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Saturday, May 20, 2017

Garden Blooms

At the beginning of April, Elizabeth's class started planting a class garden not too far from the school.  They learned about turning the earth and planting seeds...
 They leaned how to organize the garden...
 And they partnered up so each little group could farm its own plot of land.:)

 Today, she got to bring home the first fruits of the garden...bok choy and green onions!!  She was so excited about growing her own vegetables that she may even eat these veggies! (She never eats bok choy or green onions.) But, because she took part in it and was the one taking care of the garden, she is so happy!  Have I said how much I LOVE the hands on approach to learning here?  The children get to experience the things they are learning about in the classroom on a regular basis which makes it so much more meaningful to them.
Washing her veggies from her garden.:)
Until next time, doei!:)

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Forgotten Post!

I meant to post this back in April when I went with Jeremy's class to Jonge Onderzoekers ( Young Researchers) here in Groningen.  My American friends, can you believe that we actually took a public bus for the field trip??!!!

 Jonge Onderzoekers is a children's museum where the children get to participate in a project with a finished product they each get to make themselves with the guidance of a teacher. For more information, click here. On this particular day, the students learned how to make a circuit, connect it to a bulb, and connect the bulb to a platform to create a lamp.:)

Jeremy got to do his own soldering!:)

Jeremy and his teacher, Ms. Annette:)
I so love the philosophy here of getting the students out into real life situations to learn things and apply them in real life! It was so nice to see the confidence in the children's eyes when they learned how to properly use tools and create something they were proud of!:)

Until next time, tot zeins!

Dairy Farm

So, Tuesday, brought us on Elizabeth's second class field trip of the week....a Dutch Dairy Farm in the town of Zuidwolde.:) (Two field trips in one week with parent volunteers as drivers would NEVER happen in the U.S....just another thing I love about the philosophy of education for primary grades here.)  In between the larger cities in The Netherlands, the Dutch countryside is dotted with farmhouses and livestock.  Today, I drove a few of her classmates along with other parent volunteers to get to learn more about a working dairy farm in Holland.:)

my friend, Samuel:)

Marion runs the farm along with her husband and children.  Her parents ran it before her.

 She explained that the cows have the choice of whether they want to stay inside the barn our go out to the pasture.  There is a huge garage door like opening into the barn leading out to the pasture.  Their philosophy is a happy cow will make great milk.:)

Lely Astronaut..cow waiting patiently for her turn to be milked.:)
The Lely Astronaut is the milking machine the farmers use to milk the cows.  It is a computerized robot which is able to keep track of which cows have been milked and how often they have been milked.  A cow can't be milked more than 3 times in a 24 hour time period.  They get to eat while they are being milked and Marion explained that some cows love to be milked while others have to be brought into be milked.  It is amazing to watch the cows "line up" by the milking machine and patiently wait their turn!:)  The laser beams in the robot match the milking devices perfectly to each cow's udders, and the milking process begins! When one cow comes out, the next one goes in...all on their own!!:)
cows in the pasture

Mother cow and calves in the barn

baby calf

Milk coming from the milking machine...the sound is very reminiscent of  the pumping machine I used after Elizabeth was born!!! LOL!

Whey skimmed from the top of the milk and fed to the baby calves.
 They also have sheep on this farm as well. I love to see the baby cute!  As an American, i don't usually see to many sheep in the US., and seeing all the baby lambs in the fields during the spring has become something I have really enjoyed seeing while living here.:)

Cow selfie with one of my dear friends here:)

Tidying up the barn

Farmer Lizzy:)

"trying" to milk a cow.  it isn't as easy as it looks!:)

It was a great hands on experience for the children to see how a dairy farm actually operates.  This particular farm has 150 cows on it and it is running 24 hours a day seven days a week.  There is actually an open farm weekend this coming weekend in which five farms are having an open house for everyone to come and tour the farms.  Holland is second only to the US in its export of agricultural products. I had no idea! For more information, click here.   I am so glad I got to visit a real Dutch farm and peek into this part of Dutch life.:)


Pieterburen Seal Sanctuary

When we first moved to Holland, I was terrified of driving on a daily basis.  The traffic rules are slightly different, and I was just plan scared that I would hit and injure a cyclist.  However, after the cold winter, and finally putting on "my big girl pants", I have been driving more and more here and feeling a bit more comfortable with it.  As a result, I volunteered to drive for Elizabeth's class field trip to The Seal Sanctuary in Pieterburen. (The school does not have a bus for field trips, and it relies on parent volunteers to drive groups of children to the field trip destination.)

