Residential Trip to Poland

On the 18th May, six of our pupils will fly out to Poland with Miss Talbot, Mr Cook and Miss Ricketts to spend a week with the children of our partner school in Tychy, and 6 children from our other partner school in Kortrijk, Belgium. We are the only primary school in Kent to be involved in an EU funded Erasmus project such as this and we can’t wait to share our photos and news with you. Follow our blog to find out more …..

Songs for our visit

Today we recorded some of the songs which our children will be singing when they are out in Poland.  We have been practising 3 songs in singing assemblies: ‘Freedom’, ‘We are the World’ and ‘No Wars will Stop us Singing.’  Click on the links below to hear our school sing these songs.

Freedom

We Are The World

No Wars Will Stop Us Singing

In the local newspaper

Today our forthcoming visit to Poland appeared in an article in the local newspaper.  They are hopefully going to do another feature on our visit when we return.

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DAY 1 – Our adventure begins!

Today started very early as we had to meet at school at 3.45 a.m.  Mr Holditch drove us in the minibus to Heathrow Airport where we took a British Airways flight to Krakow.  The flight took just over 2 hours and we landed a little ahead of schedule.  We had to get a shuttle bus to the terminal and collected our luggage off the carousel.  The airport was very busy.

We were picked up by another minibus and then driven to Tychy which took a further hour.  Tychy is in quite a rural part of Poland and the countryside was very green.  Finally we arrived at the hotel and checked into our rooms.  They are up on the seventh floor so we took the lift up to them.  The hotel is really nice and our rooms looked very comfortable.

We only had an hour at the hotel to unpack before taking a taxi to our Polish link school, which was about a 5 minute drive away.  The school looked very different to Godinton as it has 3 floors; it is also bigger than our school with almost 600 children from 6 years to 12 years of age.  We were greeted by the Headteacher and all the staff and then taken on a tour of the school.  We noticed a lot of differences between their school and ours:  the children sit in rows in the classrooms, they have blackboards with chalk rather than interactive whiteboards and the walls are many different colours.

We were made to feel very welcome by everyone and all the staff and pupils were very friendly.  School had actually finished for the day but some of the children stayed to meet us.

We treated to a very special buffet dinner and had  the chance to try some different Polish salads and some wonderful cakes made by the staff and parents of the school.

 The day ended with a super games evening where we got to meet some of the Polish children and the children from the Belgian school who had also joined us.  We started making some new friends.

We were all exhausted after a very long but brilliant first day so it didn’t take long for us to fall asleep. Check in with us tomorrow to find out what happens next! Below is the itinerary we were given by Miss Talbot for our first day…

DAY 2 – Have we really only been away two days?

It’s hard to believe that we have been away less than 24 hours; we have managed to fit in so much!  We are certainly maximising the experience!

This morning we had an early start at 7.00.  It was harder to wake up some of us (Josh and Toby) than others!  We had breakfast in the hotel’s restaurant.  It was a buffet breakfast so we could help ourselves to cereal, cakes, rolls, cheese, ham, fruit, juices, sausages or scrambled egg.  They even had Jaffa cakes!

We were then picked up by the mini bus and taken back to school.  We met everyone in the school’s staff room which is far tidier than the Godinton staff room!

First of all we had some activities to do with the Polish and Belgian children.  Some of us completed an art activity with the Polish art teacher.  We had to decorate an outline of a hand with things that are important to us.  We’ll show you what we are going to turn these pictures into later in the week.  The rest of us enjoyed a sewing activity.  We had to sew dolls and make costumes for them which showed their National dress.  We think the results are pretty impressive!

After a break we had a music lesson and rehearsed the songs which we are going to sing in our presentation on Friday: ‘Freedom’ and ‘We are the World.’  The singing sounded great with the children of all 3 nationalities singing together.  Some of the Polish children also played guitars.

After a busy morning we enjoyed a break at lunchtime in a local restaurant.  We had a traditional Polish soup to start, followed by chicken escalope, chips and a carrot and orange salad.  We spent time getting to know the Belgian children and made new friends.

Sightseeing was next on the agenda.  We saw the main town square, the oldest church in Tychy and the town museum.  Our view of the sights was cut short by the rain so we returned to the hotel for a short break before heading out for our evening activity.

Today was all about getting to know people and trying new things and we did both tonight when we were invited by some Polish families to have an evening meal in their home.  We have been extended such kind hospitality by everyone we have met so far on this trip and tonight was no exception.  Our host families were welcoming, kind and generous.  We ate great food, played games, practised our Polish and had a wonderful time.  Thank you to all our host families for giving us a wonderful evening.

