Reflecting on landmarks: discovering Berlin
As part of a joint project on Berlin's landmarks, primary school children from London and Berlin met in the German capital - eager to see history, culture and architecture come to life.
Im Rahmen eines gemeinsamen Projekts über die Sehenswürdigkeiten Berlins, trafen sich Grundschüler aus London und Berlin in der deutschen Hauptstadt – gespannt, die Geschichte, Kultur und Architektur mit eigenen Augen zu erleben.
"The aim of our visit to Berlin was to enable our children to experience German culture through our 'landmarks' project, as well as meeting their peers in a German school, discovering both similarities and differences. We planned to do this through artwork, painting the city, taking photographs alongside our German friends and being creative back in their school. Our hosts and partners were fantastic; welcoming, generous and greatly enthusiastic about our collaboration. The children were all so excited, shy, giggly, uncertain and keen to communicate all at the same time! I think perhaps the teachers were, too! I believe that our visit was very successful on many levels; our aims were not only met but exceeded.
Guided and informed by our partners, we all found the history and architecture of Berlin totally absorbing. It was fun, it was busy, we spoke more German and they spoke more English! It was wonderful to share school and Berlin traditions. We had a busy schedule which included the landmarks, language learning, typical food, painting and photography. We learned so much! The children were fascinated by everything we saw, from the U-Bahn to the many layers of track at Hauptbahnhof, and the artwork which they produced together was brilliant. They sketched the skyline of Berlin using the landmarks we had visited, colour-washing them in the colours of the German flag.
Overall the group said that staying and making friends abroad, without family with them, was an achievement; particularly making friends who spoke a different language. Some said it made them feel more confident about doing things for themselves. The group all agreed that they would like to keep in touch with their German friends; one girl said, "We should visit them every year!" Undoubtedly, the visit has increased our desire to do more together and to continue a link with Berlin. I know I want to go back, with children, and just as a teacher for pedagogical reasons, and we are planning a reciprocal visit by Karlsgarten to London."
"What a complete whirlwind: lots of walking, travelling by train (which the children loved), eating Pretzels/Berliners, starting to understand one another better, finding common interests and even beginning to plan for the future. As a teacher and group leader, I thoroughly enjoyed the visit; the benefits to the children and to the schools are invaluable." (UK teacher)