On Tuesday 18th April, Junior School celebrated our annual Spanish day which is always a much-anticipated date in our calendar as it is such a cultural and language-enhancing experience for the girls. Lottie in Year 2 captured this sentiment beautifully when she said, “I was so glad we didn’t just have one lesson of Spanish today, we have spent the whole day learning lots of new things!” We were delighted to be joined and supported again by Senior School colleagues from our Modern Foreign Languages department and a brilliant group of Senior School pupils who volunteered to assist us. It was a real privilege to work together and for Junior School girls to have the opportunity to witness and be inspired by such positive Senior School role models.
The day commenced in true Spanish ‘fiesta’ style with Señora Shaw leading a whole school flamenco masterclass! The floors and walls reverberated with stomps and claps and everyone left assembly feeling energised and excited for the day ahead. Each Year Group had a different theme to explore and their activities were based around this topic.
Both Nursery and Reception centred their activities around the text ‘Lola’s Fandango’ which is the story of a little girl who learns to dance flamenco. The girls enjoyed watching videos of Spanish children dancing and then tried learning some of the movements themselves. Nursery girls then made their own maracas, while girls in Reception created some beautiful pictures and descriptions of flamenco dancers.
Year 1 explored the renowned Spanish architect, Antoni Gaudí. They looked at examples of his work including his mesmerising mosaic work before creating their own mosaics. Their next challenge was to make one of his signature lizards out of clay which they painted in his style. Emily said, “I loved moulding the clay to make my lizard.”
Year 2’s theme was the life and works of Pablo Picasso. They explored his styles before creating their own interpretations of his artwork which currently adorn the corridors of Chapman House! Gigi said she ‘loved making the abstract art of the weeping woman.’
Year 3 complemented their topic work on rainforests by celebrating the rich culture of Mexico. The girls researched and presented facts about Mexico and explored Mexican traditions and customs before embarking on the mindful task of making a traditional ‘Ojo de Dios’. Yi said, “I loved finding out about the Mexican cultures as I didn’t know much about it before.”
The Year 4 classrooms were buzzing after being set the brief to research the Spanish fiesta ‘Las Fallas’. After some comprehensive fact finding regarding the history and traditions of this fiesta, they set about creating their own pictorial ‘hat’ version of ‘ninots’ which represented a theme that they felt needed addressing e.g. war, plastic pollution, air pollution, recycling etc. In true Valencian tradition, these models were ceremoniously burned in the school firepit after voting for one ‘ninot’ to be saved to carry forward to next year. Mrs Donaldson, Mrs Topley and the girls had a very difficult decision deciding which ‘ninot’ to save as all of the girls had really excelled in their thoughtful themes and colourful design.
Girls in Year 5 focused their efforts on famous and historic Spanish landmarks and buildings. They carried out detailed research on iconic places of interest such as Sagrada Familia, Alhambra, Mezquita, Parc Güell, The Guggenheim museum etc. Taking inspiration from these sites then allowed them to plan and create their own representations using their ideas and choice of materials.
Year 6 girls had the exciting task of researching Spanish food and delicacies before putting their own culinary skills to the test. They created a selection of different flavoured ‘palmeras’, a traditional Spanish delicacy. Once they were safely baking in the oven, they created menus and conversation cards for our after-school café which Year 6 parents were invited to attend. Our intention was to replicate an authentic Spanish café experience with the girls being waitresses and our parents being the customers! The Year 6 girls truly surpassed themselves, not only did they showcase their spoken Spanish skills but many actively encouraged and supported their parents and Junior School staff to communicate in Spanish too.
Perhaps the greatest highlight for us all was the delicious Spanish lunch. The catering team at Chapman House tricked us into thinking we were actually in Spain with steaming dishes of paella, patatas bravas and appetising platters of tapas for the girls to try! The mussels were a hot topic of conversation as many girls had never tried them before. Once again, the churros with lashings of chocolate sauce were the talk of the day. Ivy in Year 1 said, “The pudding was out of this world!” Reception wanted to ‘do it all again tomorrow.’ so I think it was fair to say that the day had been a resounding success.