Our school is one of the 40 Freinet Schools in Flanders.
The school has a kindergarten and primary classes.
The aims of the school are to:
– have a constant attention for natural learning, based on the experiences and interests of the child
– work together, based on cooperative and democratic consultation instead of one-sided authority. Children are one of the three stakeholder groups in our school. As such, we want to stimulate the independency of children.
– 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 relations
The groups of children are structured in a way that there are always 2 age groups together. This stimulates the older children to learn from the younger ones and the other way around.
There is a lot a thematical approach – so called projects – especially in the kindergarten. There, kids can explore different themes that are fascinating them. In primary school, these projects are larger and more elaborate in time and space. The learning area of ‘world orientation’ is treated in these projects.
The volunteer will be part of the teachers team. 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. A lot of educational and practical guidance of the teachers is needed. Therefore it is an opportunity to have a volunteer next to the teachers who can help in these extra activities.
The tasks of the volunteer will evolve from practical help in the classroom to setting up a specific project. The velocity of this evolution will depend on the growing language and practical skills of the volunteer.
The volunteer will:
– Assist in mainly one classroom. This can be individual guidance of children who can not follow the lessons as good as the others. It can 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. It can also be to help with the classes when they are drawing, making something creative, or doing workshops, such as drama and theatre or teaching them new songs.
– Take part in outdoor activities with the children: swimming, excursions, thematical workshops,… For example, going to the forest in autumn to learn about this season, going to a museum where they have interactive workshops, going to a theatre or a movie and later in class having a debriefing about it, going to the seaside and learn about the typical vegetation there, going for a week somewhere together…
– Organise his/her own activities and workshops, depending on the interests of the volunteer. For example, setting up a project about her home country, teaching the children about the differences and similarities between cultures. A lot of time of the volunteer’s work will go to this aspect.