Where in the World is Village School?

Can you name the Country with the Clues we provide? Each day a video clue will be posted right here, and your guesses can be placed in the box by the large map on the way to the gym at Village School. Click on the photo and see the video for a brand new clue. Be sure to check back Monday through Thursday. The Mystery Country will be revealed on Fridays during morning announcements! Have fun learning about other countries and where they are on our map!

May 30th-June 3, 2016

We've landed in a country that is filled with vibrant cities and two of those vibrant cities are predominantly French-speaking. It’s also crossed by the Rocky Mountains and home to vast swaths of protected wilderness. The land of vast distances and rich natural resources, this country became a self-governing dominion in 1867, while retaining ties to the British crown. Economically and technologically, the nation has developed in parallel with the US, its neighbor to the south across the world's longest international border. 

This country faces the political challenges of meeting public demands for quality improvements in health care, education, social services, and economic competitiveness. This country also aims to develop its diverse energy resources while maintaining its commitment to the environment.

This country is under a federal parliamentary democracy, a constitutional monarchy, and is a Commonwealth realm

The Head of State: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952);represented by Governor General David JOHNSTON (since 1 October 2010)Head of Government: Prime Minister Justin Pierre James TRUDEAU (Liberal Party) (since 4 November 2015)

Cabinet: Federal Ministry chosen by the prime minister usually from among members of his own party sitting in Parliament Elections/appointments: the monarchy is hereditary; governor general appointed by the monarch on the advice of the prime minister for a 5-year term; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or majority coalition in the House of Commons generally designated prime minister by the governor general.

This country's public education system consists of schools from Kindergarten to Grade 12.   All public schools are provincially accredited, follow a standard curriculum, employ only government certified teachers and are publicly funded. While the education system in each province contains many similarities, each has its own curriculum and guidelines to reflect the culture and history of its region.

One of the many culinary gems to come out of the French part of this country, poutine is perhaps one of the country’s most outlandish and defining dishes. Several small towns in Quebec claim to have invented this celebrated dish (or side dish), and it’s said to date back to the 1950s. A real poutine uses peppery meat-based gravy and “squeaky” curds on fries.

Maple Syrup

In New Brunswick the celebration of the maple sugar season is a springtime tradition. From mid-March to late April, sugar maple trees are tapped to collect the sweet sap. The sap is then boiled to a syrup concentrated to at least 66% sugar. Up to 40 liters of maple sap are needed to make 1 litre of pure maple syrup.

This country's bacon is from the pork loin and sliced thick or thin, and has a sweet flavor, is tender, and with a juicy texture even when fried.

May 23 through May 27th Adventure

The Cathedral Ghent
We've left Finland traveling 1,030.7 miles southwest (1658.7 Kilometers / 895 Nautical Miles) to our new Western European Country destination that is approximately the size of Maryland.  
Despite its small size, it is the main trading partner of India along with the UK (partly because of the diamond and steel industries).

This country is known for its medieval old towns, Flemish Renaissance architecture and is the international headquarters of the European Union and NATO. 

The country is divided into 2 distinctive multilingual regions: Dutch-speaking Flanders to the north and French-speaking Wallonia to the south. The bilingual capital, Brussels, is home to ornate guildhalls at Grand-Place and an art nouveau-influenced European Quarter.
The Capital City
The Flag

Geographic coordinates: 50 50 N, 4 00 E
Capitals: City of Brussels
Population: 11.2 million (2013) World Bank
King: Philippe of Belgium
Government Type: Federal Parliamentary Democracy under Constitutional Monarchy 
Continent: Europe
Official languages: French, Dutch, German

Tax levels in this country are among the highest in the world, with about 40% of gross earnings given up in tax for a single-income family. A study for 2005 reveal that this country had the highest average income tax rate out of 30 OECD countries. Total taxation represents 45.6 % of the country's GDP. Inheritance tax can reach up to 80%. The Royal family alone receives 12 million € of tax-payers' money each year.

