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Comenius Camp

Mary Barton and Emily Batchford felt proud to welcome so many foreign visitors to Tapton during the Comenius Camp in February.

The Comenius Project brings together groups of students (in the case of the camps there are 4-6 from each partner school aged between 13 and 15) and two members of staff from our partner schools in Europe, who all meet in one of the participating countries. There are 2 such camps each year whose aims are to develop knowledge and understanding among young people regarding diversity and inclusivity, as well as combating racism. The 4 day, 3 night trip helps young people to acquire life skills for their own personal development and encourages active travel throughout Europe.

This year, Tapton hosted the students visiting Sheffield, arriving from Germany, Italy, Poland, the Czech Republic and Switzerland. As reporters, we were lucky enough to participate in some of the activities organised for them during the week beginning Monday 25th February.

Tuesday began with a workshop at Tapton where the international students looked at what it means to be a student with visual impairment and how Tapton works to make sure all our students are included in learning.   We joined them in the afternoon to visit the Town Hall and meet the Lord Mayor of Sheffield. Even small details like the bus journey to town proved somewhat challenging due to the language barriers (who knew that asking for a 60p could be phrased in so many ways?!). Arriving at the Town Hall and seeing the number of photographs taken reminded us of the beauty of Sheffield that we may often take for granted. Our foreign visitors enjoyed learning about Sheffield’s culture during the tour of the spectacular building. This was then followed by a meeting with the Lord Mayor, which made for a very special occasion (if slightly amusing, due to his broad Yorkshire accent being more difficult to understand than we’d anticipated for the foreign students).

A short tram ride home left us with a little time to educate my (Emily’s) Italian guest in the art of British baking, which resulted in tasty pink cupcakes for all the family. We then joined back up with the group to spend a fun evening at Hollywood Bowl where it was obvious from the beginning that no matter where you grew up, everyone could get at least one ball in the gutter!

Wednesday began with a workshop at Tapton where the international students looked at understanding each other’s cultures and building relationships.  This was done using drama techniques and was enjoyed by all.  In the afternoon students and teachers visited the “Football Unites Racism Divides” project and then went home to pack!

Overall, this was a unique and joyful experience that has taught everyone something different and left us with a desire to travel and to meet again in the future.