Schools in Colombia

I'm home from Colombia, having had a great time telling stories for four weeks. I did 63 school performances in English, from preschool to high school, and took part in a public performance at a lovely park. Here are some miscellaneous pictures of the schools. 

This was over the door of the libary at St. Bartolomé La Merced. It's from the book The Little Prince, and the quote is "What is essential is invisible to the eye." You can see the flying dragon through the door. 

This is the same school that has this cozy reading nook.

Here is the mascot of the school, a magpie (I think) that looks remarkably like the early Kansas Jayhawk. This school backs up to a huge wooded park.

I spent five days at Gimnasio Vermont, where I told the kids that I moved to the state of Vermont in the US when I was 11. They practically gasped in disbelief. The school has an immersion program for their students with St. Michael's College in Colchester, VT, near Burlington, where I went to the University of Vermont. 

At this school, I began with the 4th through 7th grades, then went to preschool and kindergarten (up to age 7), then 1st to 3rd grades. The other two storytellers touring Colombia will visit  the high school. One of the things I loved about this tour is that I was at fewer schools, for more days. 

At Vermont, the young children have a garden, in which they plant lettuce and chard. These plants are labeled with each child's name and the students take them home at harvest. 

I was fed a snack and lunch at most of the schools I visited. At these private schools, the food was fantastic, and the kids had plenty of time to eat, unlike the standard 20-30 minutes kids in the US usually get. Here is what I had for elevenses (morning snack) at CIEDI, a great school not far from where I was living: 

This delicious arepa (corncake) filled with cheese went nicely with the capuccino.

And here are some girls working peacefully together in a spookily-decorated spot in the library at St. George's School, where I spent three days. 

I was pleased to tell stories in several libraries, including at St. George's School. 

But in the preschool and kindergarten of Gimnasio Vermont, I was in the dance studio. I've rarely been able to see myself in a mirror as I perform!

I moved to the primary school library for the rest of the performances at Gimnasio Vermont, which was decorated with illustrations from children's books.

I hope this gives you a taste of the experiences I had at the schools. Questions?

Halfway point, Colombia tour

I can hardly believe I'm at the halfway point in the tour. I've done 32 shows in the past two weeks, compressed into eight school days. It has been great fun! The teachers and other administrators at the schools have been unfailingly welcoming. I especially love it when the teachers and students are prepared in advance for my visit, as they were at Colegio San Bartolomé La Merced in Bogota. 

The posters at this school advertised my visits as well as the visits of Ursula Holden-Gill and Keith Donnelly, the other two storytellers here. It has been great to get to know them in our off time. 

I was in the library at this school, one of my favorite places to be. This particular library is amazing, with a flying dragon and anthropomorphized trees.

The children were excited when they came into the library.

For each of the eight shows I did at this school, the fabulous English coordinator, Margarita, had asked a different teacher to research me and from that research, do a full introduction. They even knew the name of my cat!

I had two days of work in Medellín, where one of the schools had a small taxidermy museum outside the hall where I performed. 

The most terrifying was some kind of a wild cat. 

In truth, that was a lovely school, where the (mostly) girls were excellent listeners. They sent up a collective "Awwww," when my puppet Peeps and the baby came out of the puppet bag. 

Here are some children from a different school in Medellín, waiting for their schoolmates and ready for the show to begin.

They are lucky enough to go to a school that has its own stream and also that backs up to a forest. 

That's the news for now. More soon!

The Chile tour continues

It has been a while since I've written about how the performances are going. So far, fairly well. I've done forty-eight sessions, with only twenty left. The third week of a four-week tour can be one of the hardest in terms of energy. I continue to take naps every afternoon after the work is done, as we get up early every morning to go to school. I keep hydrated. I hum and sing and make funny noises to warm up my voice. I try to remember to have a good time and to be grateful that I am here in Chile, as well as in this life and on this planet. 

Here are a few more pictures to give you a flavor of the performances. The first few were from a set taken by a photographer at Colegios Padre Hurtado y Juanita de los Andes (two schools, one for boys and one for girls). My tour manager Sofi took the other excellent photos. I'll show scenic pictures in the next post.  

Notice that the children and teachers wear uniforms. The little girls wear smocks and the boys wear tan lab coats. The teachers wear dark blue coats or blue checked smocks, quite often. 

I always think it's a sign of a good school when both the teachers and the children enjoy the performances.

This was at the only workshop of the tour. The teachers are playing a game called "Magic Box."

I've enjoyed most of the groups of kids. Here are some of the teenagers, who usually don't expect to enjoy the stories as much as they do. They were so fun to work with!