This year marked our third Summer School in the Apostolic Church, Wingrove and our 10th Summer School since 2007!
We ran the Summer School for the first two-weeks of the holidays, from Monday 24th July – Friday 4th August. 78 children and young people aged 5 – 14 registered for the Summer School, with an average attendance of 53.4 each day. We were also joined by 12 fantastic volunteers who supported our leaders throughout the 2-weeks and received their v100 vInspired award!
The Summer School was a perfect opportunity for families to keep their children both mentally and physically stimulated throughout the long school holidays. It was great for working parents who find it difficult to get the time off work, and acted as a great low-cost alternative for costly childcare and days-out.
The children and young people were able to spend 2-weeks having fun with their friends. Each morning started at 9:00am with breakfast, followed by a jam-packed day of activities until pick-up at 3:45pm. There was a range of activities that were academic, interactive, physical, and most of all, engaging.
This year Success4All has been taking part in a EUROSOLE project, where children from different countries have been testing a new way of learning – self organised learning environments. After breakfast the children organised themselves to solve ‘big Maths questions’ like ‘How are angles and alligator jaws related?’ and after lunch ‘big English questions’ like ‘How do you know when a story is over?’. This was a very interesting part of the day that saw the children and young people organising themselves in to groups and using the laptops and internet to get answers to these questions, which they then presented to the whole group at the end.
After the morning SOLE challenges, the children and young people took part in lots of different STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) activities. We learnt about the digestive system by making our very own poo, we made boats made out of cardboard float, the DNA of strawberries taught us how cells work, we built cardboard chairs that didn’t collapse when sat on – even without glue or cello-tape to hold it together, saw volcanoes erupt under water, and coded a phone to be sent into space (the highest point of the church)! Not forgetting our under 8 group who had a brilliant time making musical instruments, kaleidoscopes, volcanoes, rollercoasters, painting, and lots of dancing!
Our lovely friends Play in Newcastle joined us for the Summer School, who delivered their Kids Can Cook programme. Throughout the 2-weeks they worked with the children and young people to create 3 different delicious dishes; from pasta, to pizza to risotto. Afterwards the children and young people would either sit together and eat their home cooked meals at lunch time with friends, or take their meals home for the whole family to taste and enjoy. They definitely proved that kids can indeed cook!
Play in Newcastle also helped us out in the afternoon leading sports. All the children and young people chose what they wanted to do in the afternoon. Play in Newcastle led a range of sports like dodgeball, football, cricket and rounders in Nunsmoor Park when the sun came out to say hello, and at Murray House during the rainier days. We even got the giant parachute out which was a firm favourite!
Those who see themselves as gardeners decorated and planted a large flower bed that will stay full-time outside the church to attract many bees with the delightful flowers that the children picked out.
In the second week we got very crafty making old and new favourite games out of recycled materials. We made fidget spinners, checkers, bowling skittles and marble mazes out of cardboard and bottles, that the children and young people could take home and enjoy for the rest of the Summer!
They also got the chance to go on mini trips. Every afternoon a group of children and young people explored what exciting things their local area has to offer. We had fun in two of our beautiful local parks Jesmond Dene and Saltwell Park, made our own models of the famous North East landmark Angel of the North, made Stick Stars out of natural materials at Scotswood Gardens, made friends with guinea pigs, snakes, hamsters and lizards at Ouseburn Farm, and got cultural in two local museums; the Hancock Museum and the Discovery Museum.
Our WEYDA (West End Young Digital Artists) group also joined us in the afternoon to develop journalism and radio presenting skills. They spent the week interviewing the community about different social and civic issues like Brexit and communal bins, and went live on the local radio Spice FM, 5-6pm on both Thursdays.
On Fridays, we went out on a trip as a whole group. On the first Friday, we spent a lovely day out at St Mary’s Lighthouse, Whitley Bay. We went rock pooling while the tide was out and discovered lots of sea creatures like crabs, sea scorpions, fish and lobsters, and climbed 137 steps up St Mary’s Lighthouse to see the amazing views that the coast has to offer. After lunch we walked along the beach, flew kites and played games before returning home to relax for the weekend. The second Friday and last day of our Summer School was enjoyed at Gibside National Park. The children and young people enjoyed the wonderful views, nature and history that Gibside has to offer, as well as conquering the low-ropes challenge! After lunch we got the parachute, frizbees and balls out one last time before saying bye to Summer School for another year.
We would like to take this opportunity to say a massive thank you to all of our volunteers and our funders; Lyn Shears, Muckle LLP, The Hilden Charitable Trust, The William Leech Charity, Woodward Charitable Trust and Go Volunteer from Newcastle University. Without your generous support this would not have been possible.