200 years with Zuid-Willemsvaart through the eyes of children: ‘Woooowww’

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VEGHEL | How did the place where you were born come about? What choices have people made in the past so that your living environment is as it is? And how does it affect you, the people around you, your social environment? These and many other issues are addressed in the comprehensive curriculum around 200 years with Zuid-Willemsvaart. The students in Meierijstad dive into it these months.

“Good morning, I’m Bernard Goudriaan. I’m an engineer and I’m the son of the man who designed this canal.” The children from group 7/8 in the primary school Maria ter Heide look expectantly at the man with the bowler hat, black coat and long oil stick. This morning they are on ‘De Vaart Vertelt’, a boat trip in collaboration with Meierijstad Library, which leads from Noordkade to the inner container terminal Veghel and back. Actor Bernard is full of stories and actively involves the students. “Why would you dig such a canal at all?” he asks. And: “How do you build a bridge over the height difference?” It always causes wrinkled faces and spontaneous reactions. “How would you build such a canal?” “With an excavator.” “Well, they were not there then. It was dug by hand. “” Woooowww… “

Rick Terwindt

At the terminal is the city poet Rick Terwindt, who, among other things, tackles the waste problem, recites a poem and challenges the children to come up with two lines of poetry that they can ‘shout out’ in a container. “Students will remember this morning, it will stay with them for the rest of their lives,” says teacher Judith. “Besides, it’s a different way of learning and thinking for them. Poetry makes some children uncomfortable. They do not really know what to do with it. But in the end, they are the ones who come up with the most beautiful words. ” “This is different from learning from a book,” confirms one of her students. A classmate adds: “Bernard said men and women were not paid the same for the construction of the canal. What I was really surprised about is that it still is today!” “I thought it was hard to do it by hand,” says one boy. “What a job, not to realize.”

Social relations and cooperation
In addition to ‘De Vaart Tells’, the escape box is a popular activity in schools. The students in group 8 in the primary school De Heijcant are working on this this morning. As the clock ticks and the tension rises, the children learn about King William I’s time. Social relationships, different interests, cooperation and the history of the channel: it all happens. The debriefing provides the necessary coherence. “Was King Willem I really good to his people?”, Asks Master Reinout. The class is silent for a moment: this question makes them think clearly. When the box opens after 75 minutes, a modest cheer is heard.

Insight today and tomorrow
The boat trip and the getaway box are two of the many activities around 200 years of Zuid-Willemsvaart for primary school and secondary education. The spider in the web is Cultuurkade Meierijstad, in close collaboration with educational institutions, cultural partners and the municipality. In addition to the above activities, there are also percussion workshops, theater and visual arts. The common thread is past – present – future: expanding experiences from history to insights that are still relevant today and tomorrow. “Children learn so much from this,” says Fieke Barten from Cultuurkade. “They learn how their living environment has formed and that there are different interests in a society. But also that they themselves can change something, that they can design their own future. Everyone involved in this will forever look differently at their own environment. You are also forming in that moment. ”

Until the summer holidays, the schools are busy with 200 years of Zuid-Willemsvaart. If it is for Cultuurkade, the program can also be used again and again in the coming years. “This is the start, we hope it continues to grow,” says Fieke Barten. “The canal is part of our environment, so it will always remain valuable.” She’s not the only one who thinks so. “If you want to motivate children, you have to do it like this,” says Master Reinout van De Heijcant. “How cool is it if you can get started on this topic this way?”

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