Our school is a forerunner in the field of internationalization. Some years ago we introduced Early Foreign Language Education from group 1.
We link this language education to the international character of our school population.
In 2016, we won the Orange Carpet Award van EP-Nuffic
for our internationalization effort.
Thanks to a subsidy from the City of Amsterdam, we recently appointed an internationalization coordinator. This will connect the school even more strongly with developments in the immediate vicinity of the school (Zuidas).
Pupils from the upper years run annual short internships at companies in the neighborhood such as KLM and Albert Heijn. We work together with companies and institutions on the Zuidas, including ABN-AMRO, Accenture and Vrije Universiteit. Pupils participate in the program council of the circular pavilion on the Zuidas. Accenture supports the development of computational thinking skills with coding lessons. In special projects during and after school, students gain experience with entrepreneurship.
Group 4 attended a lecture on micro economics at Vrije Universiteit after the kids had succesfully opened up their own second-hand clothes shop within te school.
We anually organise an exchange with the Japanese School of Amsterdam
Through Skype and by 'oldfashioned' mail pupils also exchange with schools in Great Britain and elsewhere in Europe. The language of communication in these exchanges is English. We provide English language education from group 1 (four-year-olds). All teachers have therefore been certified at a CEF B2 level (Common European Framwork of Reference Languages).
In the community centre located in the schoolbuilding, our pupils regulary perform songs or poems during the 'neighborhood lunch'. We highly value intergenerational contacts. Elderly people from the area around the school were invited for a tablet lesson in school for instance.
Art and culture
We explicitly include the cultural possibilities a city like Amsterdam offers in our eductional programme.
Artistis, theater companies and musicians visit the school regularly for workshops and we frequently visit museums and theaters for dance or music performances. Artists also contribute to our Merkelbach Academy after-school programme.
History of the city and neighbourhood
With the adoption of the Dachau monument at Amsterdamse Bos, pupils from group 8 are anualy involved in the commemoration of war victims. Thet assist with the laying of the commemorative wreaths, share flowers and one of them reads a self-written poem. An impressive experience every year.
To celebrate our 50th anniversary, pupils created their own museum together with professional artists. Earlier we also created our own opera on the development of the neighbourhood and school.
Healthy and sustainable living
From group 6 onwards our pupils grow their own vegetables on a piece of land at the Aemstel schoolgardens along the Amstel river.
They deliver bags full of delicious fresh products such as lettuce, carrots, kale and new potatoes.
Pupils from group 3 and 4 have partly planted our green playground and maintain it themselves aswell.
These 'urban farmers' had already grown vegetables and herbs during a succesfull Merkelbach Academy course. Their harvest was turned into a delicious salad for all kids to enjoy during the annual end-of-year lunch at long tables on the playground.