Yesterday we went to see my 9 year old nephew perform in his choir. Three primary schools had each been given a section of a musical to practise, then they had come together for two rehearsals before putting on a performance. It was fantastic.
Aside from enjoying the singing, I was equally impressed with the teamwork between schools. Firstly the bringing together of three schools for the performance, and secondly the fact that the local grammar school had allowed them full use of their facilities on a Saturday afternoon.
The performance took place in the main hall and was followed by a BBQ in the school grounds. Soon all the children (there were about 90) and most of their dads had taken over the football pitch and were playing the most chaotic game of football I have ever seen.
Meanwhile, the smaller children were feeding the school sheep with dandelion leaves and pumping water out of the well.
When we left, a breakaway group of teenagers were still enjoying the lovely weather and had music playing while they chatted amongst themselves.
The sense of community was immense and there was absolutely no sign that the older teenagers were drinking too much or that there would be any kind of trouble. No one who shouldn’t have been there tried to crash the party and the school gates (and back door) remained open all afternoon. And this school is situated in the centre of a (admittedly not huge) town.
It is as if, without even trying, the Germans here had already successfully achieved what we are aiming to do with extended schools.