Viborg Private Realskole

Lucy og Sarah are happily being educated by the staff in the International Department at the Viborg Private Realskole.

The girls study English, science, PE. art, music, maths, personal and social development and ICT. They are instructed in English but have been learning Danish too. Sarah, or ‘Sara’, as Danes pronounce her name (Lucy is ‘Loosie’) really likes to use her new language skills at home, whenever possible. I am ‘far’ and Kate is ‘mor’ but she has picked up quite a few phrases and certainly counts to 10.

My Danish is not coming along too well at all. Kate is better, she watches shows on tv and can see the Danish translation written on the screen. This means she knows words for food as her TV diet is pretty much dodgy cooking shows. Kate moaned in protest when I read this aloud before posting but failed to nominate the shows she really watched, so I posted it anyway.

The day starts at 8am and finishes at 1.30pm which is quite a deal earlier than the 9.15am start at home. Everyone is up at 6.15am or so for us to catch the bus at 7.30am. Kate really enjoys the early mornings.

The girls are both together in a very small class of 9 students. The school programs using the Cambridge international system. Some afternoons the girls go to SFO, which is like after school care. ‘Sara’ likes the disco room and ‘Loosie’ fancies playing ‘Mario’ and ‘Lets Dance 2′ on the Wii.

Kate teaches conversational English a couple of afternoons a week to students at the girls’ school. She has not been there long enough for her students to start speaking in an Australian accent yet but knows they do not like vegemite as the sandwiches she provided for afternoon tea traumatised a couple of the kids.

The teachers – Gemma, Kristian and Katarina – have been lovely and very welcoming to our family. Lucy and Sarah would happily stay at the school and have no homesickness at all. We all agree that school in Denmark is a much more liberal experience than in Australia. Lucy has the two and half years of infants classes already and feels that school in Denmark is much ‘less strict’.

Sarah, with no experience of primary school at home, may get a little bit of a shock in kindergarten next year back in Kiama.


This week…

has been another interesting, varied one in Denmark. The only downsides, Kate has been ill and the constant, drizzling rain. This made Friday’s sunshine especially glorious and mowing the lawn a strange pleasure.

Danes voted this week. The elections resulting in a change of national leadership. Helle Thorning-Schmidt is the first female prime minister in Danish history and it will be interesting to see how she manages to hold her diverse coalition together in the coming 4 years. The students at the school have been impressively and actively engaged in the political process and we have much to learn from the Danish model of civic engagement.

Professionally, it has been interesting to teach and learn with a range of classes about ‘Australia, technology, digital citizenship and the #LondonRiots’. The students have produced some excellent responses to our investigations into why the ‘London Riots’ occurred. The video mashups, songs and poetry were particularly impressive, as was the varied, different kinds of formats for their presentations.

Another professional highlight for me was a trip to Skive to visit Pia’s work. Jens Kolstrup, the director of the Social- og Sundhedsskolen, is an impressive educationalist with great ideas about how people learn and shared his enthusiasms generously. I particularly like his positive visions for the development of future learning spaces. Pia’s colleagues obviously miss her ‘smiling face’ greatly and look forward to her return.

The local newspaper ran an article in their ‘People’ section on yours truly and our Danish exchange. Part of the article is here and you could use Google Translate to read it, if you have a few spare minutes.

We always enjoy Lars, Sol, Julie and Anders’ company so it was a great way to end the working week with dinner at their place and a stroll (without rain) to look at the ponies and horses.

cc licensed ( BY NC SD ) flickr photo shared by Darcy Moore

cc licensed ( BY NC SD ) flickr photo shared by Darcy Moore 

Sarah has been taking some good photos and was particularly pleased with her vision with this one. It was all her idea, the flame and the framing. I think it is pretty cool too.

cc licensed ( BY NC SD ) flickr photo shared by Sarah Rose 2006

It seems strange and a little sad that in two weeks from today we will be back in London and on our homeward leg of this ‘European Trip’. We are thinking about seeing Tim, Bailey, Sonny and Eden, visiting Oxford and then 10 days in Hong Kong, so there’s plenty too look forward too in the coming month.

Before we go, I really need to blog about Lucy and Sarah’s ‘skole’. Also, I have much to say about Viborg Katedralskole.

Next week perhaps!