Never been to Gent before and know nothing about Belgian kindergarten education at all, so it will be interesting to learn. We are absolutely knackered after a day of train travel, plus the usual pressure of e-mails coming in from all quarters at school, raising issues that I could do with not thinking about for a while. At least OFSTED did not ring, which was a secret fear of some whilst we were away in Belgium.
The train ride (MK to Euston, St Pancras to Brussels, Brussels to Gent) went smoothly, and a lot better than air travel. We have come here to participate in our first Project Visit for the Comenius program that we are committed to leading for the next two years, and this will be the first good test of how we can ensure that children are getting from this program all the things we hope they will. It will also be the first time that many of the teachers (Michelle and Annabell from Christ the Sower among them) will have to experience another education system and meet and talk with teachers from a completely different educational culture. I am looking forward to those discussions most of all, and we got started on some of them this evening at a pleasant Schouwburgstraat restaurant called Café des Arts.
For me, seeing the people who had worked over the year to get this project to a place where it was strong enough to be funded was a special joy. They have all brought colleagues to this first meeting, a little “in faith” that something would gel amongst us, and that the professional learning would be deep and effective.
Tomorrow is an early start – 9 a.m. to be at the school, and unusually for these sort of events, we are being asked to make our way across the city by public transport. It will be hit and miss whether we actually get there. One of our colleagues managed to arrive at the Ibis hotel in Gent by way of the Ibis hotel in Bruges, and us getting to the hotel at all from the station was a little uncertain at times.
It is going to be good, if we all take their responsibilities seriously on behalf of our children. Each group has brought a box full of information about their work, with story books and all sorts of good things that the children have made or carried out. Some of them are not exactly portable by plane, so we hear tonight. We got a standard 40 x 20 x 30 cm box from IKEA and presumed it would be on the big side. Not so, apparently. We will find out more tomorrow…. It is going to be fascinating, for sure.