Just before the start of the Chrismas holidays last week, the children at Gozo College Zebbug Primary were given the opportunity to actively participate in an educational outing to the village of Ghajnsielem.
The rationale was to give a wider exposure of taking healthy decisions, appreciation of local history and creativity as well as the importance of local and fresh, geniune products.
During the guided activities outside the classroom, Wirt Ghawdex volunteers explained and illustrated the history of St. Cecilia chapel, the oldest chapel in Gozo dating back to Medieval times.
Once in the centre of Ghajnsielem, children visited a local, third generation family-run bakery where they met members of the baker’s family and had an explanation of the bread making process. Before leaving the bakery, every child was presented with a freshly baked bun, specially made for children.
Thanks to the help of all the teaching staff, a short village core walk followed in which children were told the story of Anglu Grech in the Apparition Square, the corner statue of Our Lady, the nineteenth century church and the building of the new Gothic-Lombard style church.
This activity was followed by another targeted visit to the Sculpture Gallery where all children were welcomed by the local artist Joe Xuereb. Inspired by the neolithic period of the Maltese islands, Mr Xuereb creatively makes use of the soft globigerina limestone of Gozo to create some really touching figures depicting timeless values and emotions. Children visited the gallery, workshop and the garden where they had an opportunity to see both the product and the process; and the artist at work who had also time to answer children’s interesting questions.
From small figures made from our local stone, the children moved to the huge stone-built church dedicated to Our Lady of Loreto, now also running on clean energy, thanks to EU funded photovoltaic panels. Children were briefed with the church history and Marseille handmade titular statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Loreto strongly connected to the outbreak of cholera in 1865 which carried away 254 persons and Ghajnsielem was the only village without casualties.
Leaving the church, children paid a short visit to a local gym where they were encouraged to eat healthy food and do exercise. The children were given information on the basic functions of various cardiovascular equipment aimed at keeping our heart healthy.
The Christmas themed outing for all children reached its peak by going to lunch together in a local restaurant. Children’s transport was kindly provided by EU funds, courtesy of MEUSAC.