Hillcroft gets into the ‘Samba’ spirit

Visiting Brazilian teachers were entertained by a football chant when they visited Hillcroft School in Newtownabbey recently. INNT 48-455-CON
Visiting Brazilian teachers were entertained by a football chant when they visited Hillcroft School in Newtownabbey recently. INNT 48-455-CON
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Hillcroft School in Newtownabbey enjoyed a carnival atmosphere when it hosted a visit by 11 Brazilian teachers recently.

Samba dancing and football chants were the order of the day as pupils and staff welcomed their Latin American visitors.

Pupils dressed in green and yellow football jerseys - some painted the Brazilian flag on their faces - while others opted for flamboyant flowers or feathers in their hair.

A special assembly included singing, dancing and Brazil’s national anthem, with a drum circle getting the party in full swing.

The teachers were visiting Northern Ireland as part of British Council’s “Connecting Classrooms” programme, which offers funding for reciprocal study visits between schools in the United Kingdom and international partners.

Hillcroft, Mossley Primary School and Belfast Model School for Girls, are partnered with three similar schools from the Piracicaba region of São Paulo.

Hillcroft is partnered with the city’s Centro de Reabilitação, Mossley Primary is linked with EE Honorato Fausti while the Girls’ Model is linked to a secondary school, Eduir Benedito Scarpari Prof.

The visitors also met pupils and teachers at Mossley Primary and Belfast Girls’ Model as well as officials from the Department of Education to learn more about Northern Ireland’s school system, They also toured Stormont during a week’s stay.

Adam Smith, vice principal of Hillcroft School, has been credited by the British Council with launching the “Connencting Classrooms” in Northern Ireland.

Mr. Smith and two other teachers from the school were joined by teachers from Mossley Primary and Girls’ Model for a study visit to Sao Paulo in October.

He said: “The Brazilians gave us such an amazing welcome when we went over that we wanted to do our best to give Northern Ireland a good show. Luckily, the quick turnaround between the visits has meant that all three Belfast schools have had to keep the momentum going, which has seen everyone get right behind the project.

“We wanted to bring an international dimension to the school and embrace global learning. So, after consulting with the British Council in 2012, we opted for the ‘Connecting Classrooms’ programme.”