We’d like to share with you the experience we’ve had at the Tudela Veguin School, a little school for the kids from the surrounding area. We planned two workshop sessions with ALL the students: 11 children form pre-school, 12 from the first and second class of primary school and 15 more from third to sixth class of primary school. From the very first moment we felt the headmaster’s enthusiasm, José Manuel: he was thrilled about the workshops, you can say he loves his job.
With such an assorted group of kids we were, let’s put it in good words, a little bit worried. Not to mention the fact of teaching 3 year old kids, who hardly hold their pencils properly!
The workshop consisted of two sessions: first day we were building 10 nest boxes, kids divided in two groups: pre-school and first and second classes together and the rest of students in another group. Second day we’d hang three boxes, one per group and chosen by voting. After that, we would go for a birdwatching walk.
From the moment we saw the first kids we started cold sweatting. How would we handle such a disparate group? How could we give our speech and attract their attention with it? And most important, where is the toilet?!?
The school lent us the music classroom and we thought “we’ll need lots of music to calm these beasts”. Along with the kids their teachers came in and, suddenly, the classroom was full of people. We are deeply grateful to the teaching staff, it wouldn’t have been the same without them and their generous contribution.
Strangely enough, this first stage started very smoothly. We like to alternate video watching with box assemblying in order to make it easy for the kids and trying not to bore them.
As we were progressing with the boxes we were reassuring, we didn’t babble so much and we were able to speak more fluently. Every time we needed some help, there were the teachers, who know deeply these kids. We saw the kids very focused, really on-task! Some of them even had a smile on their faces!
Second group was more quiet, so we didn’t take more pills to soothe the stress. They built their boxes really focused and asking lots of questions about the videos they were watching.
Finally, they voted for the nest box they liked the most, which would be hanged on the next session.
The second session consisted of two activities: hanging the nest boxes and an introductory walk to birdwatching. This time they split in three groups: pre-school, first and second classes and third to sixth classes.
First shift was for the elders, who were very keen on learning how to use binoculars and enjoyed a lot watching thourgh the telescope. We went back to the school with our mission accomplished: enjoyment and learning all-in-one.
Second shift was easy as well, kids from first and second class at primary school are curious about almost everything. We hanged their nest box in a different tree and fights for being the first to use the telescope began. Luckly for us the teachers kept order and everybody enjoyed birdwatching by using binoculars and the telescope.
And time came for the little ones. If they can barely hold a pencil, how would they handle with binoculars? How would we explain them how tu use them? How would we explain them how to use a field notebook? Stress was back and this time we didn’t have Trankimazin pills.
But they wanderfully learnt to use the field notebook and drew trees and big birds on them, which coloured later, back into the classroom. They watched birds with their binculars as well and even with the telescope, we were amazed. We dare to say they enjoyed a lot!
Once to this point, we had to say goodbye and thank all the teaching staff and José Manuel, the headmaster, for their lovely help. Al last, we could throw away the pills: our legs didn’t tremble as the first day, we got rid of the fear!
It has been a great experience for everyone: kids, teachers and, above all, for us.