A Bewitched Visit

A popular belief in Italy is Befana, the name of a witch who flies on her broomstick on the night of the 5th January until early morning on the 6th January.

She flies from one house to the next to deliver presents, punish or haunt. In the course of time, the positive aspects of her personae have prevailed. As a consequence, she is now deemed predominantly as a good fairy.

It is custom for the children in Italy to hang their stockings by the fireplace, so that the witch can fill with them with presents.

At night she comes down the chimney into the houses and fills the stockings with sweets and presents for the well behaved children.

But beware! Naughty children only receive stockings filled with coal. Of course, this is not real coal, but "carbone dolce", a black coloured and sticky sweet that resembles coal.

On the 15th January 2015, great excitement prevailed in the ESM Kindergarten as the Italian witch Befana paid the children a visit. As always, the good witch was slightly confused and disoriented. At first, she ended up in the sports' hall of the Primary School, where she caused great astonishment among our dear colleagues from the security service. They wondered what type of school visitor this quirky character, wearing ragged clothes and a headscarf and carrying a broom, would be. However, as this old witch is very well-versed with magic formulae, she eventually managed to arrive in front of the right door; the one leading to the Kindergarten.

Cheerfully, she introduced herself to the children, who had been eagerly waiting for her arrival. The Italian "bambini" sang songs and recited poems in their mother tongue. The legend of the Befana was also performed as a play. They say that the three Magi had passed the house of the Befana during their search for baby Jesus. They asked the Befana to accompany them, but the witch refused as she was busy. A short time later, she regretted her decision and searched for the Christ child by herself, but as the bright star had extinguished, she could not find her way. In the hope that one of the children is baby Jesus, the Befana flew with her broom from house to house and gave children presents.

The Kindergarten children had all been well-behaved and quite rightly received the well-liked sugar "carbone", whereupon everyone danced to the song "La bella bimba". But then the time had come to bid farewell because the Befana had to leave to make children in Russia happy. However, she promised to return next year at the same time. She mounted her magic broom and said goodbye Italian style: "Arrivederci bambini!"

Primary School

From A Picture To A Book

How can you encourage children to develop their reading skills and their knowledge of art? In which way can a story be invented on the basis of art work and how can an album be made from it? These and many other questions were answered by the French children's author Véronique Massenot during her visit in the Primary School on the 12th April 2016.

The writer and illustrator, born in 1970 in Burgundy, grew up in an environment of books and paint brushes, and has been writing since the age of 10. In the ESM Primary School's library she was met by both years 3 and the 4th year of the French language section. She has written over 30 books, novels, albums, travel diaries and specialises in "mail art".

Based on the examples of her own books, she explained how a book is created from the initial idea to graphic design to the actual writing work to the editing to the illustration to the final publishing. She also described how many other people help to make it happen and how the book is printed, folded, cut and then tied.

Anne Hofmann's pupils delighted the author with own haikus (Japanese traditional poems) and their paintings. In addition, the pupils of Sandra Poirier read to their own short stories that had come up with while listening to the song "The Sea" by Debussy.

During the second event, attended by 4th year pupils, a lively exchange between the writer and the students ensued very quickly. Both parties presented their input in an equal manner. At first, the pupils interviewed the writer. Then they talked about her book "The Great Wave", which, in a compassionate manner, tells a whole new story based on the world famous woodblock print "The Great Wave off Kanagawa" by the Japanese artist Katsushika Hokusai. This story about trust, love and growing up, which is wonderfully suited to convey Japanese art and culture to children, was made into a music performance by Richard Pepy's pupils. The author was very delighted to see her own work so diligently and enthusiastically transformed by the children. In addition, students have art proposed with their own history ideas.

It was a very fulfilling morning both for the children and Véronique Massenot. A heartfelt thank you goes to the librarian Carole Langlois of the French primary school and Catherine Grenier, who helped to organise this extraordinary encounter with the author of the librarian. Of course, we thank Véronique Massenot very much for her visit at our school and hope that it will not be the last time.

Secondary School

Sound Expedition To Italy

The European Schools of Varese, Luxembourg and Munich are hoping to start a new tradition!

The first ever Euro-Music festival was held in Varese, Italy, from 22 to 22 April 2016. Orchestras, choirs and big bands from the three schools participated in combined rehearsals and joined forces to perform a gala concert, showcasing the musical talent of over 200 young musicians performing everything from classical music to jazz, pop and rock.

The event started two weeks earlier when music students from Varese visited Munich from the 6 to 8 of April. The groups rehearsed together and were then rewarded for their hard work with a party that took place in the Secondary School assembly hall. The atmosphere was fantastic, and the bonding began, so that when the ESM pupils arrived in Varese for the festival, they quickly found their new friends.

Two busloads of ESM musicians from s1-s7 travelled to Varese to participate in the event. In addition to the rehearsals and concerts at the school, the group hiked up the holy mountain of Sacro Monte, toured the Varese centre, ate delicious Italian food and visited a Swiss chocolate factory. Everyone soaked up the Italian sunshine and enjoyed being together with others who share the same love for music.

All agreed that is time for Euro-Music to become a traditional event in the European Schools. Eurosport has taken place for many years. However, in Eurosport, schools come together to compete against each other and there are always losers. With Euro-Music, everyone cooperates together and unites to produce beautiful music. The language is universal, there is no competition, and the best part is that EVERYONE is a winner!