Bigger and better!

This new school year saw the Kindergarten open its doors to more children than ever before. So much so that a new group has been established for the smaller children in the German Section. And leading this group is a new colleague, Frau Diana Büchel, who is very welcome and already an integrated member of the team. Her group is the Ladybird group.

The first week saw the children who were with us return for the morning sessions all week. The new children were invited to visit the Kindergarten in small groups with their parents.

This settling in phase has long been a contributing factor to the smooth and stress free start to the Kindergarten year for children, parents and staff alike.

On Monday 8th September all the children were in Kindergarten together for the first time. Time to get to know the building and the teachers and most importantly make friends. The uppermost aim in these first weeks is to ensure that the children feel happy and safe in this new environment.

All of the groups visited other groups and tried to remember the names of all the new people that were meet. Almost impossible! Slowly this will come and soon nobody will feel new anymore.

On Friday 12th September the first 'Singing Altogether' session took place. All seven groups gathered in the sports hall at 11.30. This is an opportunity for all the children to sing together but also share what they have been doing in the classroom. The first song was a welcome song followed by a German song, 'Der Hut steht dir gut!' which allowed the teachers to introduce themselves once more to all the children. The children were encouraged to join in with the words and actions of the English nursery rhyme 'Miss Polly had a dolly'. Finally the session ended with a rousing rendition of Ching Ching Ching!

A great end to the first week and a good way to see the weekend in.

Primary School

Up close

On the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall, the author Hanna Schott read from her children's book "Fritzi war dabei" to an audience of Primary School pupils from the German 3rd, 4th and 5th years on the 10th October 2014,.

It is one of the first children's books that deals with the theme of the Berlin Wall. Hanna Schott was a bookseller before she studied music, Roman languages ​​and theology and had worked for many years as a copy editor in a publishing house.

Today she travels and writes as a freelance author. She lives in Haan in the Rhineland. She wrote "Fritzi war dabei" on demand of in the "Leipzig People's Daily" newspaper and a conversation with the former pastor of St. Nicholas Church, Christian Führer. She had volunteered and was awarded the task from the New Leipzig Klett Children's Book publishing house to document the events of the peaceful revolution for children in a book. After thorough research and many interviews with eyewitnesses thoroughly realistic documentation emerged, describing the events in the GDR life in the period from the first day of school after the summer holidays until the Fall of the Wall on the night of November 9 itself. Names were, of course, changed and a fictitious family was invented, the daughter of which, Fritzi, describes experiences from her personal point of view.

In her book "Fritzi war dabei", Hanna Schott succeeds excellently to draw attention to the growing grievances in everyday life of the family in Leipzig, social ills that even adults can no longer imagine when they think of the Fall of the Wall and the peaceful Monday demonstrations. A lot of people simply disappeared already at the start of school on September 1 or did not return from their holiday in Hungary, to name but a few occurrences. Classmates were missing, teachers went into hiding and were never seen again, a surgery at the hospital had to be cancelled and rescheduled because the doctor did no longer appear in hospital. The baker's shop had suddenly been closed. For Fritzi it is one mystery after another. To the great displeasure of her father, her mother regularly went to the Monday demonstrations. He preferred not to out of fear of being arrested. On the night of the Fall of the Wall, however, he took the Trabant car of his colleagues and together with his two children they drove to the grandmother who lives in Munich. They could not wait to surprise her, what they then logically succeeded in doing to a high degree. The next day, Fritzi even got her eagerly desired Barbie doll. With her humorous, child-suitable explanations and stories, Hanna Schott mesmerized especially the year 4 and 5 pupils, enabling them to gain a deeper understanding of the events and their implications on everyday life in the GDR and the time before the Wall fell.

The young audience was thrilled. We would like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank the author for her visit to our school and for her lively and cheerful book presentation.

Secondary School

Discovery and Adventure

On Friday 17th October 2014, thirty six brave International award participants met at 17.00 at Munich Hauptbahnhof to catch a train to Blaichach near Immenstadt.

The first challenge to the students while on the train was to form six groups of six making sure that no one felt left out. Having successfully achieved this, head torches and brightly coloured clothing were put on for the 3 km night walk from the station to our accommodation in Ortwang. After a substantial and much needed pasta meal the participants rotated around five activities evaluating the merits of different hiking equipment and discussing the range of activities chosen for the service, skill and fitness sections of the award. Finally late in the evening chance to relax, watch a film and chat with friends!

Next day the fast pace continued with team building games in the courtyard straight after breakfast. Then for half the participants it was time to head down to the Baggersee for practical exercises in camp cooking and erecting a tent. All the students had to show individually that they could safely put together, light and heat water on a trangia stove. As the last of the morning mist rose from the Baggersee the sweet smell of hot chocolate wafted around in the gentle breeze. The tempting smell reached the tent building group who found, with practice, they could erect a tent in around 5 minutes, important if the weather is against you and the need for shelter is pressing. By 12.00 the whole group had successfully completed both exercises and it was time to swap over for the navigation unit after lunch.

During the afternoon session basic theory and practical exercises in map reading and compass work were completed. Students were asked by their supervisors to navigate safely and accurately around a course in the local village. Local villagers looked on enquiringly as different groups passed them going in various directions! Safety is of paramount importance during all International award expeditions. Students must know how to react to emergencies. Possible situations were explored and discussed by all groups before the evening meal. Afterwards there was then time to plan the following day's walk before finishing a little earlier than the previous evening. Sunday was another beautiful day. The first of the groups left Ortwang in the school minibus at 8.30. This took them to the start of their planned walk to Immenstadt. Everyone enjoyed the walk experiencing both the enclosed beauty of the gorge and the more expansive views from the mountainside above Immenstadt.

All teams arrived successfully at their destination, tired but happy after a wonderful weekend.

A huge thank you to the parents who due to the rail strike collected participants by car from the railway station.

Tracking Down the Mafia

Money, blackmailing, violence, drugs and arms trafficking. Quite a number of films, series and books depict the intrigues of the Italian Mafia. Now a family member of a Mafia victim has visited the ESM.

On the 16th October 2014, Maria Falcone, sister of the trial judge Giovanni Falcone who was assassinated by the Cosa Nostra in 1992, gave a lecture about her fight against the organized crime to Secondary School students of the Italian section as part of the legality project. She talked about the life, work and death of her brother. She also presented the documentary film "Per Falcone", which gives an insight into his professional life.

Giovanni Falcone became the target of the mafia in the 80s as he set up a special commission in the Ministry of Justice to combat organised crime. In the early 90s, he and his wife and his bodyguards were killed by a car bomb. Ever since, the lawyer is regarded as a symbolic figure of the anti-mafia movement in Sicily.

The Italian language section of the ESM had already been working for a longer period of on this project and therefore the students asked many inquisitive questions, which the guest speaker answered patiently.

For Maria Falcone education is the most important weapon in the fight against the globally operating Sicilian Mafia. With her foundation "Fondazione Giovanni e Francesca Falcone", established in the year her brother was killed, she aims to promote legality and justice, so that the young generation of Europe develops a reliable inner compass in matters of rule of law.