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2020 blog of preparation and visit

Saturday 1st February


Sports celebration day!  The field was ready, the sun was shining and the children started to arrive. There was a similar number to our school so it was very busy.  They were all given breakfast when they arrived and then we sang Walking in the Light.  It sounded great!


When they had all eaten the activities started - parachute games, sack races, skipping, tug of war, ball games and three-legged races.  So much fun and happy faces.  It was great!  During lunch the children were entertained by a magician and a ventriloquist.  They  loved it, and Mrs Hodgson was asked to help the magician with one of his tricks.


When we had finished and said our goodbyes we returned to the hotel.  We both had  something on our hands (can you remember what it is called?) and Mrs W-B did a bit more shopping.  Mrs H couldn’t go anywhere because her hands needed to dry!


So this is our last post from Kolkata.  Our alarms will go off at 4.45 am tomorrow to get us to the airport ready to fly home.  We will see you all on Tuesday.


Still image for this video


Still image for this video

Friday 31st January 

Today we visited a project called Brace Bridge.  It is a community that live at the side of railway tracks.  There are a lot of people living there who do not have very much at all, but in the middle of it all there is a new school.  Children as young as 2 1/2 attend and they were having so much fun learning phonics this morning.  They had to take a ping pong ball out of a bag and say the sound that was on the ball.  They loved it! There is also a project where girls learn to do the most beautiful sewing and I took a picture of one young lady’s practice piece.  


This afternoon we were at Scott Lane again.  The children showed us some beautiful dancing and singing.  Anisha who was there last year but has now moved on to another school came dressed in her sari to dance for us.  Indrani taught Mrs W-B and I a short Indian dance. It was fun! We taught them some actions for things that we do every day and played some games so they could repeat the words to us.  We taught them the Walking in the Light song and it will be amazing to hear the children from all the schools here singing it together tomorrow at the sports day. Before we left we gave them the Lego and they absolutely loved it!  They were very quickly building towers and other shapes.


Tomorrow is sports day so we’re off to get a good sleep.  Night!  


Scott Lane Entertains!

The Children show us their dancing skills - we need to learn this song!

Scott Lane Entertains Part 2!

Traditional dancing - we need to learn this too!

Daily Routine to the tune of London's Burning!

Thursday 30th January

We had a great time this morning at the training, and lots of laughter with the brilliant team of Indian teachers. It was lovely to see them again and we sang the ‘Walking in the Light’ song as preparation for doing that tomorrow in school and looked at the new phonics4india site which will support the teaching here. We also taught the same mini-lesson to 6 groups of teachers - by the time we finished we were singing in a round and having a lot of fun.

This afternoon we did a spot of shopping and found an amazing fair trade shop called Sasha. We will be heading back there again before we leave!

It was a delight to chat to lots of St John’s pupils this afternoon - a big thank you to everybody at St John’s who is interrupting their lessons to WhatsApp Kolkata! We miss you - thank you for your beautiful smiles and friendly faces!

Tomorrow we are intending to go to Brace Bridge. Of course things may change but at present we think we will be there for a short while in the morning, hopefully visiting the Women’s Empowerment Project and the school. 

In the afternoon we will be at Scott Lane again and hope to see both classes in their separate rooms. Tomorrow is Lego day! The children will be learning a lot of other things of course, but we know how much the St John’s children are looking forward to the Scott Lane children enjoying their new gift - one which comes from so many individual contributions and is sent with so much love. Goodnight St John’s!

Wednesday 29th January


Would you believe it... we woke up this morning and it was raining! It didn’t last for long and it was still quite warm but we certainly were not expecting it.


Today it has been the festival of the Goddess of Learning.  Perhaps you can find out her name and what she looks like.  Because of the festival the schools have been closed and there has been a national holiday so we had a trip to a rural area called Diamond Harbour.  Sadly there were no diamonds there for us! It is an area on the eastern side of the River Hooghly where the river meets the Bay of Bengal. It took us a couple of hours to get there but when we arrived we were welcomed by some local girls and children who treated us to a performance of Indian dancing.  It was lovely to watch and they looked beautiful in their colourful saris.  Mrs Winson-Bushy and I are very keen to learn some dance moves and are hoping the children will show us some when we are in school again on Friday. 

Diamond Harbour sends a hello!

Uploaded by St Johns C of E Primary on 2020-01-30.

