At Woodside Academy, we are very proud of our international work, for which we received the British Council International School Award in 2019 (The Top Reaccreditation level).
At Woodside Academy we understand the importance of children learning about places and people from all around the world in order to gain an understanding of the rich and varied world we live in. We want our children to understand that difference is something to be celebrated and that learning about other people and the countries they live in is an exciting thing to do. It is vital that we prepare our children to live in a diverse and multi-cultural community.
We are also very pleased to have our own, in-house, Mandarin and Spanish Language Assistants, who work with all classes from Nursery to Year 6, building both language skills and knowledge of Mandarin and Spanish culture and society.
Our journey so far …
As part of our international journey the children have been taking part in a range of activities to embed global dimensions into the curriculum, widening the way we learn. The school has previously held international school awards and we have now been working on engaging pupils in more international work since we started our journey. We have our International week and celebrate Chinese New Year every year. Woodside Academy is also involved in various international projects/events and has several partner schools around the world.
Our partner schools
News from our friends in Tesscourt International School in Ghana
'Dear Ms Ryder,
Thank you very much for the donation of PE kits to the children in our school. Bless your kind heart'.
Our friends from our partner school in Ghana were donated Woodside PE kits. Our motto is Reduce Reuse Recycle.
Stories from Woodside Academy Part II
“Stories from Woodside Academy Part II” is an adventurous and funny set of books which will inspire and make you laugh. Written by children of Woodside Academy (hence the name) and children from our partner schools in Poland, Romania and Spain, as a part of an International project.
We started the project in 2019, before the Coronavirus pandemic started, and managed to finish it in 2022. The stories have been translated into Polish, Romanian and Spanish by the children from our partner schools.
Thank you to all the children and the teachers involved: Agnieszka Potysz from Poland, Daniela Aurora Ghită from Romania and Lorena Lobato Díaz from Spain.
The founder of the project
Click to see our book at Amazon
My village and waste/Comparison between Poland and UK
Year 3 summer topic is called "Orsett village and waste". This year we asked our partner school from Poland to help us with this topic. We sent lots of questions to our Polish friends asking about their village called Zbroslawice.
What is the name of your village?
Where is it in Poland?
Do you have a special dance?
What shops and other buildings do you have in your village?
Do you have any churches/temples what religion are they?
Do you have more than one school in your village?
How many people live in the village?
How long has the village been there?
Do you have any fields to play on?
What is the main building in your village?
When was the first house built in the village?
Do you have any famous street names?
Do you have any special festivals?
How many houses in your village?
Do you have any deserts nearby?
Do you have a library near you?
We also asked some Eco questions:
Do you grow your own food?
How eco-friendly is your school?
Do you have solar panels?
How do you travel to school?
How many bins do you have?
Do you have vegetable patches?
Do you have a water butt and water your vegetable patch from this?
What do you do with all the food waste?
Do you have a salad bar?
Do you recycle?
What things do you reuse?
Our Polish friends then prepared a PowerPoint presentation about their village with all the answers to our questions.
After visiting Orsett village we sent all the information we gathered to Poland so our friends could compare their village with our one.
We learned so much!
There are so many similarities but also lots of differences between our villages.
Gamelan and Carmen
Year 4 have been working on an extended creative project over the last term involving the Opera ‘Carmen’, Javanese puppetry and Indonesian Gamelan music. The children learnt the story of Carmen, the songs and some musical warmups. They then learnt the skill of drawing in profile to create puppets with moving parts. The children learnt about the Indonesian gamelan instruments and how to play each instrument. The mission to combine the three arts began, creating a Carmen opera using the Javanese puppets accompanied by the Gamelan instruments. Parents were invited into school to watch the children’s performance of ‘Carmelan’ and were also served with traditional Indonesian foods. All of this cultural learning has been fed into the curriculum with children learning about the Spanish and Indonesian cultures, script writing in literacy, geographical features of each location, musical understanding in terms of pitch, dynamics, beat, rhythm, artist creativity and how to make puppets. This has been a thoroughly enjoyable, practical, hands on, cross curricular, cultural experience for parents, children and staff alike.
