CEIP Juan Pérez Villaamil is a big, urban school in Móstoles, a town with 205,000 inhabtants, located 18 km away from Madrid. Móstoles is comprised of many local businesses and it is easily accessible by both car and public transport. It is a state-funded school.
We are a Pre-K to grade 6 school with a relatively large enrollment. The education system in Spain is split into stages. Students start the early years foundation stage at the age of three and they stay in Primary school until the age of 11 when they move onto secondary school. The total amount of students this year is around 720. Regarding their social background, we can say that they come from middle-class families, having just a minority of students coming from low class families.
Our school runs with 45 full-time qualified teachers, among which we have language therapists and an educational counselor as well as non-teaching staff and auxiliary personnel. We have in our staff too four English Teaching Assistants from the U.S helping our students to improve their English language skills and knowledge of a different culture from our own.
Our instructional hours are from 9:00am to 14:00pm. However, many students are involved in many extra-curricular activities such as robotics, painting, football, basketball, gym-jazz, and English, organized by the Parent Association (AMPA).
Regarding the different rooms and facilities, they include 30 classrooms and different special rooms such as computer room, music room, Art room, PTA room, meeting room, a library and multi-purpose room. The sports facilities comprise a gym, a basketball court, a football court and a playground.
Since 2006 our school carries out a Bilingual Project of the Community of Madrid, teaching different areas in English. The methodological approach is based on Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL). This approach refers to teaching subjects such as Natural Science, Social Science, Art and Crafts and Physical Education to students through a foreign language, being English in our case. CLIL has a dual-focused aim, namely the learning of content and the simultaneous learning of a foreign language.
We also acknowledge the importance of using technology in the classroom making teaching and learning more effective. It improves the students´ engagement in the subjects and it helps to encourage active participation. One of the Key Competences in our curriculum is sense of initiative and entrepreneurship, and techhology not only implies the acquisition of digital competence, but it also encourages individual learning fostering the key competence mentioned above. Technology gives students access to a broad range of resources to conducte research on their own. Some of the educational platforms we are currently using are eTwinning, Google Classroom, Edmodo and Quizlet.
Likewise, emotional education and peer mediation are very important in the context of our school. We are currently implementing a peer mediation program training student leaders (mediators) help their peers resolve everyday disputes. We are sure it will help our students grow as human beings. We have participated in a project “Mentoring and Accompanying” in which our staff members had the possibility of visiting other teacher’s classrooms in order to refresh and activate the diverse pedagogical and methodological aspects, share resources and improve their use. We observed how to work with language assistants in the classroom and exchanged ideas and professional opinions. The direct observation of colleagues offered our staff the opportunity to exchange and learn from the experience that each of the parts deliver.
Teachers at our school are especially interested in the fact that students need to develop a global awareness and understanding of other cultures. Therefore, we think that fostering an international collaboration in our classrooms is really beneficial to our students. In fact, our previous students’ exchanges have offered our students the opportunity to develop their European Citizenship by actively participating in projects that imply teamwork with their peers in different countries.