Greetings. This trips always end with quick speed and then I find myself thrown right back into the local world and it's wonderful demands. It's a nice feeling to be needed
Regardless, before too much time goes by. The conclusion of another wonderful adventure.
Benjamin Burg, Author of Gaja Learning’s Beyond the Classroom, organized with Fundacja Primus and Kimberton Waldorf School (KWS) the Trip to Kimberton 2014. The KWS 7th Grade class and their families from May 2 to May 12, 2014 hosted eighteen 1st year Gymnasium students and two teachers from Fundacja Primus.
The aim was to broaden students’ historical cultural and ecological awareness. Chester County in southeastern Pennsylvania enjoys a rich heritage of early US history; Kimberton Waldorf School is associated and located on an organic dairy farm along with an extensive vegetable garden. The combination of the two provided a balance of activities to keep students engaged while helping the program to reach it’s academic goals.
Students stayed with host families from KWS including one family with a child in the 6th and a child in the 8th grade. It is always amazing how fast relationships are established. Jumping students eagerly waiting to greet their new guests just before midnight was an early indication of the anticipation of new friendships. The American families welcomed the Polish students into their families, through out the trip comments were abundant on how much fun the students are having, and about their chance to learn about both countries as well as a sense students were developing new sense personal pride.
Polish students had a chance to see Waldorf educational practices. Students participated in daily morning sing, learning to juggle, eurythmy, music, gardening and softball practice. One of the highlights from KWS was the Spring Concert were KWS students sang in choir and performed in full orchestra.
Polish students visited the University of Pennsylvania and Museum, and the US Constitution Center in Philadelphia. Both classes joined together for a 10km bike ride through historic Valley Forge Park lead by historic guide telling endless stories about life as a soldier in the Continental army.
We learned that students, families and teachers value the opportunity to create new friendships from distant lands. A nice summary is in a letter written by one of the Polish Students.
"The trip to America has taught me many things about American families and their lifestyles. It has also taught me about Waldorf Schools because the school that we went to was one. Another thing that I learned about was the Amish Community.
"Families in America spend a lot of time together, eat breakfast together and help each other out more. I feel as if the Dad and children help their mothers more, perhaps because everything is far away and there is no public transportation. Parents have to drive their kids everywhere. However you can get a drivers license when you are 16 (unlike 18 in Poland).
"People in the USA are a lot nicer, they always say Hello, How are you, Can I help with anything, Have a nice day, etc. The food portions here are huge and if I get something, I split with a friend, so I am not surprised America has a problem with obesity. The food and candy here is a lot better, but also a lot unhealthier so that may be another cause of the problem.
"Waldorf schools are very different than any of the schools that I’ve ever been to. The students have a lot more art lessons. They also have a weird lesson called “Eurythmy.” During that lesson you can learn to move to certain sounds. The people at the school are a lot friendlier and trust each other more. The Amish community is different than anything else I know. They have a lot of rules.
The experience taught me a lot and I made many new friends." - Maggie