Easter Cards exchange
This year children in KS1 exchanged Easter Cards with our partner school in Poland (Szkola Podstawowa w Zbroslawicach). We learnt about how children in Poland celebrate Easter and learned polish Easter vocabulary.
Chinese New Year
We are very pleased to have our own, in-house, Mandarin Language Assistant, who works with all classes from Nursery to Year 6, building both language skills and knowledge of Mandarin culture and society. As the whole school celebrates Chinese New Year every year, we always ask the children to recall what they already know about the celebrations. We sing songs that the children have been learning in Mandarin – these include songs learnt in previous years plus new songs taught more recently. Throughout two weeks, our CLA spends time with each class completing a class activity including creating lanterns, writing Happy New Year in Mandarin characters, Chinese dragon dances, painting masks, cooking traditional food etc. She also looks at some popular Chinese stories and myths.
Wesołych Świąt i Szczęśliwego Nowego Roku!
The children from Poland received Christmas Cards from Woodside
Then we had a video call and learnt lots of Polish Christmas vocabulary.
Christmas Card exchange with our partner school in Spain (San Francisco de Asís (Rebaño de María)
Children from Woodside Academy Pen Pal club exchanged Christmas Cards with our partner school in Spain. We had a video call with our Spanish friends and exchanged information about how children in Spain and UK celebrate Christmas. We also learnt some Christmas Spanish vocabulary.
Our partner school in India sent us the PPT on the history of cricket created by their students. The aim of it was to share the information and impact of evaluation of cricket. Children from year 5 at Woodside learnt about the history of cricket, about measurements of cricket ball, bat and field, as it was given in the PPT presentation. Then we set up a video call and had a healthy and joyful talk between students and teachers regarding how much a game of cricket means to us, do we want to opt it as their career, how much this game is popular in both countries and how it has taken a place in our society economic development and cultural development. We also shared some famous incidents in game by the cricketers of each other’s country which shows a sportsmanship. At the end our friends from India asked us 10 questions about cricket and we discussed the importance of other games, especially cricket, in building global citizen and maintain good health and well-being.
Click the link if you would like to watch a short video from the session:
Feedback from our Indian friends
Thank you and your students for a very informative and learning session.
We also thank Ms. Wilkinson and the sports teacher Mr. Doye who cooperated and prepared students very well.
We would like to continue such interaction and sharing of ideas with your teachers and students in future.
Kindly share your and your students and staff feedback about the session.
MSS Public School
China has been a topic in Year 2 since we started to learn Mandarin as one of our Modern Foreign Languages.
The China topic lasts a whole term and children in year 2 locate China on a world map, compare the life to people in China to here in the UK, compare school life of Chinese children to here in the UK, learn different types of farming in China, children design and create a Chinese lantern, look at pandas and sketch own in Art, place key Chinese historical events on a timeline (History), look at the significance of the Terracotta Army, design and make own terracotta warriors, look at the different emperors of China of the past (dynasties, look at significant Chinese landmarks (Great Wall of China, etc), look at the importance of tea in China and the silk road, design and make own moving Chinese dragons and flags.
The Nutcracker/Russia project
One of Year 3 topics is the Nutcracker.
In History children learnt a history of ‘The Nutcracker’ and its link to ballet and opera. They have also learnt about the history of ballet and the Royal Opera House and the life of a Russian painter Wassily Kandinsky.
In Geography the children used an atlas to locate and research Russia and make links to other countries from around the world. They also created the different biomes of Russia.
In ART the children looked at the work of the famous Artist ‘Kandinsky’ and his links to Russia and recreated many pieces of artwork, linked to ‘The Nutcracker’, such as a toy soldier and ballerinas.
As part of their Nutcracker topic the children learnt ballet moves using core muscles groups, improving strength, flexibility and coordination.
In Literacy the children looked at descriptive writing describing the Nutcrackers appearance and personality and also the land of sweets.
As a part of the Nutcracker topic, we also had a video call with our partner school in Russia (St. Elizabeth school in Moscow). We had lots of questions to ask to our Russian friends and learnt lots of interesting facts from them! We also learnt some Russian vocabulary.
