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Christmas Tree Decoration Exchange 2018

This year is the first time that West Park Academy has taken part in The European Christmas Tree Decoration Exchange.
This is a cultural exchange project where primary schools make Christmas Tree Decorations to send to other schools across Europe. Schools also produce an information pack about Christmas in their country, which is also sent out to partner schools. Each school had to make 30 decorations to send out to their partners.  Class 5 decided to create Christmas tree decorations in the style of a Christmas tree because the tradition of putting up and decorating a tree was one that the majority of the class took part in.  Along with our decoration, we included information about where our school is located geographically, what language we speak, the climate, typical foods and what our region is famous for, etc. We looked at how we spend Christmas Eve and Christmas Day and included an account of how a typical Christmas is celebrated in Darlington. We completed our information by writing ‘Merry Christmas’ in our language!
We then had to ensure that all of our decorations were packed up and sent off by the 17th November 2018 and then we sat back and waited for our new decorations to arrive! It wasn’t long before the first decorations started to arrive! Class 5 were very excited to receive the decorations and enjoyed finding out more about other countries’ Christmas traditions. We found out that there were many similarities but also many differences. Some of the children were keen to locate the countries on the world map and we all enjoyed attempting to recite ‘Merry Christmas’ in the spoken language. The children decorated our school Christmas tree with the many varied decorations that we received to create our very own European Christmas Tree! The information that we received was placed on a nearby noticeboard for other children in the school to see and also learn more about other countries’ traditions at Christmas. Taking part in this project has certainly helped us to recognise the countries that are within the EU and is hopefully the start to us working with other schools across the EU in the future.
 At our last Eco-Warrior meeting, the children used natural and recycled items within their Christmas decorations/ ornaments. They thought carefully about how to use these resources and came up with some excellent end products.
During the last two weeks of November 2018, the Eco-Warriors took part in Switch off Fortnight, which is a campaign to encourage people to save energy. The children created and delivered an assembly to the rest of the school to tell them how they could be more aware about saving energy such as switching off lights, turning electrics completely off. including when in standby mode and wearing warmer clothes rather than turning the heating up. Their careful eyes were also on their teachers as they monitored those classrooms that had left lights on in cupboards, computers on and projectors on when not in use. The children wanted to let the teachers know if they had been energy efficient or not and this was indicated by them leaving a red sad face for a negative response and a green smiley face for a positive. By then end of the fortnight there were definitely more green faces being left as it certainly encouraged many to rethink and be more energy efficient! 
In January 2019, we will be recycling Christmas cards and will have a recycling box at the front of school for them to be placed in.