Monday March 10 by D’Arcy.
Today was our first day at the school where our homestay brothers and sisters attend. Escola Crescimento is a private school located in the city of Sao Luis, Brazil (http://www.crescimento.com.br). Our schedule today provides us with an orientation to escola Crescimento and its neighbouring Maple Bear School. Maple Bear is a global school that has students from Toddler Level (age 2) to grade 6 and operates using a Canadian based curriculum (http://www.maplebear.com.br). We will have another opportunity to visit with Maple Bear on Friday morning when we will come back for Story Telling.
Juliana Camarao, a director at escola Crescimento, greeted us in the auditorium and gave us a presentation about the school and its history. During this presentation, we had a group of character actors come into the auditorium and dance for us. These actors were dressed in traditional costumes representing the cultures and Carnivale characters that are familiar to Sao Luis. It was quite interesting to watch. We were not the only Nova Scotian students in attendance. There is a school group from Middleton Regional High School who are also on a school to school exchange with Crescimento. When the presentation was finished, there were snacks and some “Jesus” before leaving the auditorium. Not to worry, “Jesus” is a soft drink that is only made in Sao Luis. We sometimes drink it religiously.
Afterwards, we were taken on tour through the school. Each classroom has a full glass door so it was very easy to look in to every class we passed. Likewise, it was very easy for students to look out and see all these strange Canadians walking through their school. Escola Crescimento is a very nice school which uses technology very well. Classrooms are equipped with Apple TV and each student has an iPad assigned by the school.
After touring escola Crescimento, we then had a tour of the Maple Bear Canadian School. We were invited into classes and given an opportunity to speak with students and see the work they were doing.
After touring Maple Bear, it was break time and the Crescimento students were very curious about the Canadian students and their impressions of their school and of Brazil. Lots of sign language was being used to help communicate.
In the afternoon, we had a orientation session with via Mundo, the educational tour group coordinator. Via Mundo operates as the liaison between escola Crescimento and the Chignecto-Central Regional School Board. During this orientation session, Selina Sell, one of the representatives from via Mundo, talked to us about the different cultural perspectives that exist in a school to school exchange. She also gave us a brief Portuguese lesson and a back pack for us to carry our supplies around. In the back pack was our class schedule, a can of “Jesus”, chocolate candies, cashews, a book with the story of Maranhao (the state which Sao Luis is part of), and a yellow via Mundo shirt which will be our school uniform while attending classes. After Selina’s presentation there were even more snacks for us. It will be hard to go hungry while we are here.
Tomorrow, we will get to go to classes and we also have a Portuguese lesson in the afternoon.