At Woodside Academy, we are very proud of our international work, for which we received the British Council International School Award in 2019 and 2022 (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, Spanish Language Assistant, who works with all classes from Nursery to Year 6, building both language skills and knowledge of 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
‘I want to say a big thank you for giving the children in Tesscourt the opportunity to work with the children in Woodside. This relationship has blossomed into something beautiful. The children performed a traditional dance to say thank you to you and all our friends in Woodside to send blessings your way’
Akua Antwiwaa Boasiako, Headteacher of Tesscourt International School
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
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
Nursery to Year 6 learn 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!
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.
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.
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
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.
Cultural Dance Workshop
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 Covers
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
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.