We head into Primary School for our next Teacher Feature, bringing you a delightful interview with Ms Katherine Blundell, our Year 1 Class Teacher and Primary Art Coordinator.

Joining the BISL team back in 2014, Ms Blundell has become an integral member of our Primary team with her calm positive energy and real team spirit. With a passion for art, Ms Blundell is an advocate of the importance of the Arts in education, and has extensive experience in working with young children, as well as children and adults with special education needs, and always adopts a cross-curricular approach to embedding art and creativity into all areas of school life for her students, making their experience fun and challenging at the same time. As our Primary Art Coordinator, she has led various creative projects and competitions around the school, and every year looks forward to introducing our Year 6s to Visual Art as a distinct subject as they transition into Secondary School.

How did your journey as a teacher begin?

Teaching, assisting children and adults and generally providing knowledge and support in a caring role is something I hold as a continuing theme in life. My background is in the Arts, and at the end of my studies I became very aware that I have a preference and skill for guiding others towards finding their ideas and assisting them with construction with my technical knowledge. My mother was a preschool teacher, so for much of my childhood she shared ideas with me, and from time to time I helped her at the Preschool. As a teenager, I volunteered with the children's charity 'Barnardo's' for disabled children in my free time. It was this combination of caring, guiding and teaching, that eventually led me to Slovenia. I began helping disabled adults, creating workshop activities and acting as a carer, then worked with an associated children's charity as a workshop creator, before coming to the area of teaching in a Slovenian Primary school. Last but not least, this led me to the place I have come to know so well in the past 6 years: BISL.

Why did you decide to specialise in Primary education?

Early Years and Primary aged children is the age I have had the most experience with to date. I would say this is the age I currently work with, but I am not fixed or decided upon this set age range, because one of the things I find most inspiring is when children of different ages can interact and can each show how their specific qualities have their benefits. Be that the bountiful energy of our Year 1 students with the dependable yet playful Year 6s, or our patient Year 9 students reading to the inquisitive Year 3s and 4s. Each can find inspiration from the other, and as a result each inspire me.

What makes BISL such a unique place to work?

BISL as a work environment gives me the opportunity to work with children and staff from around the world in the beautiful land of Slovenia! I really enjoy the way I am able to get an understanding of how we all look at the world from a different perspective. At times, it can be easy to get into the habit of thinking that we all look at the world from the same perspective. Living in Europe, we might speak different languages, but as westernised cultures we still all basically think the same...Not from what I have seen! The students in particular surprise and amaze me everyday with their view of the world, they also begin to notice and appreciate this in their peers as they grow, which is inspiring to see.

How would you describe a typical day at BISL?

I would describe a typical day as action packed, fun and thought provoking. My typical day is currently spend thoroughly absorbed in the lives of my sweet Year 1 students from the beginning to the end of the school day. Teaching children to read is something that I find particularly exciting. It is an honour to begin a child's reading journey into a written world, one which can open the door to finding their own passions, and deepening their understanding through reading. Maths was something I found almost a revelation to realise that it can also be made fun! Songs, actions, teamwork activities, and individual mastery learning are all things that bring a sparkle to children's eyes. Then last but not least, I teach 'Topic' lessons, with a multitude of options for focus, based around: arts, sciences, technology, history and geography, in project themes. What's not to like there, I think I am as excited as the children as I guide them through these lessons!

Why is the experience of an international education important for a student?

I believe knowledge comes from sharing, and if we have many viewpoints on approaching the same subject, we can become better problem solvers, which is an essential life skill. Combine young minds with different 'international' backgrounds and experiences, and I believe there will be a greater probability of intensifying and expanding on knowledge. Not only the influence of different cultural ideas, but also the many languages spoken can have an influence on the development of a child's mind. In an ever increasingly global community, international schools can bring this borderless world view to life and into the minds of children from an early age.

More from our Teacher Feature series