“Teatro da Esperança” – Theatre
Theatre is of great significance for Escola da Esperança, especially for social learning and the development of each child’s personality. A theatrical play, emerging from a shared theme, developed and performed in group, is a community-building process for the participants. The children learn to study a role and to represent it and experience their presence as an important element for the success of the collective performance. Writing the script strengthens their language skills and develops their communication abilities. The production of stage props and sceneries showcases the children’s artistic and creative potential, giving them the opportunity to be publicly acknowledged. In the course of the theatre work, the children grow beyond their roles; the play is continually developed and roles are swapped, depending on which role provides the best learning experience for each child at a given moment.
The strong motivation of the children and young people to present a play in different languages leads them to learning the basics of a new language within a very short time. At the same time the play’s content is the learning matter; the theater work is mentally stimulating and this leads to unusual questions and greater interest. This stimulus is brought to the open learning space, where the contents are further deepened through individual work or other appropriate ideas.
The “travelling school” constitutes an important element of our school because many learning subjects can be experienced for real on-site and more easily internalized. Shorter and longer journeys in Portugal and other countries bring us into contact with the people and culture, allow us to learn geography, to research history on-site, to explore living spaces and biodiversity, as well as – for older children – to recognize political contexts. Additionally, travelling offers character-building opportunities: dealing with new impressions, finding one’s way in new situations, being away with a group. This often leads to developmental leaps which were not previously foreseeable.
Normally, there is a big journey in autumn, often incorporated in the “Global Campus,” the political network of the Tamera Peace Research Center. These journeys are often associated with a theater tour, in which theater connects children and monitors, providing a special contact zone to exchange experiences locally with others.
Communicating and Cooperating with Animals
Children love horses and horses love children, almost always. The moments in which a big, powerful and elegant animal follows a child in total trust or offers its back for a ride, are some of the greatest gifts that horses can give. In their company children learn a lot about body awareness, body coordination and communication. The children learn to “communicate” with the horses. The most advanced pupils ride without saddle or reins, learning to guide their mount through their presence and body language alone. This involves a very deep process of trust between human and animal.
Protecting and caring for animals
“Helping helps!” A child’s heart is full of compassion. If a child sees a wounded animal or a young one who has lost its mother, the child wants to help immediately. This impulse to help will be fostered and developed in the Escola da Esperanca. In this way the children can, with the support of adults, care, feed, cure and raise wounded animals from wild and neighbouring lands.
„Beyond the Limits“
At the Escola da Esperança, exercising the body joyful play, focused work, character building team work and learning are all important learning elements.
The school’s mixed-age group organizes performances together, which strengthens group cohesion is also a special and motivating means of evaluation. In such a setting, individual skills appear, develop, and come to complement each other. “We” is more than the sum of its parts, we are a team.
Thematic projects are usually initiated by the instructor with a specific content. The themes can be Ecology, Water and the hydro-logical cycle, Permaculture: Pigs – helpers in agriculture, technology and energy, Solar technology: Construction of our own solar box, Geometry and architecture: Model making, art, etc.