Environment - current issues:
the environment is exposed to intense pressures from human activities: urbanization, dense transportation network, industry, extensive animal breeding and crop cultivation; air and water pollution also have repercussions for its neighboring countries

Natural hazards: flooding is a threat along rivers and in areas of reclaimed coastal land, protected from the sea by concrete dikes

Agriculture - products:
sugar beets, fresh vegetables, fruits, grain, tobacco; beef, veal, pork, milk
The Arnolphini Wedding (1434)
One of three panels 

engineering and metal products, motor vehicle assembly, transportation equipment, scientific instruments, processed food and beverages, chemicals, base metals, textiles, glass, petroleum

This country's painters are credited to have invented oil painting in the 15th century (probably Jan van Eyck). 

The Education system

The language of education is Dutch in the Dutch region, French in the French region and German in the German region. In the Brussels-Capital Region, the languages of education are Dutch or French, as the parents choose. 
The language of education is Dutch. However, if the child’s mother tongue is French, and if the head of the family resides in one of these municipalities, the child may attend a French-language school.

Primary Education

There are 3 different kinds of schools in Belgium, namely community schools, subsidized public schools, and subsidized free schools which are normally affiliated to the Catholic Church. Private home education is permissible too, and these numbers are rising slowly. Education is mandatory between ages 6 and age 18. Following an almost universal period of voluntary pre-school, children enter primary school for a period of 6 years. There a curriculum based on reading, writing and basic mathematics encourages interest in a broader range of subjects too.

Secondary Education

Secondary schooling unfolds through 3 phases. The 1st one creates a solid general basis, while the 2nd and 3rd ones increase in specificity. Overlaid across these are 4 different genres of schools, namely general secondary schools, technical secondary schools, vocational secondary education schools, and art secondary education institutions. Over and above these, students with disabilities can follow special syllabi.

Vocational Education

In Flemish-speaking areas of this country, ongoing vocational education and training provides a good spread of opportunities for further and second-chance adult education. Policy is dynamic, and the system is accordingly under continuous reform.

Tertiary Education

Belgium EducationAnybody with a qualifying secondary school diploma may enroll at any one of several universities, although additional entrance examinations are generally required by faculties of civil engineering, architecture, medical and dental sciences, nautical sciences and fine arts. 

The oldest Flemish university is the University of Ghent illustrated here. It was founded by King William 1st of the Netherlands in 1817, and currently has a student body in excess of 30,000, plus approximately 7,100 staff in total employed in 11 faculties.

The Food


Croquettes are adored by the locals and these are completely different from the potato filled variety served as a simple side dish. The two most popular traditional croquettes have a thick and creamy cheese Belgian dishesor grey shrimp filling. Most menus offer both either as a starter or a main course.

You’ll find croquettes served almost everywhere in this country and the quality comes down to the filling. As a main dish they are usually served with a salad, fried parsley and frites.

Belgian dishes

Sole Meunière

The country’s number one fish dish. The best type of fish for classic dish is what Brits call the Dover Sole. As far as Belgians are concerned, they are just sole. Sharing the Channel is one thing, sharing their most cherished fish another.

Steak Frites

Belgian FoodWhen it comes to national dishes, steak frites is nearly on the same pedestal as moules frites. In specialist grill restaurants you will able to choose between different cuts of prime, domestic and even imported beef.

Let's not forget the illustrious  delicacy  the
Eclair, Belgian sweets


Gourmets will rush to the baker’s at lightning speed if there is a fresh batch of éclairs on offer. A coincidence? Not really; as éclair means lightning in the language of Voltaire.


May 16-May 20, 2016 We're back in Europe!

The Flag
Welcome to a majestic land covered more than 70% by forest. Known as Suomi in this country's native language it is mostly flat, with more than 50,000 lakes. 

Let's take an adventure to a land filled with deep, green forests, sparkling lakes and snowy landscapes.

It's geographic coordinates are
64º N, 26º E. 

This country gained it's independence from Russia on 6 December 1917 

Currency: Euro

Products: Barley, wheat, sugar beets, potatoes, dairy cattle, fish; metals, electronics, machinery, ships, paper, chemicals

Natural resources: timber, iron ore, copper, lead, zinc, chromite, nickel, gold, silver, limestone

Environment current issues:air pollution from manufacturing and power plants contributing to acid rain; water pollution from industrial wastes, agricultural chemicals; habitat loss threatens wildlife populations. 

Trade is important, with exports accounting for over one-third of GDP in recent years. (GDP or Gross Domestic Product is a broad measurement of a nation’s overall economic activity.)

