Annemie Boonen

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De Appeltuin Freinet school
coordinating and hosting organisation for EVS

De Appeltuin is a Freinet-school in an urban environment. The school is located in the centre of Leuven, a university city with approximately 30.000 (national and international) students.
We try to teach our children tolerance, democracy, openness towards the world around them and awareness of them being part of a greater European context. That is why we have started inviting foreign students in 1997. As the experience was such a success for both parties, we have continued doing so ever since. From a very young age we give our pupils the chance to meet, live and work with somebody from a foreign country on a daily basis and in a familiar context. By doing so we are convinced this experience stays with them for the rest of their lives. The same goes for the volunteers. We offer them an multicultural and creative environment in which they can develop individual knowledge and skills in an active and participatory way (see also principles of Freinet education). We stimulate creativity and personal initiatives in our pupils and with the volunteers. We have noticed that in several cases the stay at our school helped the volunteers to find an orientation in life as quite a few of them went on to become a teacher, inspired by the positive experience with Freinet-techniques they had in our school. Quite some volunteers also keep in touch with parents/teachers/friends they have met at the Appeltuin

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