a movie and later in class having a de-briefing about it, going to the seaside and learn about the typical vegetation there, going for a week somewhere together…
  • Next to that, the volunteer will organize own activities and workshops, depending on the interests of the For example, to set up a project about her home country, to teach the children about the differences and similarities between cultures. A lot of time of the volunteer’s work will go to this aspect.

 

Working hours during a normal day:

The volunteer will do voluntarily work for 5 days a week from 9AM until 4PM (Wednesday only in the morning). School holidays are free.

 

Specific skills volunteer should have:

For De Appeltuin motivation and interest in the themes the project is working with, namely education and children, is the biggest criteria. The learning possibilities of the volunteer are also important. Since it is needed in the work with children, the volunteer needs to like to work with children and should have interest in pedagogical methods. We strongly advise volunteers to read about the Freinet-philosophy and educational methods before arrival.

 

Level of language skills: intermediate English and very motivated to learn Dutch

 

 Volunteer’s benefit:

The volunteer will be as an extra in the team of the teachers of the school. She/he will get the opportunity to assist in different classrooms (mainly one, but some others) and to get a close look on the educational tools and methods of a ‘Freinetschool’. The principles of the Freinet-philosophy are related to ‘non-formal education’ and ‘experimental learning’. This means that the children have to work on a variety of projects with different themes.

 

Steinerschool De Sterrendaalders

(2-nd Project)

Native City: Lier

 

Activities and mission of the organization:

Education for children between 2,5 and 6 years old (kindergarden) and children between 6-12 years old (primary school) based on the Steiner pedagogy. The Steiner pedagogy is focused on the personal and social development of children in a well-balanced and free environment. We provide education for children, irrespective of race, descent or philosophical convictions.

 

Sector of the organization:

Non-formal education – children

 

Location of the project:

The project is located in Lier at the border of the city center. The school is located next to a residential area.

 

Office environment: approx. 18 teachers

 

Tasks of the volunteer:

We are looking for a volunteer to be part of our staff in the kindergarten (21/2-6 years) and more specifically in the first class of kindergarten (21/2-3 years old). The volunteer will be actively involved during her/his whole stay. The tasks will all be related to the follow-up and supervision of the children during their school day. The following tasks will certainly have to be performed:

 

  • taking care of the preschoolers getting (un)dressed for the outdoor activities (we do a lot of outdoor activities even under bad weather conditions – in order to be able to do so, we’ve rain&mud equipement that our smallest children gradually need to learn to put on themselves, this is one of the skills they learn in the first class)

 

  • Recess duty: We have moments of free playing and directed playing, during both moments not only supervision but also observation of the development of the children is an important task of our staff. If interested it could be a possibility for the volunteer to prepare some directed play moments (with coaching of the class teacher)
  • Helping to prepare the fruit and soup meals: Healthy food is part of our education, Therefore our day starts with a fruit plate where the fruit is brought by the children and then peeled and shared between the pupils. 3 times a week we also prepare soup with fresh organic vegetables in our kindergarten classes together with the children.
  • Preparing and supervising the after lunch nap: We’re enthousiastic about the positive impact of a resting/sleeping moment for our kindergartners. Therefore until 6 years old they all have a moment of rest on their mattresses after lunch.

 

The volunteer could start a personal project under coaching of the class teacher. Eg of a possible project: Prepare and supervise a directed play moment where his/her culture is integrated in order to be able to share and transmit some of this to the pupils. This could be on a regular base (e.g. weekly), in order to create interaction and interest with the children towards this specific intercultural playmoment.

 

Working hours during a normal day:

 

The volunteer will work 5 days a week from 8.15 till 15.30. Monday afternoon and Wednesday afternoon is free. School-holidays are free.

 

Specific skills volunteer should have:

 

  • open minded
  • patient with children
  • motivation and determination to learn more
  • communicative and sociable
  • interest in Steiner philosophy: we advise volunteers to read more about the Steiner education method before arrival

 

Level of language skills: intermediate English and strong motivation to learn Dutch

Volunteer’s benefit:

You’ll get to know a vivid community of teachers, parents and children that will give you the space to experience our culture. With the contacts you make at our project, you’ll deepen your knowledge about our culture and our country also outside the workplace.