We found out that this country is historically competitive in manufacturing - principally the wood, metals, engineering, telecommunications, and electronics industries.

It excels in the export of technology for mobile phones as well as promotion of startups in the ICT, gaming, clean tech, and biotechnology sectors.

Except for timber and several minerals, it depends on imports of raw materials, energy, and some components for manufactured goods. 

Because of its climate, agricultural development is limited to maintaining self-sufficiency in basic products. 

Forestry, an important export industry and provides a secondary occupation for the rural population

Interesting fact is that Reindeer is a major diet staple and is eaten domestically in a variety of ways like reindeer stew, reindeer roast, reindeer pate and reindeer pasta carbonara. Remember we found out that this country is known for it's many lakes. So it stands to reason that fish is another major food and even during the winter. Ice-fishing is a very popular past time. The fish found here are Whitefish, Herring, Salmon and the Artic Char. I wonder how good the sushi is?

Not exported but this country has some of the best chocolate in the world. The market is dominated by "Karl Fazer" which produces 65 million kilos of chocolate per year in a huge variety of flavors and all contain real milk and can be purchased in giant slabs. 

Since this country implemented a huge education reform 40 years ago, the school system has consistently come at the top for the international rankings for education systems. Teachers must hold a Master's Degree and the highly regarded field is compared to that of Doctors and Lawyers. They have four hours of classroom instruction and 2 days of professional development. The children had 75 minutes of recess less with less classroom instruction, no homework and no testing until High School age. 

This country is home to one of the most famous and unique hotel resorts in
all of Europe –
Kakslauttanen igloo village. You can stay in one of their amazing glass igloos over night while watching Northern Lights.

May 9-13, 2016 - Our NEW Destination

We've landed in the country that straddles the equator on South America’s west coast bordering the Pacific Ocean between Colombia and Peru. Its diverse landscape encompasses Amazon jungle, Andean highlands and the wildlife-rich of the Galápagos Islands. 

Compañia de Jesus cathedral
Compañia de Jesus cathedral

In the Andean foothills at an elevation of 2,850m, Quito, the capital, is known for its largely intact Spanish colonial center, decorated with 16th- and 17th-century palaces and churches including the ornate Compañía de Jesús cathedral

CapitalQuito     Largest City: Guayaquil
CurrencyUnited States Dollar

PresidentRafael CorreaPop15.74 million (2013) World Bank

Official language: Spanish

Administrative divisions: 24 provinces (provincias, singular - provincia); Azuay, Bolivar, Canar, Carchi, Chimborazo, Cotopaxi, El Oro, Esmeraldas, Galapagos, Guayas, Imbabura, Loja, Los Rios, Manabi, Morona-Santiago, Napo, Orellana, Pastaza, Pichincha, Santa Elena, Santo Domingo de los Tsachilas, Sucumbios, Tungurahua, Zamora-Chinchipe

This country is substantially dependent on its petroleum resources, which have accounted for more than half of the country's export earnings and approximately 25% of public sector revenues in recent years.

Agriculture Products: bananas, coffee, cocoa, rice, potatoes, cassava (manioc, tapioca), plantains, sugarcane; cattle, sheep, pigs, beef, pork, dairy products, fish, shrimp and balsa wood

Natural hazardsfrequent earthquakes; landslides; floods; periodic drought and itsvolcanic activity is concentrated along the Andes Mountains; Sangay (elev. 5,230 m), which erupted in 2010, is mainland is this country's most active volcano. It's additional historically active volcanoes in the Andes include Antisana, Cayambe, Chacana, Cotopaxi, Guagua Pichincha, Reventador, Sumaco, and Tungurahua. 

Fernandina (elev. 1,476 m), a shield volcano that last erupted in 2009, is the most active of the many Galapagos volcanoes. Additional historically active Galapagos volcanoes include Wolf, Sierra Negra, Cerro Azul, Pinta, Marchena, and Santiago.

Students at a school.
Elementary EducationThis country's constitution says that all children attend school for 9 years and that it is to be free. Although the primary school enrollment rate exceeds 95%, 25% of children will drop out by the end of the 5th grade.
It is believed that in approximately 1,088 primary schools with an average of 1.5 teachers per school are responsible for educating
an average of 63 pupils throughout 6 grades. 

