Comenius 2013-15

comenius work pic

Following on from two succesful Comenius partnerships to date, St. Ultan’s has been awarded a grant to take part in another European Project. This time, our partner schools are from Denmark, Spain, Italy and Turkey.

Our project has the short name “DIETS”…….which is appropriate in lots of ways.

Firstly, Each letter of the word represents a country in the project (Using our Irish name Éire for Ireland).

Secondly, the word diet comes from an ancient Greek word that meant “A way of life”. Our project will see the development of a new vegetable and herbal garden on our sun terrace to promote healthy eating, as well as an expansion of our “Mindfulness” programme to promote better coping with the stresses of daily life. There will also be lots of lessons for the children about the different countries involved and some visits abroad by our teachers to learn how schools work in other countries, promoting curiosity about other ways of life.

It’s planned that by the time we are visited by representatives from the partner schools in March 2015, our children will know lots about their countries and cultures…..including their languages, their games, their music and most deliciously of all……their food!

Our Comenius project is funded by Léargas, an Irish organisation, linked to the European Union who promote cross-cultural education throughout Europe.

As coordinators of the project, Múinteoirí Emma and Gary will be sure to keep everyone informed and excited as it all develops… watch this space!!

Here is the plan of work for the Comenius Project to be done before our April 2014 visit to Spain:

• Questionnaire to be carried out by 5th class in December (Done)
• A series of lessons will be carried out following the questionnaire that concern children from other countries, the environment, plants, healthy living and good food.
(Photos and work samples will be be kept for our Comenius notice board and blog).
• 5 Mindful minutes will be carried out in every school from November/December throughout the two year project.(Modelled by Ireland)
• “Green Class” to be selected each month, with the winners chosen based on good environmental behaviours such as recycling, electricity usage or bottle cap collection.

-January’s Green Class will be rewarded with the responsibility of helping to form St. Ultans’ very first “library” of seeds that will be used in our up-and-coming school garden.
-February’s Green Class will make hand-made gifts e.g. photo frames, pressed flowers, cards all from recycled materials.
-March’s Green Class will earn a class trip to the National Botanic Gardens

Keep your eyes peeled for new information about the project as it develops!!

School year 1:
• Spain- 7th -11th of April 2014
• Italy- 19th -23rd of May 2014
School year 2:
• Denmark- 24th -25th of November 2014
• Ireland Host-16th -20th of March 2015
• Turkey- 18th -22nd of May 2015
• Ireland host to complete final form-July 2015


Click on images to enlarge.

Denmark Trip – October 2014


Last October, 6 St. Ultan’s staff members went to visit Aarhus in Denmark as part of our Comenius project.  Múinteoirí Gary, Emer, Aidan and Daragh represented the teachers and Linda and Margaret represented the SNA’s.


We travelled through the night to get there, and arrived at the Mayor Hotel after three o’ clock in the morning, which left us with less than three hours to sleep because we had to get up to visit our partner’s school by 6 o’ clock…..Needless to say, we all had very red eyes and were very sleepy, but even though we were tired, we found the school to be amazing!!  We were greeted with the an assembly where the whole school sang songs in Danish for us and we introduced ourselves.  One funny thing we noticed was that the children take their shoes off in school and wear thick socks.  This keeps their feet nice and warm and the school stays quiet and dry. Another thing we noticed was how all the children were learning English and really wanted to try out what they knew on us.  We were brought around the building by boys and girls from 6th class who had prepared all their notes in English on I-Pads! We couldn’t believe how much freedom the children were given by comparison with children in Ireland.  For example, their playground includes a zip line, a forest and even a lake!!  One of the craziest things we learned was that in Denmark the junior infants stay outside for their first year in school.  They have built a large hut and in it there are wood burning stoves and big wooden benches.  The children stay here and play in the field all year long…..and on cold days they just wear more clothes!!  The reason for this is that by being outside the children develop really strong immune systems that stop them from getting sick easily.  We were gobsmacked and we wondered how crazy people would think we were if we tried to bring this idea back to Ireland!!


On the way back inside the school, we saw the children’s garden , then all their classrooms, but the highlight was when first class gave an example of a mindfulness session for us.  They were very good and relaxed so much as they practiced their breathing and gave each other a massage on their necks and shoulders that even we began to feel sleepy…..but that wasn’t a surprise considering we had so little sleep the night before!


Later in the trip, we visited a really cool museum called the Aros.  In it, they have tried to recreate what it’s like to walk in a rainbow and they have a huge sculpture called “Boy”…….It was so huge and realistic looking that it was a little bit scary…..we could see the lines in his skin and the blue colour of his veins under the skin!!


We also visited the old city of Aarhus and found out that it isn’t really old at all, but in fact is made up of lots of really old houses from all over Denmark that were saved from being demolished and were taken apart and rebuilt in Aarhus so people could learn all about how Danish people used to live in olden times.  It was truly beautiful and very educational.  They even have actors dressed up in old fashioned costumes like the teacher who was walking through the streets with his class….but the old fashioned way of talking to the students was much meaner than we would try nowadays!!!


We were also very lucky to visit Legoland.  There we saw how lots of European cities have been recreated using lego.  They have cars that drive themselves, boats that run through the water as if by magic and canal locks that open and close to let the water level rise and fall!


It was a wonderful experience and a very educational one too.  We all agreed that there’s loads of things about schools in Denmark that we would like to try here at home in Cherry Orchard…….but above all others, it was the sense of trust and respect that the teachers and students have for each other that made the biggest impression on us all.


The next Comenius trip is to Ireland.  Teachers and some secondary students will be visiting us in March….just in time for St. Patrick’s Day.  We are getting all the plans ready even now to make sure they get to see the best things about Irish schools……..there will be much more exciting things to come!!


Múinteoir Gary

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