Nature Is My Playground
  From Poland

”The European project  of  junior high school students from Jaslo in the oriental capital”

         Junior High School No. 2 in Jaslo is actively participating in the  European Comenius project "NATURE IS MY  PL @ YGROUND. Discovering our nature ". The project will last for two years – it started in August 2012 and it will end up in July 2014.  For this school it is the third Comenius enterprise.  This time the project is  coordinated by Cahit Zarifoğlu Primary School in Ankara, Turkey, and the participants are students and teachers from 5 countries: Turkey, Poland, Scoala Gimnaziala Judetul-Baneasa in Galati, Romania, CEIP La Rambla in Agost in Spain and Istituto Comprensivo "T. DEL BENE" Maruggio in Italy. The first project meeting of partner schools was held from November 5th  until November 11th  2012, in the Turkish capital city of Ankara. The young people from Turkey welcomed their European guests warmly and solemnly. The team from Poland was represented by
3 teachers: Jadwiga Moskal – a project coordinator and a geography teacher, Agata Hap – an English teacher, Jolanta Poliwka - a teacher of mathematics and 4 students: Paulina Stach, Gabriela Tomasik, Monica Ryba, Jakub Wróbel.

         The welcome ceremony was also the oficial opening of the project. The peers from Ankara greeted their colleagues in traditional Turkish clothes and performed their Turkish anthem followed by national anthems of all the project countries.
At the beginning of the ceremony we could listen to some speeches made by the representatives of local and educational authorities and the school headteacher.
They all welcomed cordiallly the project participants and wished them successful scientific cooperation. The formal first moments were heated by the  beautiful  performance of  Turkish teeenagers closed with Ode to Joy - the anthem of
the European Union.

         After lunch,  which consisted of  some traditional Turkish dishes prepared by Turkish peers and their parents, all the students and teachers got down to project activities. Thanks to different tasks they learned a lot about the characteristics and methods of school work in Turkish schools. They could also share their pedagogical and student experience. Everyone was impressed by the friendly discipline and the high level of teaching in the visited school. They took part in an English class – this language the project participants use to communicate with ane another – and in
a technology lesson during which the students prepared beautiful felt mobile-cases embellished with interesting Turkish ornaments. Another artistic challenge for students from Europe was the participation in the marbling workshop – during which  they saw this unique traditional Turkish painting technique. The artist – a retired teacher - presented pictures made on wood, paper, leather and canvas and showed this  method of  painting.

         The next days were filled with observations connected with the subject-matter of the project. The visitors were greatly impressed by the huge - 40 – hectare  Gençlik Park dating from 1943. In this wonderful and the biggest park in Ankara there are not only unusual specimen of flora, but there are also some cafes, teashops, a lake,
a theatre.

         Unforgettable impressions were made by Beypazari – the town situated about 100 km from the Turkish capital with history dating back 3500 years when it used to be the the centre of the silk route. The Turkish called the town the name The God's market. The place is famous for  the cultivation of carrots and  crafts – especially silver and  copper articles or hand-woven rugs and silk scarves which are sold at
a huge local bazaar. The wealth of the town are mineral springs located in the Inozu Valley which  are used to produce the famous mineral water called Mineral Water Beypazari. The town owes its distinctive climate to the buildings dating from the times the of  Ottoman Empire.                                                                                 
         The young people also visited Ankara – they saw the Hacıbayram mosque built in the Seljuk style in the fifteeenth  century. It is surrounded  by  Byzantine fortifications which constitute the oldest area of  the city. Nearby there is the Roman theater and the Temple of Caesar Augustus. The Turkish hosts invited their project partners to explore the mausoleum of the founder of the Turkish Republic - Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. It is located in the Park of Peace and includes  the Victory Square which can accommodate up  to 40 000 people. It is surrounded by galleries and towers. You can see memorabilia of the leader who made Turkey reach the European civilization.

         The hospitable  hosts enabled their foreign  friends to taste specialiites of their cuisine. Every day during common activities they served snaks prepared by Turkish families. Besides, the guests were invited to local restaurants and could taste their menu. One of the most delicious dishes was baklava – an unusual cake made from 80 layers of dough separated by chopped walnuts or almods with sugar or honey, glazed with icing or syrup and sprinkled with crushed pistachio nuts. The pieces of  the cake are cut into triangles, rhombs, squares. The foreign friends found the full range of local flavours in Beypazari Tarhana Soup - the  tomato soup eaten with minced meat and Beypazari stew cooked in stone ovens and served on clay dishes.

         Ankara revealed a fascinating face to the partners of the project. The European modernity could be easily seen in the approach to science and technology while the traditional respect for their own culture filled everyday life in which young people from Jaslo participated in Turkish families. Everybody could notice the deference shown to the cultural heritage, science and knowledge, and the ease with which the young generation in Turkey uses modern achievements for self-education.

         The farewell was of  a symbolic character. The head teacher treated the participants to the traditional Turkish tea. Its common ceremonial drinking symbolizes friendship. The beginnings of ours were struck up during this inaugural visit to the world of the Orient.




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