You asked us for dancing....

and isn't this just the cutest? We are welcomed to Diamond Harbour on the day of celebration of the Goddess of Education.

Tuesday 28th - Mrs WB writes...

Today we really saw Kolkata.

We began by driving to Hastings as the teachers there were about to start teaching. Some of you will remember from last year that this is the school in the underpass. We could see the children entering the school and could see what a huge difference the school made there. We will possibly never be the same.


In the morning after this we went to Nari Dana, where many of the mothers of pupils at CRS schools make clothes. Mrs WB will be wearing some new clothes in the next few out for them! 


The afternoon was spent at....Scott Lane! It was a total joy, and the children adore their little dogs. You may like to see them receiving them. Mrs WB is the one behind the camera, so please excuse wobbles. 

...and Mrs H writes...


This morning we visited the Nari Dana project where ladies learn to sew and embroider beautiful items to sell.  We had a look at lots of things - bags, scarves, table cloths and much more and bought some beautiful items.  The money will help the ladies to provide food for their families.


This afternoon we went to Scott Lane.  It was so lovely to see the teachers again today and, of course, the children. The little girl, Noyna, that Mrs Hodgson really liked last year came running to her and gave her a great big hug. Some of the children from last year are too old to attend Scott Lane now and have moved to other schools.  One of the girls who did beautiful drawings and was a good dancer has also left the school but came to see us in her new uniform.  She looked very smart.  

The children enjoyed listening to the Brown Bear story and repeating the phrases to us in English.  They then all made bear masks and were quite happy tearing tissue paper and sharing glue sticks.  We were given some beautiful gifts that we will show you when we get home.  We have so much to share with you. The time went so quickly we were sad to be leaving,  but we are going again on Friday when we will take the Lego for them.  We will upload a video of today but the internet is very slow tonight and is struggling to do that at the moment.


We are enjoying being able to speak to some of you during the day and will keep trying when we are at the hotel at the right time.  Good night for now and more tomorrow.

The St John’s dogs arrive in their new home

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Singalonga St John's!

Is it a huge chipmunk? Is it a baby stripy squirrel? What do you think?

Chipmunk? Squirrel? It doesn't arrive in the picture until the end but it is worth the wait! Where do you think we were when we took this film? How do you know?

Training, with Mrs H and Mrs WB going for it!

CPD Training Day...This Bear is Your Bear!

Monday 27th January

What a day! It’s been busy, tiring but amazing!  Being reunited with the teachers from Scott Lane was just great - big hugs and smiles all round.  It was lovely for them to meet Mrs Winson-Bushby who they recognised from the pictures we have sent and also the time we managed to video call them in school. We have shared activities with teachers from all the schools here that are supported by the project and then planned what we will teach with them tomorrow when we go to Scott Lane.  Mrs Hodgson was very excited about seeing Indrani and Ashru this morning and is even more excited (if possible!) to be seeing the children tomorrow.  
We are both learning how to write our names in Bengali which is pretty and will take some time to do off by heart.  But we will try really hard.

Between us we have just spoken to Mr Hallam’s class, Miss Thompson’s and the KEW Club which is great and amazing that technology allows us to do that.  Lovely to see you all. Will try other classes over the next few days - teachers keep your phones on!

This afternoon we went to the Mother House, where Mother Theresa and her missionaries lived. It is always interesting to glimpse the real life of somebody so famous and well loved and the simple life Mother Theresa chose was very clearly shown. Mother Theresa had one pen and one pencil at any given time, and would not ask for another until her one pen or pencil was finished with. Her Nobel Peace prize was sitting in the corner!


Sunday pics

Sunday 26th January

We have had an amazing day! We started off at the Cathedral with a beautiful service which focused on St Peter and the idea of equality. After that we had some lunch and went off to see the Victoria Memorial, at the same time as half of Kolkata :)  ( - by the you know how many that would be? We were surprised...)

It has been an absolute pleasure to meet the staff here, we have the feeling we have made lots of new friends! 
This evening was a real high point as we went on a Ganges River Cruise. More later!

...We are back! We thought you would like a different photo of the cathedral from the one posted last year, to make a change, and were taking one through the trees when we noticed some little animals darting up and down the trees...Can you see one on the tree trunk? What is it?! There is no answer at the bottom for this one,at least not until we know what it is!