I was lucky enough to have these three gorgeous ladies in my group for the day.:)

 Pieterburen Seal Sanctuary is a resuce and rehabilitation facility for two different species of seals : the common seal and the grey seal. The sanctuary is privately funded, and it rescues sick or injured seals from along the coast of the North Sea.  To read more about Pieterburen Seal Sacntuary, click here.

 The kids were excited at the possibilty of taking a selfie with a seal while the seals were swimming in the rehabilitation pool.:)
Waiting for an underwater glimpse of a seal.:)

seals in the rehab pool
 The seals in the picture below are all about a year old and rescued.  They had a disease called lungworm, and have been treated with a medication which makes them cough up the worms to get rid of them.  Some of them do not live to be released back into the wild, but a good number of them do. Their pool had just been cleaned out, and they were waiting to get back in.
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This seal was off by itself swimming in a different pool.  I noticed that there were no toys or anything for the seal to play with and one of the workers explained that they keep the seals as much in their natural habitat as possible and do not try to domesticate them at all so when they are released, they can survive in the sea again.  I think I already knew this, but seals are predators and can be very dangerous in the wild.  No one was allowed to pet the seals.

 One month old baby seal in the intensive are unit
 The baby seal above still has its white fur which is usually shed in the uterus of the mother before it is born.  When it is born with the white fur, it is difficult for it to swim as the white fur acts like a sponge and actually absorbs the water which makes it difficult for the baby to swim.  The workers here are taking care of it by feeding it and waiting until its new fur comes in.

another seal in the intensive care unit
Elizabeth's class.:)
 It was so interesting to learn about the different species of seals, and what the workers at the sanctuary do to help rehabilitate the seals to release them again.  Many of the seals that come to the sanctuary have been caught in ghost nets ( nets cut off of fishing boats and left to drift around in the oceans).  These nets can cause fatal injuries to th animals who are stuck in them.  In June, Elizabeth's class will have the opportunity to adopt a seal that has been rescued and sponsor it until it can be released into the sea again.  A few luck y students will be chosen to go along with their teacher to release the seal when it is fully healed.:) It was a great field trip to show these young learners about animal life and the fragility of it all.

I am glad I put my ' big girl" pants on and decided to drive for this field trip.:)


Mother's Day

 I want to take this opportunity to wish a belated mother's day on my blog to all of my family and friends back home who are mothers.  And,  a very special wish for a Happy Mother's day to my own mom who is fighting her battle with cancer with such courage and laughter.:)  She has been my number one teacher in what a mother should be.:)

Another Mother's Day came and went and this time, I was lucky enough to spend it in Holland.:)  I am blessed to have a husband who cooked not only breakfast, but lunch and dinner, but  he was thoughtful enough to give me a gift to always remember our time in Holland.:)  He bought traditional wooden Dutch shoes and strung them together to make a flower planter.:)  When the wooden shoes start to wear out, it is a typical Dutch thing to hang them on the wall and use them for flowers.:)

 Jeremy made a birdhouse for me at school and Elizabeth made me a small jewelry box.:)

The rain held off a bit in the morning and we went out to Paterswoldemeer
 You know we had to walk by the windmill.:)
 All in all a very nice and relaxing Dutch Mother's Day.:)
I hope all of my friends and loved ones back in the US had a wonderful mother's day!  It truly is one of the hardest jobs a woman can have, but one that I truly love.:)

Tot zeins!