The introduction of our very first Summer Camp at St Bernadette Mary School was indeed a groundbreaking concept for a school in our area. The teachers organised a very full & varied programme so the children could benefit from the extra curricular activities. The children who are weak at academia during the school year loved this opportunity to excel in sports and creative activities in particular.Each morning the children turned up excited with happy faces looking forward to another fun filled day. It was easy to see just how introducing this made such a different to their day and with the help of our volunteer Alan all was ready to roll.
The timetable included various activities such as debating, public speaking skills, traditional dancing, art classes and storytelling to name a few. Each morning during the break for Ugi the place was a hive of activity with the children discussing what was in store for them for the rest of the day.
We also introduced an allotted time so the children could watch cartoons. old classic movies and documentaries. Many of the children were shocked to see a television for the first time, so this was an education in itself for the children. This was their time to relax and boy did they enjoy the old classic comedy programmes with Mr Bean being a hot favourite. We also chose some interesting documentaries for the older children which again allowed them to learn through watching dvds as opposed to using books and classrooms. It has opened up a new type of method of learning. The KG and Lower Primary also subconsciously learned much more English from watching the cartoons in a very relaxed environment.
As usual the debates were very heated and often on very sensitive issues which relate to problems within the surrounding area and Kenya as a whole. Many were about Gender Discrimination which is very emotive subject in the Giriama Culture as many girls are kept from school to help with chores such a collecting firewood and water. The boys appeared shocked at how articulate and intelligent the girls were and we have one girl who maybe a future campaigner for woman’s rights, Claris Kutupu from Class 7, much like our own Madam Elizabeth.
The highlight of the Summer Camp for many of the children was the clay modelling, it was absolutely amazing to see. Here, the children had materials for themselves in which they could be fully creative. This was the best opportunity for children to be creative, every child got so immersed in this activity and were very proud showing the finished products. Again a very worthwhile activity that costs nothing.
The KG Classes also did print painting with leaves and plants and they truly loved this, you can see the sheer excitement in Paulo’s face on one of these photos.
The pupils got lots of time to do many different sports. Kennedy really pulled it off when he managed to fabricate poles for the volleyball net at school. He then used lime to mark the lines on the volleyball court. Its not all about having everything to hand here in Kenya but often improvising with what is available. All the older children did relays, sprints, gymnastics, long distances and the younger children did more fun activities like egg and spoon, water jug relays and skipping.
We are truly blessed to have such dedicated and hardworking teachers who got involved with the children in all the activities. Madam Pauline even did the the egg and spoon race with one spoon in her mouth in the searing heat. Mr Pius also was very active in the volleyball and relay race which shows that school is not just serious, formal work but its also about having fun whist enjoying life & sports.
The KG Classes were really enthusiastic when making their own type of music and watching Mr Stephen’s choir progress was a joy to see. Also the children were practicing using the recorders but the mainstay of the musical input to Summer Camp was the singing and the dancing with Mr Sylvester doing some cool moves when teaching the dancing for the Closing Day Celebrations.
Our very first Summer Camp was a big success although the teachers did say it was easier teaching the normal classes as they were totally exhausted at the end of each day during these two weeks. We thank the teachers for their hard work in organising the activities and overseeing them daily, a much deserved rest is on the cards for them all now!