At Success4All we believe that it is important to provide affordable fun and educational activities to do during the Summer holidays directly in the community.
This Summer we ran two Summer Schools during the first two weeks of August, one in the West End of Newcastle based in Wingrove and another in Throckley sponsored by Warbutons and Sir James Knott Trust.
Over the two weeks 5o children and young people and 20 volunteers took part in a variety of activities, from experiments to bell boats on the river Tyne! The weeks showed off some budding engineers that learnt how to build towers out of spaghetti and marshmallows and rollercoasters, breakdancing stars and keen bakers.
The English weather was generous and we got outside for some gardening and some traditional dodge ball and rounders. Over in the West End the children and young people were busy making dream-catchers using different parts of nature that they could find and built and decorated their very own tents! Over in Throckley we took advantage of the close proximity to the leisure centre and Tyne river. The children impressed us with their climbing skills and their ability to not fall off the bell boats even with the instructors giving it a good shake!
Success4All’s 3 year European project also made a start at our West End Summer School where the young people got to take part in SOLE sessions. SOLE stands for self-organised learning environment and gives young people the opportunity to learn in a new way. This alternative teaching method was developed my Sugatra Mitra who first experimented by putting a computer in a wall in the slums of Calcutta and leaving it there to see what would happen. This was called ‘the Hole in the Wall’-experiment. It proved that the community organised themselves, starting with the children first, and taught themselves English and computer skills without the role of a teacher. Success4All has partnered up with other organisations in Ireland, Belgium and Finland to give children an opportunity to develop their skills in this way. S4A is focusing on digital and language skills. Over the summer we trialled a few SOLE sessions. The young people were given some Big Questions (for example 4. How can we learn a language together?) to answer with access to the internet to help solve them.
The children and young people were also involved in planning activities for the Summer School. A group of girls as part of their Key Fund project planned a trip to the Arcade at the Metro Centre followed by a McDonalds. The girls, who attend our Throckley Learning Hub throughout the year wanted to reward all the children and young people who attend. Key Fund gives young people the opportunity to build skills they can’t necessarily learn in the classroom and these girls did a fantastic job of coming up with an idea for all age ranges and planning every detail right from Arcade costs to the best transport method.
The Summer Schools are always a fantastic way to end the year and a perfect way to keep mind and body stimulated in between school years.