Video call with children from our partner school in Russia
And some samples of their work:
Multilingual Book/Stories from Woodside Academy part 2
We started the second part of Stories from Woodside Academy before lockdown. Our partner school from Spain wrote their chapters. We arranged a Skype video session with them to share our stories. We learned some Spanish and had lots of fun!
Our partner school from Romania wrote their part last month and our friends from Poland are writing the end of the stories. We are all very excited and plan to publish the second part of the book on Amazon soon!
Easter Card Exchange with Ghana
Children in KS1 exchanged Easter Cards with our partner school in Ghana (Tesscourt International School). We learned about how children in Ghana celebrate Easter and learned Ghanaian vocabulary.
Road to Tokyo
Woodside Academy took part in the Road to Tokyo challenge. The idea was to reach Tokyo before the Olympic games starts on Friday 23rd July. Children and parents from Woodside were walking, running, cycling and scooting every day and recorded their results. We wanted to be the first school in Thurrock to reach Tokyo and we won!!! (We always win 😉). As the part of the project we were exploiting the Road to Tokyo and learning some facts about the countries we were virtually passing through
Chinese New Year
We celebrate Chinese New Year every year at Woodside. 2021 was a bit different as we were doing online learning but we still had lots of fun and had a week filed with cross- curricular activities all about Chinese New Year.
Woodside Academy joined Sing2G7 project. It is an apolitical international engagement programme with a vision to enable children to raise their voices in song and be heard by world leaders.
At Woodside all children learn the G7 song. The song contains lots of references based around the number 7. We learn about meaning of number 7 to help us get a better idea of what we are singing about and to enable us to bring the words to life as we sing it.
Nursery and Reception chose Italy. Year 1 learned all about Poland.
Year 2 - Mexico, Year 3 – Australia, Year 4 – China, Year 5 – Chile
and Year 6 – Brazil.
We had lots of fun and had a week filed with cross- curricular activities all about our chosen countries.
We also had themed lunches with music and food from different countries each day (Indian, Italian, Mexican, British and Chinese).
As a part of one of our etwinning projects called Multilingual Book we have published our own book on Amazon called: “Stories from woodside Academy”.
Children from our 4 partner schools in Poland, Russia, Spain and Romania contributed to our project by translating our stories into their languages.
This is the link if you want to buy one.
We are currently writing second part!!!
We have also joined Postcard Exchange with Europe project. There are 13 different schools from around Europe that take part in it.
Here are some photos:
International Week February 2020
We held International week sharing assembly on the 6Th February. This year we decided that each year group would look at celebration from around the world and learn about it and its country.
Year 3 learnt about Chile and performed Baby shark song in Spanish. They also made Chile flags, created fact files and in Art they made Spanish flowers.
Year 4 chose Italy and festival of Venice. In our sharing assembly they were discussing history of the festival of Venice, Italian food and performed a song in Italian. They have also made their own carnival masks.
Year 5 chose Mexico. They took part in Mexican cookery lesson, wrote non chronological report about Day of the Dead Skulls and made Aztec masks. They also performed Spanish song La Bamba.
Year 6 chose Brazil and Rio de Janeiro carnival. They performed Mas que nada song in Portuguese.
You can watch their performance by clicking here:
Nursery chose China and Chinese New Year.
Reception chose Mardi Grass festival. They made their own masks and shakers and used them while performing their Mardi Grass song.
Year 1 chose Scotland and learnt all about Robert Burns. They performed Old lang syne song, Circassian circle, tried huggies, neeps and tatties and made their own tartan in Art.
Year 2 chose India. They performed Diwali song Ramayana. They learnt facts about India, made their own diva lamps and Rangoli Patterns.
Write, Post and Learn
Wow! What a project. The children have learned so much through writing letters to children in many different European countries. Not only has this given the children a purpose for developing their writing skills but allowed them to ask questions and develop an understanding of cultural similarities and differences in other European countries. The vast array of handwriting styles that arrived at school really astonished the children and inspired them to develop their own.
The children continue to have weekly Spanish lessons, developing simple language skills in the modern foreign language. They also learn all about the culture in Spain and about the country itself.
Gamalan and Javanese puppets
Year 4 children used Gamalan (instruments from Indonesia) and constructed Javanese shadow puppets in their classes. They then performed a shadow puppet show with the instruments to the parents and the rest of the school.
