This summer in our community centers was about fun, but also education. Our colleagues prepared several great activities for children and youth, during which they practiced acquired skills and knowledge in a playful way, but also learned something new. For children from communities where generational poverty prevails, similar activities are extremely beneficial. Therefore, our colleagues help them in their progress, who willingly repeat the school curriculum with them even during the summer, reveal their potential and show them that they can learn a lot even in a playful way. Let’s take a look together at what this year’s summer school looked like in our community centers.
During weekdays, the children had the opportunity to come to the community centers for a few hours, where our colleagues were waiting for them. This year, the summer school took place in each of the community centers a little differently – for example, in Sveržov children enjoyed a Bible camp for four days, while in Petrovany they focused more on activities related to informal education. “It was mainly about general information, for example how navigation works. We tried to use computers, tablets and the Internet in order to increase children’s computer literacy. We also learned about traveling as a means of getting to know the world through direct experience,” said our colleague Lukáš Andrejčák from Petrovany, adding that the children really enjoyed searching for information. In addition, they also engaged in creative activities, such as painting and mixing colors, but also developing knowledge about the bee colony as an important part of the world.
During the summer, however, our colleagues also discussed more serious topics with the children, such as refugees and poverty. Children responded to the topic of refugees primarily through people who came from Ukraine. A couple of them also live in Petrovany and even attend school together with the children from the center. “They also see it through the lens of what if it happened to us, what would it be like. They also perceive poverty through their own lenses, when they felt very sorry for the people in the documentary who lived in shacks or slums. They said that they couldn’t imagine living like this, that they had nowhere to shop, that they practically slept on the ground and so on,” explained Lukáš.
Children are changing unmistakably
In Kojatice, younger children were repeating the school curriculum of elementary schools. However, the summer school also included more fun activities, including a summer cinema or ball games. They spent their free time mainly outside on the playground. Our colleagues also prepared a sports day connected with a fruit session, a trip to Košice, Šariš Castle, a trip to Prešov connected with a visit to the Safari Park and various competitions. Together, they also took care of the community garden and engaged in creative activities aimed at developing motor skills.
Thanks to such activities, children are constantly developing and improving. According to our colleague Mária Lichvárová from the community center in Kojatice, the changes in children are noticeable, especially in learning and socialization, where they learn mutual respect and tolerance.Children are able to work more independently and better understand the learned material.“We were all very happy about the summer school, as the range of activities of our center attracted the attention of the children who participated in large numbers. The biggest gift for us was their smile, hug and interest in the prepared activities and competitions,” said Mária.
Children attending summer school in the community center in Roškovce also repeated the curriculum. During two months, they practiced the alphabet, multiplication table, reading comprehension and much more. Every week they devoted themselves to a different interesting topic, which they talked about, watched documentaries or invited an expert on the given topic – for example, during transport week, a policewoman visited the community center with whom the children learned about road safety. During the summer school, they also focused on the dangers of using alcohol and tobacco products, talked a little more about proper separation and hygiene, and last but not least, about the fact that everyone has the right to a life without violence. Similarly, the children in the community center in Plavecký Štvrtok devoted themselves to practical topics – together with our colleagues, they focused on heat prevention, drinking regime and treatment of wounds in nature.
Another colleague of ours, this time from the community center in Roškovce, Paulínka Oravcová, also perceives the benefits of the summer school. “We notice changes especially in those children who visited the community center during the year and then continued their education even during the holidays. For the others, we are glad that we at least filled their vacation time in a meaningful way,” Paulínka explained. According to her, even a small step is an important step forward. According to our colleague from Plavecký Štvrtok Silvia Václavová, children’s relationships with each other improve thanks to similar activities.
Every activity develops and teaches children
In Sveržov, on the other hand, the day began with the morning news, during which women from the community summarized the previous day of the camp through photographs. Each day also included different Bible stories and verses. With this task, they primarily trained their memory. However, the camp was also accompanied by cheerful and entertaining activities, including the so-called big game, which consisted of five stations. Children also practiced their basic knowledge through such activities – every single discipline developed their mathematical or language skills, but also their memory and creativity.“They also had to, for example, hit a dart at the target or completely calm down and work with themselves during some activities, like in carling. I noticed that everyone who went first immediately threw the ball and didn’t hit, and the others learned their lesson, calmed down and really just tapped the ball and hit,” said Jarka Krukarová from our community center in Sveržov. According to her, it doesn’t matter whether children improve their motor skills, work literacy or memory, the important thing is that they find what they enjoy and do it. An example is the Kávičkareň, where the girls serve guests and thus learn work habits, but especially communication skills, respect and friendliness.
There is no doubt that the children had a summer full of fun activities, during which they not only reviewed the lessons from the school year, but also acquired new knowledge and practical knowledge. The intensive work of our colleagues is bearing fruit – children are more prepared, more focused in school, they know how to communicate better and discover talents that are often hidden. For disadvantaged children, support, acceptance and time spent together are an integral part of their journey to education and a better life.
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