What is European Hours ?
The European Hours are sessions during which pupils from Primary 3, 4 and 5 from the English, French and German sections come together in mixed groups of 20 - 26 pupils. It is a time for cultural and artistic activities and cooperative games in a multilingual context.
"Educated side by side, untroubled from infancy by divisive prejudices, acquainted with all that is great and good in the different cultures, it will be borne in upon them as they mature that they belong together. Without ceasing to look to their own lands with love and pride, they will become in mind Europeans, schooled and ready to complete and consolidate the work of their fathers before them, to bring into being a united and thriving Europe." — Jean Monet, Founding text of European Schools 1953.
The objectives for European Hours are set out in the document 2001-D-453 (see ’attached documents’)
The philosophy of European Hours can be summarised in three key phrases :
To be together, to live together, to create together. Through collective creations and productions, the pupils from different language sections get to know each other and enjoy working together.
The capacity to communicate and problem solve together is highlighted and the pupils are encouraged to use as many of their known languages as possible to communicate with their classmates. Initiative, autonomy and solidarity are encouraged through collaborative techniques.
Activities are organised which intrinsically encourage the pupils to cooperate and communicate in a multicultural group whilst promoting acceptance of others and their differences in a European context.
The emphasis is on group productions as opposed to individual work. The process is more important than the end product. The work can be presented in the form of displays, presentation to other groups, exhibition, photos or performance for other classes in the school. The goal is to break down the barriers of the language sections by ensuring that the working groups contain a mix of different language sections as well as gender mix. Promoting a spirit of initiative, autonomy and solidarity among the students is also important.
In long term planning, projects are selected which provide pupils with a wide variety of experiences, in terms of artistic, musical, theatrical and multi-media experiences throughout the year .
How is it organised ?
The European Hours sessions take place on three afternoons per week, Monday, Tuesday and Friday.
The groups consist of mixed language sections and mixed age groups.
The Themes and Projects
Three main themes are decided upon for the academic year. Each theme runs for approximately one term.
Examples of themes for 2013-2014
In the first term the activities are based on the history of cinema and moving images. Pupils discover shadow theatre and 19th century inventions for making moving pictures such as the flip book, thaumatrope, phenakistoscope and they recreate these inventions and art forms . This work is followed up by Stop Motion animation in the following term.
The follow-on theme in Term 2 works on traditional tales of Europe and the world and the pupils rework traditional tales in a fun and modern interpretation. The pupils will work on a scenario and produce either film or a theatre piece as an end product. Each group will work on a production working in a way which will evolve according to pupil strengths and ideas. Script, sound effects, scenery, costumes will be worked upon in European Hours sessions.
The final theme is fun and games. Making board games or playground games and discovering indoor and outdoor games from European countries and other countries of the world.
The European School of Strasbourg has set up a choir, trained during European Hours sessions by a professional singer. They have several fixtures throughout the academic year including a Christmas concert, graduation concerts and other school events.
Other ongoing themes and activities :
- Cooking sessions
- Cooperative and teambuilding games
- Painting and drawing and arts and crafts
Pupils are assessed in the School Reports on three points.
The pupil :
- participates in activities in a multicultural group
- is receptive to communicate in different languages
- is actively involved in group projects
At the end of a project or activity, the pupils complete a self-evaluation form where they also judge themselves on the above criteria and where we also emphasise the personal benefits that EH can bring, such as making new friends and challenging oneself to go beyond one’s usual cultural limits. Children are encouraged to think about how they would like to work for the next project.