The majority of schools require students to wear a uniform, but there are a few private schools that do not require uniforms. Requiring uniforms can make attending school expensive, especially at private schools. Most schools have two uniforms, one formal the other informal for physical education days.
School Uniforms at one school. 
Girls uniforms usually consist of a skirt, polo or button-down top, white socks and black shoes for the formal uniform. And a tee shirt and sweat pants for physical education. Private schools can be much more complicated with ties, special socks and shoes.
Boys uniforms normally means dress pants and a polo top. And the physical education uniform is very similar to the girls.

A School

The Food
The cuisine is diverse, varying with altitude, and associated agricultural conditions. Pork, chicken, beef, and cuy (guinea pig) are popular in the mountainous regions, and are served with a variety of carbohydrate-rich foods, especially rice, corn, and potatoes.
is claimed as their national dish. Stews of meat, plaintains, and root vegetables are the platos nacionales of several countries in Central America, South America, and the Caribbean: Colombian ajiaco, and the sancocho of the Dominican Republic, Colombia, and Panama.

May 2 - 6, 2016

We are in Southern Asia, bordering the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal, between Burma and Pakistan. This country actually dominates South Asian subcontinent and is near the Indian Ocean trade routes. This country is also home of the third largest mountains in the world (Kanchenjunga) lies on the border with Nepal.

This country has a vast variety of languages spoken. The most important language for national, political and commercial communication is Hindi. 41% of this country's population speaks Hindi. There are 14 other official languages and they are Bengali,Telugu, Marathi, Tamil, Urdu, Gujarati, Malayalam, Kannada, Oriya, Punjabi, Assamese, Kashmiri, Sindhi, and Sandskrit. Hindustani is a combination of Hindi and Urdu and widely spoken throughout this country's northern area but it is not an official language. 
English is this country's sub-official language.

Population: 1, 251, 695, 584 (July 2015 est.)

By the 19th century, Great Britain had become the dominant political power on the subcontinent. The British Indian Army played a vital role in both World Wars. Years of nonviolent resistance to British rule, led by Mohandas GANDHI and Jawaharlal NEHRU, eventually resulted in this country's independence, which was granted in 1947.

It's terrain is upland plain (Deccan Plateau) in the south, 
flat to rolling plain along the Ganges, deserts in west, Himalayas in the north.

It's climate varies from tropical monsoon in the south to temperate in the north

This country's administrative divisions are 29 states and 7 union territories*; Andaman and Nicobar Islands*, Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Chandigarh*, Chhattisgarh, Dadra and Nagar Haveli*, Daman and Diu*, Delhi*, Goa, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Lakshadweep*, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Odisha, Puducherry*, Punjab, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, West Bengal

Legal System: common law system based on the English model; separate personal law codes apply to Muslims, Christians, and Hindus; judicial review of legislative acts.

What else can you find out about this county we have landing in week? Give us your clues.

April 25-April 29, 2016

Welcome back from Spring Break 2016. 

We're back on the VES Flying Bus. This week we've traveled to a rugged, landlocked country split by the Great Rift Valley. With archaeological finds dating back more than 3 million years, it’s a place of ancient culture. Among its important sites are Lalibela and its 12th-13th century rock-cut Christian churches, and Aksum, the ruins of an ancient city with obelisks, tombs, castles and Our Lady Mary of Zion church. 

This country is considered the oldest independent country in Africa and one of the oldest in the world (may be traced to the Aksumite Kingdom, merged in the first century B.C.)

Official language: is Amharic
Eastern Africa, west of Somalia

Geographic coordinates: 8 00 N, 38 00 E and is slightly less than twice the size of Texas

Climate: tropical monsoon with wide topographic-induced variation

etymology: the country name derives from the Greek word "Aethiopia," which in classical times referred to lands south of Egypt in the Upper Nile region

Agriculture - products: cereals, coffee, oilseed, cotton, sugarcane, vegetables, khat, cut flowers; hides, cattle, sheep, goats; fish

Imports - commodities: food and live animals, petroleum and petroleum products, chemicals, machinery, motor vehicles, cereals, textiles

Imports - partners: China 19.2%, US 11.4%, Saudi Arabia 6.7%, India 5% (2014)

Enjoy more information from our 5th graders!