Grandmothers are especially popular in one region in Spain where they share stories of their lives, experiences and traditions with nursery and primary school pupils. The women are part of Grandmothers talk, an innovative educational project at the Colegio Santa Ana de Buñuel nursery and primary school in Navarra.
Started in the 2012-13 school year, the program has enlisted women born between 1928 and 1950, most who have lived in Buñuel all their lives. They teach the children basic skills, depending on the age group of the class. These include language skills, handling material in a journalistic way, and using digital supports such as sound archives, and photo and video cameras.
The connecting of generations has brought these elders closer to the school and has enabled students to acquire skills and cultural awareness that could otherwise have been lost.
For their part, the children have happily listened to the tales, songs, poems, history and traditions that the grandmothers heard in their childhood from their own parents and grandparents.
In addition to the chats in the classroom, each year group produces a publication or a programme with the information they have received. To do so, they must learn more about the media through specific modules and visits to local radio and television stations and newspapers.
“By preparing these visits, we looked not only at the content but also the techniques: note-taking, decor, make-up, clothes, cables, sound and… the last-minute nerves essential to staying alert, keeping up the pace and, of course, ensuring that everything goes alright!” said one of the pupils.
Technical, social and citizenship skills
The project’s greatest success in the teachers’ eyes, however, was the development of the social and citizenship skills. “Respecting all differences is crucial,” said a teacher. “Showing respect and valuing the elderly, as well as highlighting the role of older women in their society, has been fundamental.”
At the same time, the project has encouraged the participation of families and the entire community through a range of activities including:
- The creation, by the teachers, of the Grandmothers talk blog as part of the new technology training
- The organisation of the Book Week, animated readings and the grandmothers’ theatre piece, “Excursion with Caperucita”
- A drawing and short story competition on the subject of “Grandmothers”
- References to grandmothers during the Day Against Violence Against Women (25 November), and festivities such as Christmas
- Early childhood project: adaptation of the project for the nursery school pupils
All the grandmothers agree on the advice they want to give to the children: study, train, respect your elders, and take advantage of the time you have to become valuable members of society.
For more information about the project, check out the blog: las abuelas cuentan (Grandmothers Talk blog, in Spanish)