Greece Visit Report April 1st – 5th April 2019

 

St. Cronan’s (Ireland) visit to Greece

From 1st – 5th of April, St Cronan’s was given the opportunity to participate in ERASMUS+ TEPS project meeting in Aegina, Greece. It was both an enjoyableand educational experience together with colleagues from Estonia, Czech Republic, Turkey, Netherlands and Spain.

Monday 1st April 2019

We arrived at Hotel Rastoni at about lunch time where we were greeted by the rest of our group.  As soon as we had become acquainted with the group we left to go to the pottery lab.  At the pottery lab we were shown lots of pieces of pottery which had been made there.  We were then given the opportunity to make our own pieces of pottery.  We each made a mug which we painted and decorated.

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After the trip to the pottery lab we were transported back to our hotel to freshen up.  Shortly after our group walked together to restaurant ‘Foufou’ where we got to experience some beautiful, traditional Greek cuisine. What a great ending to our first day on Aegina

Tuesday 2nd April 2019

On Tuesday 2nd of April we our group departed the hotel at 8.30am and visited the hosting school in Kipsely.  We were warmly greeted by our host Stavroula, Greek co-ordinator and by Anthoula Director of the school. Many teachers visited our room to introduce themselves and to add to the welcoming experience. A meeting followed during which we discussed the plans for the week ahead.

Shortly after our arrival we were introduced to Greek coffee with a beautiful selection of Greek treats before the students from 5th grade classes C and D put on the Greek play ‘Myth of Aegina’ fairytale from Katerina and Faei for us.  This was a fantastic performance.  It was great to see all the amazing work which the teachers and students in this school had been doing.

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A short while after the play had ended, the school presented a healthy eating program in the school hall. It was interesting to watch the children from the school participate in the lesson with such enthusiasm.91D154D0-5C4A-4016-BB34-3CF3B74CC4BD

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Later we went back to our meeting room in the school where we watched some teachers demonstrate their technical boxes.  This was very educational and it was great to see what schools from other countries had been working on with their pupils.

Teachers from the Netherlands showed us how to make a ‘vacuum’.  This box was particularly of interest since the experiment was a useful one to bring back to our own school.

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Next we were transported to ‘Afaia’ where we visited the museum.  We saw some beautiful views from this site.  It really was one of the highlights of our trip.  The site was closed to tourists so they very kindly especially opened the museum for us so we could get the full experience of the site.

To finish off the day we were transported back to restaurant Gerasimos where we were met by the staff from the school.  We were treated to an amazing array of Greek dishes throughout the afternoon. We quickly got used to the traditional way of Greek eating with many sharing dishes.

We had a free evening after lunch where we rested and explored the island on our own.

Wednesday 3rd April 2019

We met early in the morning at the harbour for our trip to the nearby island of Agistri. The boat trip was a little rocky to the island but we survived! We had the opportunity to see the surrounding islands and scenery from the boat. Upon arrival we walked through the narrow and quaint Greek streets to the local school. The students of the school were presented with boxes and given opportunities to explore them. We saw the children play some fun and interesting games on the yard and a teacher gave us a great presentation on nutrition.

Once the visit to the school was completed we were treated to a tour of the island. It was an ideal opportunity to see a traditional Greek village. We walked around the island, visiting some beautiful traditional churches and buildings. We were treated to a mouth-watering Greek barbeque on a secluded part of the island called Aponiso, by Xristos and his lovely family. We were so fortunate that the weather was bright and sunny for the return trip and the views from the boat were breathtakingly beautiful.

After a busy and insightful day, visiting teachers were allowed free time in the evening to relax.

Thursday April 19th  2018

On Thursday morning we embarked on a guided tour of Palaia Xora, an ancient byzantine settlement on the island of Aegina. This insightful tour was led by the very knowledgeable Mr. Koukoulis. We wandering through mountain paths and visited some beautiful Greek churches on the hillside. Mr. Koukoulis was an excellent guide and we really learned a lot from him.

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In the afternoon we visited the small satellite school of Vathi. We toured the school where we met the pupils and teachers. We were very warmly welcomed into the school by both students and staff of the school, who were very kind and friendly.

 

Then followed science lessons presenting the boxes, in which the pupils worked with their science boxes and the visiting teachers spoke and engaged with them. We were presented with beautiful gifts from the school, including a bag and a bookmark designed by the children in kindergarten, which we really appreciated.

The children demonstrated a variety of traditional Greek dances for us. And we were treated to  a tasty lunch before our departure.

That evening we ate our final meal in a traditional Greek restaurant called Dromaki. It was delicious!

On behalf of the Irish teachers Madeline Daly, CliodhnaO’ Sullivan and Helen Doyle, we would sincerely like to thank our Greek hosts and all the teachers from Kypseli, who gave so generously of their time and expertise. They made us feel so welcome in their school. We would especially like to thank Stavroula Koundrarou for organising our programme of activities and for being so gracious and kind.

Thank you also to Anton Verwey, the project co-ordinator, for being such an informative and pleasant colleague, and for making our trip such a memorable one.

Our trip to the Aegina proved to be a thoroughly enjoyable and interesting experience. We returned home to Ireland with new ideas and enthusiastic to try same in our classrooms in the coming months.,. It was a pleasure to spend time sharing ideas, and experiences with our Czech, Dutch, Turkish, Estonian and Spanish counterparts.

Madeline Daly, Cliodhna O’ Sullivan, Helen Doyle, teachers from St Cronan’s B.N.S Ireland