Expanding Our School Partnerships
As part of a larger initiative to expand the North American Language and Culture Program beyond the walls of the International Institute building, the Institute’s administrative team has worked to develop relationships with primary and secondary schools in Madrid. Last year, we offered activities in English to two local schools. Following those successful experiences, we have increased the number of schools with which the English Program is partnering. Some activities have a strongly academic focus, while others provide the opportunity for children to learn and practice English while engaged in play. This fall, teachers from the Institute English Program conducted a poetry workshop with high schoolers from Colegio Chamberí. Through this activity, students discovered poetic devices in six very different works by renowned American poets. Students also debated whether a haiku constitutes a poem, and each student wrote a haiku about everyday life. The teens worked in groups to discuss rap songs as poetry. Collaboratively, students then wrote and performed a cadavre exquis spoken-word piece. At our neighbor school, I.E.S. Fortuny, the International Institute will again offer a two-day English immersion camp for students in the 1º E.S.O. (7th grade) English Program. This camp will include improvisation, theater games, and maker activities as well as indoor and outdoor American games. A complement to work done in the classroom, the immersion camp is designed so that the students enjoy all the fun and activity of a “mini” camp in a 100% American English environment. The students have an opportunity to live the language through genuine experiences in English. The “Music and Movement in English” class, presented monthly during the past school year to preschoolers from Colegio Decroly and their families, will be repeated this year, but on a weekly basis. These sessions encourage the participants–parents and especially the children–to have a positive experience with music, physical activity, and English. The classes include singing both traditional songs in English as well as original compositions by teacher Kate Regan. The children learn gestures to accompany the songs and also begin the use of simple musical instruments. Additionally, we have begun a collaboration with Colegio Madrid, a new primary school that opened its doors this past September to students ranging in age from 2 to 12 years. Four Institute teachers spend Fridays at Colegio Madrid, providing the students with an English immersion experience through dynamic, interactive activities meant to help them to improve and practice their English as well as to teach them about American culture. With these partnerships, we have increased the Institute English Program’s reach and are giving many more school-age children in Madrid authentic experiences and contact with native speakers of North American English. We look forward to adding more activities at the current locations as well as increasing the number of participating schools.
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