We are now in the second year of our Erasmus+ Project. The project is called ‘Magic and Myths Unite Europe’ and includes eight partner countries including: Finland, Turkey, Spain, Cyprus, Romania, Greece, Ireland and Italy. The staff, children and parents of all schools have been involved in many aspects of this project since September 2015, including learning about myths and legends from our partner countries, visiting sites of interest in the locality, exhibitions, video making, project work, pen pals and much more.
As part of this exciting project members of staff have been given the opportunity to visit partner schools to observe and understand the workings of schools in other countries and see how they are implementing the project. Our latest visit took place in Sicily.
On the 30th of November, we were welcomed to Catania in Sicily. "Elio Vittorini" is a comprehensive school for students aged between three and thirteen. The school has seven school buildings in two neighbouring villages: S.Pietro Clarenza and Camporotondo Etneo. Every village has its own kindergarten, primary and middle school. The visitors were greeted in the school by staff, the principal and the two mayors from the neighbouring villages. They were treated to a display of traditional singing and dancing by the children and staff dressed in traditional costume. A tour of some of the school buildings gave the visitors a chance to observe teaching, organisation and school life in Catania. A meeting took place where all partner countries displayed board games made by the children in their own countries based on myths and legends, time was spent evaluating and playing these with the children from the school in Catania. Staff offered visitors a chance to sample some delicious homemade local treats, such as arancini, pistachio lasagne and cactus fruit. In the afternoon visitors were treated to a performance from the school orchestra. El Vittorini gives musical training, so the pupils of middle school can choose to play a musical instrument (piano, flute, guitar or clarinet) and study it in the afternoon at school. They have a successful orchestra, made up of its students. They compete in competitions and have won many awards in this area.
The hosts organised a guided visit to Mount Etna and the beautiful village of Taormina where everyone was treated to wonderful histories and stories both mythical and magical based on the surrounding areas. A visit to the town square of Catania where visitors learned of the town’s history; around 900, when Catania was part of the emirate of Sicily, it was known in Arabic as Madinat al-fīl which means "The City of the Elephant". The Elephant sculpture made from lava stands over the fountain in Piazza Duomo, it appears to be a talisman that was reputedly powerful enough to protect the city from enemies and to keep away misfortune, plagues, or natural calamities.
It was a wonderful experience and we are thoroughly enjoying our Erasmus+ project. We are already looking forward to working on our next activity where each country focuses on music from a partner country. Have a look at some great memories from our trip to Sicily below.