Volunteering at a Montessori School

My name is Barnabé Albrespy, and I did a volunteering project in the SCHULGARTEN – Aktive Montessorischule Telfs in Tirol from September 2020 until July 2021. This is a Montessori school where children from 6 to 15 years old study. I worked the most of the time with a group of children from 6 to 9 years old.

The children work during the morning, which is divided in two parts. The first part of the morning is called « Free work time ». The students have to on different topics and different activities. During this time, I could help them, to make some activities or to propose some work if they don’t know what to do. After this part comes the « Free play time ».  During this time the children have the choice between playing in the garden, the school or to work creatively. Each day one teacher and once a week myself, propose a creative offer to the children. When I don’t make creative offers, I try to propose some games to them or at least I have a look to see how everything goes. At the end of the day is a short time where the children have to clean the room of the school. I also helped them to do this task.

I feel really happy in my work. The contact with the children is great. They are friendly and they have a lot of good ideas for work and for games. Also, the atmosphere between the teachers is great. My colleagues propose me all the time some nice work and games to do, therefore I always felt active and useful, which I really enjoyed.

Each Wednesday is the “Natureday“ – where we go on to the forest, the mountain or next tot he river. Same as the other days, there is a time of work and a time for games. I also prepared some work, activities and creative offers that I propose to the children. It’s all the time a really good day with a great atmosphere. Even if the weather is rainy or cold, the children are just happy to be outside. I also did Naturedays with the older group of the school. The Natureday I soften a very special day and we do great activities.

In addition to these nice moments in the school and during the Naturedays, we also do some projects with the children. We are actually doing a Garden Project with them. All the children, who want to participate, have a little area where they could plant some things. It’s also a really nice project because I think it’s great to get in contact with the nature. I was very surprise to see how many children were interested about this project. They have so much motivation to make a nice garden and to take care of the plants. Some of them go every morning before the school to check how the plants are doing an to water them.

This volunteering experience was really intense form me and the contact with the children was good. It was always a lot of fun to help them in the work and to play with them. It was my first working experience after high school and I think that going abroad during one year and work within this type of project was the best way to travel and to grow up. I’m really happy that I had the chance to discover a new country and also to discover a new way to do school. I was very interested about alternative and specially Montessori pedagogy. I think that this year thought me a lot of things.  

Barnabé

Youth Goals and Competences… Which suits me?

In the voluntary work you have like 8 competences to develop. Of course everyone is skilled or aims to something specific. I open myself and this time I tell you my concern. Why do I feel concern? I DON’T KNOW WHAT IT SUITS ME!!

The key competences

I put you here a summarize of what the key competences are based on. Thus you can have a slight idea if you’re not familiar within it:

  • Multilingual competence: the ability to use differents languages for communication and to understand and express thoughts, feelings and facts orally or in writing.
  • Personal, social and learning to learn competence: the ability to learn to learn, to manage one’s own learning an reflect on oneself.
  • Citizenship competence: the ability to act responsible citizens and to fully participate in civic and social life based on understanding of social, economic, legal an political concepts as well as global developments and sustainability.
  • Enterpreneuship competence: the capacity to act upon opportunities an to turn ideas into action that has values for others.
  • Competence in cultural awareness and expression: it is understanding of how ideas are creatively expressed in different cultures, through differens arts.
  • Digital competence: it involves the responsible use of digital technologies, communication and collaboration, media, digital content creation, safety, intellectual property, problem solving and critical thinking.
  • Mathematical competence and competence in science, technology, engineering (STEM): the ability to use mathematical thinking to solve problems in everyday situations.
  • Literacy competence: the ability to understand and express thoughts, feelings and facts orally, in writing or in other forms, and to interact with others.

Myself

Quite extensive, isn’t it? Well, that was my first thought too. Then, which one can suit me? The first thought would be according to my studies, sure. I’m student of Translation and Interpreter then Multilingual and Literacy competences would be suitable, don’t you think? STOP there are more competences in translation and interprerter. A translator/interpreter must solve problems and have strategies; That is literally the Personal learning competence. And do you think translators use books and paper to translate? No, we follow all the new tendencies, so we prefer to have advanced technology for typing and investigation. Digital and Science competences would also be covered. If you’re not convinced of Science, the market of the scientific translation is the most popular and the most wanted. And finally, the translator/interpreter is an hidding enterpreneur who work between societies! No, I don’t mean we are spies; I mean that we get involved in social and cultural changes and we work on it. Thus we create a business (Enterpreneur competence) of changes and interaction in the culture of the people (Citizenship and Cultural awarness competences).

Can you see? IT IS IMPOSIBLE TO DECIDE! Then, should I make it based on my preferences? These preferences are. I would like to stay in Austria and use all my knowledge to work and to live here; Once again, all competences. Should it be the preferences of the country? C’mon, Austria is a wonderful country! They are involved in all of those competences like me. My project? Exactly like the previous question. There are no one that I can focus on?

Conclusion

Exactly, there are nothing that you can focus on. A voluntary work consists on the max enedeavour that you can offer. Maybe at the end you can see what it developed more or what it did the less. This is not confusion then, it’s the truth that you are helping, that you are important and that we all thank your work. Perhaps my path is not that clear as far as you can see and I’m still not decided what should I focus on, but I know a thing: give your best on what you are doing and all it’s comming together.

José M. Gómez

Gardening in virus season?

Probably, you think about what to do in a long period indoors. But not everything must be indoors! Some of you may have a garden, so guys you have time enough to work on your personal garden!

During these days, I have been working on my garden. As you can see, no one touched the garden in months! Of course we thought in October that snow and cold would clean the garden by winter. That was far from true… After even February, the grass was still growing! Our timetables and the lack of tools made us procrastinate and letting the garden issue apart. Suddlenly, the virus came and we had to make quarantine. I had no doubt of it, I said “I have to clean this garden by once!”. All the labour started under a beautiful shining-sun.

You can see no one helped in a long time
Still, the process was painful and my hand got injured. It was the first time a make this sort of work.

The labour was hard! There were so many grass between and under the flagstone. I took the globes and a plastic bag. I was willing to clean up everything as far as I can! However, the sun is strong and the grass too. So we planned a different goal: we need a courtyard. Why? There was a shining sun and fresh air. I addmit also that we were lazy enough and we didn’t want to make everything in one day. But this also was a good idea to take the sun and enjoy the atmosphere with chilling mornings under the light.

Finally, we managed to clean up a big area. The flagstone was cleaned enough, the leaves were put into the rubbish and all the insects got far enough from us. Thus, we finished! We just needed now to use the wood as chairs and then put a table on the center. Do you want to see how ended up?

YES! We had a marvelous lunch under the sun outside.

You may have no garden? Well, gardening is not only clean a courtyard and remove bugs. You can have flowers in a window or you can try to plant vegetables in a small pot! I invite you to visit different web pages to guide you or giving you more ideas. Internet is big! And now you have no excuses to finish your job or getting bored at home. Do your best in this troublesome season!

Of course, try not to lose your mind!

José M. Gómez