Woodside has organised successful international weeks before so we decided to allocate a country to each year group to learn about for the week as this has been our most successful format previously. Teachers were asked to involve their children in cultural activities as well as learning facts about the country, and were asked to ensure that work was linked to all areas of the curriculum. Activities included making Russian dolls and Nigerian patterns in Art, creating a haka in PE, learning songs and stories in other languages in Music, making recipes with our partner school and trying food from other countries in Design technology, and learning about the religions in the chosen countries in RE. At the end of the week we held a whole school assembly so each class could show an element of their learning from the week. This included dance and song performances.
Chinese New Year
Year 3 Chinese New Year story video
Whole school singing their favourite Chinese song
We held an assembly to introduce the start of Chinese New Year. As the whole school have celebrated this event for the last few years, we asked the children to recall what they knew about the celebrations. We sang songs that the children have been learning in Mandarin – these included songs learnt in previous years plus new songs taught more recently. Throughout two weeks, our CLA spent time with each class completing a class activity including creating lanterns, writing Happy New Year in Mandarin characters, Chinese dragon dances, painting masks, cooking traditional food etc. She also looked at some popular Chinese stories and myths. At the end of the two weeks (and the end of Chinese New Year) the children celebrated the lantern festival by decorating the school and sharing their work over the two weeks in a whole school assembly.
Chinese New Year Dance Workshop
To incorporate a new element into this year celebrations, we offered Chinese dance workshops with the support of outside experts.
Cultural Dance Workshop
Year 6 Hakka dances
Year 5 traditional Portuguese dance
The school invited in a dance expert who brought music and props to create dances linked to each year groups choice of country during International Week. Year 5 learnt a traditional Portuguese dance, Year 6 learnt a Haka from New Zealand and a Year 2 dance club learnt a Mexican party dance. The rest of the school took turns to watch each class perform. We wanted children to have first-hand experiences of the cultural traditions of the countries they have been studying. By using traditional music and props we were able to immerse children in the experience.
Reception children from Woodside Academy and Year 1 children from Poland created different types of open sandwiches using ingredients from their own countries. They shared recipes, photographs and videos of their creations. They also learnt the names of ingredients and equipment in each other’s languages. Children learned about geographical position of each other’s countries and then about Polish cuisine that provides an interesting fusion of Eastern and Western influences. Polish children learned about English cuisine. They were discussing similarities and differences between ingredients they used in their sandwiches and shared their feedback with each other.
Click HERE to watch how our partner school from Poland made their open sandwiches.
Etwinning Easter Celebrations
Together with our partner school from Poland we created a fact file video/powerpoint of how each country celebrates Easter. We recorded a range of celebrations and facts about Easter. Children were given freedom to decide what they would like to include in the video. This activity helped children to understand the similarities and differences between how two countries celebrate the same religious festivals.
Etwinning Multi-lingual Book
Feedback from Poland
Children from a range of year groups have been getting to know the children in Poland by forming a pen pal club. Children from Woodside pen pal club wrote stories and the children in Poland translated them into their language. All the children illustrated the stories. We are planning to print out our bilingual book and keep it in our library to share with everybody.
Etwinning Book cover of my favourite story
Children chose their favourite story and designed a cover for it. They chose the author from their country. At the moment there are 10 participating schools in this project! (Poland, Russia, Spain, Romania, Lithuania, Italy, North Macedonia, Croatia, Greece and Turkey). We are all planning to exchange those book covers and create a display in our school libraries.
Etwinning Easter Cards Exchange
Nursery, Year 1 and Year 3 exchanged Easter Cards with schools in Poland and Romania.
Etwinning Food Art
Food Art/Etwinning project
Our partner school in Poland started the project and asked if we wanted to join in. We joined the project on etwinning platform and again after about a month about 12 other schools from other European countries joined! The aim of this project was to collaborate with students of different countries, and develop healthy eating habits. At the beginning we organised a contest for the slogan and logo of our project. Afterwards each country made a flag of another country using only healthy ingredients and put the results on the Twinspace.
The final step was Food Art- students' creations.