Elementary school summer holidays begin in April and end at the end of May here in The Philippines. That meant GFF would not be able to call around to schools and continue its workshops, mobile libraries and digital tablet training during these two months. Instead, we created some posters and a summer camp plan and called around to some local barangays (villages) to inquire about potential interest. Out of the 6 villages we asked, 5 of them replied that they would like a summer camp held there, which we are holding in local sports halls or classrooms.
Each summer camp lasts 5 days, from Monday to Friday, while each day introduces a new theme. Monday is Countries of the World Day, followed by Create a Comic Book Day, Science Day, Quiz Day and finally, Sports Day. This variation during the week ensures students are entertained and most importantly, they leave with new knowledge.
I have noticed geography skills are not a strong point here, so we try to teach the kids about the 7 continents and about new countries, giving basic facts about countries both near and far away. Students have the freedom to express their creativity while they create a comic and then they can get hands-on with some science experiments. Quiz Day boosts not only their general knowledge but knowledge about The Philippines, while Sports Day includes relay races, basketball and football. It is sometimes a challenge while playing football because basketball is so instilled in culture here that many students naturally want to use their hands even playing football!
After completing our first summer camp we had the next week’s schedule free, so we allowed the children that missed out on the first week to attend a camp the following week (we have a maximum of 50 children per camp). Teaching at the summer camps has allowed me to get closer to these set of students because we were teaching them for 5 days so it’s easier to build up a bond and assess the student’s skills, weaknesses and personalities. The students were able to use the books, stationary and balls we brought with us each day. They especially enjoyed leafing through the boxes of books we brought. Poorer households might not have many books, so it is a big plus when we see these children really appreciating and becoming fascinated by these books. It is a summer well spent! A price cannot be put on a good education.
By Michael Fanning, GFF Representative – Philippines