We returned to the hotel exhausted but full of excited chat about our evening.  So a bit of chill time was needed before we returned to our rooms for a good night’s sleep. 

DAY 3 – Going Underground

It was another early start this morning as we had a busy day ahead of us.  We started by walking from the school, through the local park to the school’s art centre.  This venue is used for dance, drama and art activities, usually after school.  We used the art rooms for a clay pot workshop.

Here are some messages from us to our friends which we wrote this morning…

Katie – Having a great time and really looking forward to visiting the salt mine as we are going deep underground.  See you all soon!

Daniel – Having a wonderful time in Poland and missing a bunch of you guys.  Missing us?  Hope you are!  Looking forward to visiting the salt mine later today.

Viktoria – We’ve done lots of fun activitioes in Poland with the Polish and Belgian children.  I am really happy because I can speak Polish with the girls and am learning some Dutch.  Do you miss us?

Niranj – The trip to Poland has been lots of fun so far.  We have done a wide range of activities.  Belgium boys are awesome!

Josh – Poland has been a lot of fun and I am looking forward to the salt mine.  I have made friends with the Belgian boys.  I’ve been learning Dutch and Polish at the school.  Some of the Polish and Belgian children can speak English and we can understand them and they can understand us.

Toby – Having a great time in Poland, we’ve done lots of fun activities.  I’ve made friends with 4 of the Belgian boys and am looking forward to visting the salt mine.

It was then onto a highlight of our  Poland trip: the Wieliczka Salt Mine, located just outside Krakow.

The mine is 300m deep, but we only went down to a depth of 135m.  We had a guided tour and found out about how salt is extracted and the history of the mine.  350 steps took us down to the level which we explored.

Inside the mine there are many sculptures carved out of the salt and even an underground cathedral.  It was spectacular! What’s also amazing, is that if you lick the walls…guess what?  They taste of salt!  

After our tour had ended we had lunch in the underground restaurant with our Polish and Belgian friends.  There was just enough time for a spot of shopping before returning to the hotel.

salt%20meal

Here is what we thought about the salt mine:

Isabelle – Hi guys!  We have done some really cools things in Poland.  The salt mine was really fun.  We got a guided tour (luckily in English) and got to lick the walls which tasted of salt.  See you soon!

Victoria – Hi guys!  The salt mine was great, everyone was very friendly.  There were sculptures which were terrific.  Licking the walls was weird and fun! 

DAY 4 – Sileasy does it!

Today was our last full day here in Poland as our adventure ends tomorrow.  We travelled to the Museum Powstan Slaskich in Swietochlowice; this museum charts the history of Silesia which is the region of Poland where Tychy is located and in particular the Silesian uprisings which happened after the Second World War.  The museum was really interesting.  We had audio guides and there were lots of interactive exhibits and video clips to watch.

We then visited a local park and had lunch in a restaurant.  After we played in the play park and had a walk around the lake.

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We then returned to school to put together our performance for the final presentation tomorrow. It was also a chance to finish putting the last touches to the art work which had been done earlier in the week.  A tree of peace was made using the hand designs as leaves.  It looked fantastic.

For a special treat, as it was our final night we went out for pizza.  Ask us to tell you about the chilli pizza!!!

We finished the day with a special award ceremony.  When we get back to school, ask us what certificate we were presented with.

DAY 5 – Time to go home…

Today was our last day in Poland; it was time to say goodbye to all our new friends and to the school which had shown us such kind hospitality.  But before we did, we had a show to put on!

We walked from school to the Music School which was the other side of the park.  We were joined by the staff and older pupils of the school.  The performance started by playing the English, Belgian and Polish National anthems.  We all stood as the school flag bearers entered the hall carrying the school’s standard.

The first half of the performance consisted of poetry readings, drama performances and songs linked to the theme of ‘No More War’. The second half was more light hearted and we were treated to jokes, music and dancing.

Everyone wanted to say goodbye to us at the end of the performance.

There was just time for a few final photographs before we had to say goodbye and make our way to the airport for our flight back to Heathrow.

We had something to eat at the airport before we boarded the plane that would take us home.  We have all had an amazing time and agreed that Poland was a country that we would all like to return to in the future and explore further.  Everyone we met was so friendly and treated us so warmly and there was so much to see and do.  We returned to Godinton quite late and quite sleepy having had the best school trip ever!

Our adventure may be over but our school’s ‘No More War’ project will continue.  Some children from Godinton will have the opportunity to visit Belgium in November and then next May we will host our Polish and Belgium friends in the UK.

We will tell you more about our adventure when we return to school.  Perhaps you will want to join in with the next one?