08:00 - 18:30
Monday to Friday
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08:00 - 18:30 Monday to Friday
Particularly in Kindergarten, but also at the elementary school level, the teaching of the curricula is not done in academic isolation. Instead we tie culture and the annual cycle of the four seasons into the learning process. Particularly so for the subjects German and natural sciences, but also for art, music and the other language subjects. Derived from western and particularly German culture are the themes of Halloween (October), the Lantern festival on St. Martin’s Day (November), St. Nicolaus a.k.a. “Santa Claus” (December), the Advent and Christmas season (December), Epiphany (January), Carnival (winter) and Easter (spring).
At the kindergarten level we allow at least a full week each for the students to enjoy those special cultural traditions. Called “project weeks”, we familiarize the students with the above listed themes by creating related art, reading the respective underlying stories, engaging in supporting theatre role play, and by singing the appropriate songs as a lead-in into the actual celebrations. In elementary school the focus is shifting towards academic reading and writing related to those same cultural themes. For some of the actual celebratory events the parents are also invited, usually during the early evening hours, and often in conjunction with a short follow-on reception. The origin of German cultural traditions often can be traced back to the Christian religion. However, our culturally themed project weeks and event celebrations are presented in a strictly secular way. Religion and the teaching of religion is exclusively the preserve of the parents.
Another major source of inspiration to enrich our curricula are the four seasons. The students learn about the life cycle and the seasonally adjusted behavior of plants and animals. Each of those project weeks is usually culminating with an excursion.
In October we typically visit the Mezaparks area to appreciate the autumn colors. In winter we cut our own Christmas tree and might enjoy some outdoor sledding. In spring we learn about the awakening of nature by observing our own plants grow, typically capped by a visit to the Botanical Garden. A popular trip in early summer is an excursion to the beach. Additional project weeks in kindergarten might turn around animals (with a concluding visit to the Zoo), the fairy tales of the Grimm brothers (capped by watching a show in Riga’s puppet theatre) or have such characters as Pippi Longstocking and Vicky the Viking at their center. Another popular project week is dedicated to the police and firefighters (with animated visits to the respective museums). Elementary school students also visit the Goethe institute and its library every so often to stimulate their passion for reading.