Down on the Farm!

On 10th March 2014, the groups on the first floor of Kindergarten began a new topic about farm animals. The children have spent the last four weeks learning about farm animals, where they live, what sounds they make and what their offspring are called. We then thought about why we keep farm animals, what we get from them and how we should care for them.

This led to a 'Wool Week' when some of the children dyed wool, spun it and finally wove it into beautiful creations. We also had a 'Milk Week' when cheese tasting, milkshake making and butter making took place. The role play corners in each class room became 'Farm Shops' and the walls are now covered in pictures of the animals at which we have looked.

On Thursday 20th March 2014 under glorious blue skies, the three groups visited a farm in Vaterstetten. There the children were able to see all the animals they had been learning about. Of particular interest were the new born calves. There was one that was only two days old and a pair of twins who won the hearts of the children. Then the children had an opportunity to ride on a pony around the farmyard whilst the other children waited, playing on haystacks.

In the last week of our farm animal project the Eichhörnchen, Girasoles and Busy Bee Groups prepared food to be eaten at our Farm Food Breakfast. On Wednesday 30th March all the children gathered to enjoy bread baked in Kindergarten, butter churned by the children themselves and an egg and bacon breakfast.

It is safe to say that the children now realise how much the farm animals and farms in our communities provide for our daily life and how easy it is to make and how delicious it is to eat, fresh homemade food.

Primary School

Life-saving Formula

Children grow up in a mobile world in which using a car is an essential part of their daily lives. Almost every day they sit in one, however, most of them are not able to assess adequately the risks inherent in riding a car. In order to address this problem, the ADAC of Southern Bavaria is carrying out the unconventional traffic safety training "Hello Car!" in schools. This traffic safety training focuses on practical exercises and interactive as well as self-discovery teaching methods.

"Reaction time + braking distance = length of complete stop", this life-saving formula was conveyed to year 4 primary school pupils in three exciting morning sessions (7th, 8th and 10th April 2014), under the encouraging supervision of a friendly ADAC staff member. Each child placed a traffic cone at the roadside exactly at that point which they believed that the car would come to a complete halt. All children miscalculated and underestimated the distance. Only by trying out themselves, did the children eventually realise how long a car takes to come to a complete stop despite emergency brake. Finally, the girls and boys were given the opportunity to perform an emergency stop in the front passenger seat of a specially converted car. An impressive experience with the added insight that seat belts in cars are an important and perhaps even life-saving safety measure.

The practical and very illustrative traffic safety training "Hello Car" actively involves the 10 to 12 year-old girls and boys into the demonstration and exercises. By using real-life examples, the training greatly helps to raise the children's awareness about road dangers in a catchy manner. In this way, the traffic safety training makes a sustainable contribution to road safety and accident prevention.

Secondary School

Who Can I Be Now?

Dr David Buckley has written books about popular music artists such as David Bowie, Bryan Ferry, Elton John and most recently Kraftwerk. He writes regularly for the music magazine Mojo and has taught at Liverpool University, The Open University and the Ludwig Maximilian Universität (LMU).

He is from Liverpool and strongly identifies with the city and its resurgent football team. Both of his daughters enjoyed their schooling at the ESM.

The author and lecturer gave two talks to year 6 and 7 Secondary School students as part of the Identity Project. The first was to English Language 1 students and the second to the English language 2 students.

The talks were pitched at the level of a year 1 university social studies introduction to popular culture and were held on the 24th and 31st March 2014.

David gave some interesting and original views on the theme of identity. He started by looking at his home city and in particular the way that fans identify with Liverpool Football club. In the modern era, football has to some extent replaced religion as the glue that holds society together. As the great Bill Shankly said, in Liverpool football is not just a matter of life and death, it is more important than that.

The scholar went on to look at youth subcultures and we were asked to do a quiz where we had to identify amongst others Bobby Soxers, Mods, Hippies and Punks. The way that young people create an identity with a particular music or film genre was explored. As an expert on the significance of David Bowie's music and through film clips and pictures, he spoke about various identities created by Bowie including Ziggy Stardust, Aladdin Sane and the Thin White Duke. Particularly fascinating was the way that Bowie used the work of German expressionist and Japanese artists in his costumes and album artwork. The Bowie exhibition which opens on 10th May in Berlin is highly recommended.

David then went on to look at the work of the German group Kraftwerk who explore ideas such as Man and Machine and the way that machines influence our identity. The film of Kraftwerk in concert playing the song "Die Mensch-Maschine" was very thought-provoking even for those of us who are not fans of electronic music.

David has made available the PowerPoint of his talk and a range of other materials which are available for students and staff to view on Moodle under Popular Culture and Identity.

There were a variety of reactions to the talk but everyone found it stimulating and one student said that that they now knew what they would like to study at university.

Many thanks to David for giving up his valuable time to talk to us at the ESM.