Saturday 25th 21:13 (3.43 pm your time)

We have visited the Eco Park and saw just a small amount of this bright, colourful busy park.  Because it is a festival day it was very busy with lots of families having picnics and children playing in the playgrounds.  The roads are full of different types of vehicles - tuk-tuks, taxis, new cars, old buses, 🛺  (does anyone know what that is?)

All of the St John’s dogs arrived safely, and this evening we took one out to dinner - he liked it so much he decided to stay....under the table! The only hitch was that Mrs W-B had to go and round him the rooftop restaurant 9 storeys up! She is now even more tired than she already was!

We are now ready for our beds!  

In the above photos you can see children playing on roundabouts, slides and swings just like you can at the triangle park.  The beautiful golden statue has chains hanging underneath it.  Do you know what these could be for? There were stalls selling balloons and bubbles.  Our cheeky dog was choosing what he wanted to eat off the menu but didn’t find any dog biscuits on there!  The picture of the tall building is lit up in 3 colours - can you see what they are, and is there anything on display in school that has the same colours?


If you know the answer to this question, or any of the others we ask, you can write it down and give it to Miss Thompson and she will let you know if you are correct.  If you are looking at this as class make a class decision and write that down.  We look forward to seeing what you come up with 🙂

Saturday 25th January


We have arrived! It has been a long, tiring journey - 7 hours and 3782 miles to Dubai, a quick dash through Dubai airport and then 4 hours and 5924 miles to Kolkata!  We landed at 07:00 and then had to wait in very long queues at passport and visa control.  It is now 11:12 and we are unpacking and having a nap before the rest of this adventure continues.

Mrs WB tests out her uploading for Kolkata!

Uploaded by St Johns C of E Primary on 2020-01-22.

Tuesday 21st January


3 Days to go!


The children have been making short videos on the Ipad to take to Scott Lane next week - today Mrs Higgs' Year 3 class recorded the lunchtime prayer, whilst Mrs Allen's Year 4 class recorded a message to the Scott Lane children about where they live. We are looking forward to showing these videos off next week! Meanwhile the Lego has continued to come in - many thanks to all; we will stop collecting now, as our cases are getting very full!

Monday 20th January




This morning the children who come to the Kolkata Club presented an assembly to the rest of the school - both infants and juniors.  They told everyone what myself  and Mrs Winson-Bushby will be doing whilst in Kolkata next week.


This evening we have been sorting out the resources that we are taking with us, and starting to pack our bags. The challenge will be to keep our luggage below 30kg... There are books, pencils, Belper mugs for the teachers, story spoons and more.  Oh and we need to fit some clothes in there too!

Thank you all so much for your Lego donations.  There is a wonderful variety of pieces, colours, people, wheels and shapes.  We will enjoy sharing these with the children at Scott Lane and will be sure to take some photos.

Just some of the things we are taking to Kolkata in Mrs Hodgson’s bag

Tuesday 7th January 2020


Countdown to Kolkata.... 16 days!



We would like to take a box of Lego with us to Kolkata for the children at Scott Lane.  With this in mind we are inviting the children at St John’s to each donate one piece of Lego as we would love to take something that represents as many households as possible.  For now we are suggesting 1 piece per child (with a maximum of 10 pieces) - to be handed in at the school office in an envelope marked ‘Lego Kolkata’ before 17th January. There is no obligation at all to participate in this project, but it would be great if you can.

Wednesday 27th November 2019


On Sunday 23rd November, four children from school went to St Peter’s church to talk about the school link with Kolkata.  Suri has made a box so that children can write questions and make suggestions for Mrs Hodgson and Mrs Winson-Bushby to take to Kolkata in January 2020.  Emily and Xanthe told the people at church about the KEW club and what we do in our French lessons.  For a few weeks the classes have been watching the 2019 blog and practicing writing Kolkata in the way people who live in Kolkata do. Mrs Winson-Bushby gave the junior classes some pictures of Mr Averis and Mrs Hodgson in Kolkata that they had to describe. The KEW club is for children who are interested in learning more about Kolkata, being Eco aware and learning more about Well-being.  As well as talking to the people at church, Emily, Xanthe, Faye and Suri taught the adults how to write ‘star’ in Bengali as it is near to Christmas.  Can you find out how to do this? If you have a go, bring it to show Mrs Hodgson or Mrs Winson-Bushby.


written by Xanthe and Emily