Source: Summer Camp
“Kids cannot get enough of summer camps after a covid hiatus and schools say it is a good way to improve social skills and fitness levels”
After a hiatus of two years, summer camps are back in schools, and students cannot get enough of the outdoors.
Hiking, kayaking, zip-lining, swimming, and sports such as football and badminton are only some of the activities that schools have gotten back to as the fear of Covid-19 wanes. The majority of the schools are organizing these non-academic activities to boost children’s creativity and at the same time, keep them entertained.
CMR National Public School, an adventure camp called ‘Trail to Trek’ is helping the children reconnect with nature post-pandemic. “The last two years have filled the minds of the students with a lot of digital time and have infused anxiety, depression, and obesity. We decided to create an opportunity for them to connect with nature and exercise outdoors,” says Swati Soni, head of school, CMR National Public School.
According to her, they spent quality time educating students about the importance of the environment and some basic survival tricks, which will help in improving strength, agility, reduced stress, cardio fitness, peer bonding, and overall health. “We have always understood that children learn through experience, so we allowed them to explore their trail to trek at their own pace.”
Schools say, while most children are back on campus, many are lagging in social development. However, the activities planned under summer camps will help them in spending their vacation productively and experience fun learning with lots of stimulating activities.
“Our summer sports camp in football, badminton, swimming, and hockey has already started along with an online summer chess camp by renowned professionals. Children will also get to interact with their peers and take part in activities that will boost their mental and physical health,” said Aloysius D’mello, Principal, Greenwood High International School.
While these activities during summer vacations were common before the pandemic, schools say the response this year has been overwhelming. Both student and parent communities have come forward and physical interactions are finally happening on campuses.
“The number of participants is rising every day. We can see children running around and exercising which is important looking at the kind of experience they have gone through in the last two years. We started the camp on April 4 and we have received an overwhelming response. Parents are driven toward getting children in this setting,” said Anita Bijesh, principal, Delhi Public School, Bangalore South.
Ensuring fruitful vacation sessions this year, schools say the summer camps have brought students out of their covid bubble. “After almost a two-year break, students had the opportunity to step outdoors, connect and explore nature. We also had the chance to understand their fitness levels and their emotional progress when exposed to rustic hiking and adventure activities. Their excitement knew no bounds,” said Ayesha Sirajuddin, head of south campuses, Ekya Schools. The parents have had concerns about children’s behavioral and health issues due to the pandemic outbreak. Health experts say these activities will play a crucial role in reinstating physical and mental health.
“Outdoor activities allow children to enjoy fresh air and sunlight and bring them closer to nature. They engage in social interactions which develop empathy, collaboration, and cultural competence,” said Dr. Harish Kumar, consultant, pediatrics & pediatric intensive care, Aster CMI Hospital.
According to him, such activities also build strength, fight fatigue and improve sleep. Moreover, since children will be exposed to sunlight, their bone and mental health will improve too.
Despite having parents and teachers instilling character, and imparting life lessons in children, it is not well assimilated into youngsters
Introducing entrepreneurial values from an early age is perhaps the main endeavour in shaping the future of younger generations. In this way, business learning in kids prompts a psychological change and pioneering training will construct a solid person for youngsters with values, for example, being inventive, restrained, basic, ready to tackle issues and convey, and value the significance of time, etc. Adolescence is the earliest time of human existence and an exceptionally unequivocal period having specific attributes and expectations that become the reason for development later on. Being free, canny, creative, and certain can be learnt through models given in various structures. For instance, to foster freedom in youngsters, parents plan and carry their own satchel. This model some time or another will empower kids to be free, reliably exhibited by folks. Kids, at last, learn and practice themselves through what they see, hear, and they feel.
Introducing entrepreneurship in school could influence children’s views on entrepreneurship, and young age is seen as the best stage to instruct and foster an uplifting outlook towards it. To develop solid qualities and personality, a few entrepreneurship learnings for early childhood is:
Children are active learners: Education should prompt children to become active learners. Creatively designed education will produce active learners and the process of education like this is a form of learning that relies on active learning activities.
Children learn through sensory and senses: Children gain their knowledge with their five sensory organs. Therefore, learning in children should lead them to the various abilities that can be performed by all senses.
Children build their own knowledge: Children are allowed to learn through their experiences and the knowledge that they have experienced since they were born and have gained during their life
Children think through concrete objects: So that children are not confused, they should be taught with real objects. By using real objects as examples of learning materials, students are motivated to think. For example, to teach shapes we can use the objects like squares, rectangles, circles, etc. in a real visual format.
Children learn from the environment: Education is a conscious effort that is done deliberately and planned to help children develop their potential optimally so that they are able to adapt to the environment. Children should be taught to curb pollution at an early age and introduced to the concept of Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. Parents and teachers should teach children to live and stay healthy.
Parents and teachers as educators should play a role in motivating, evaluating, stimulating, and appreciating their children. Parents sometimes threaten, dictate, criticise and, thereby, limit their children. This prompts children to keep down their perspective. Essentially, despite the fact that parents and teachers have done the process of instilling character, imparting character, it actually has not been assimilated well in youngsters. This phenomenon shows that imparting character to children by educators is still not ideal. Children should be prepared to perceive their own true capacity, to oversee time, to have the option to impart, to be ready to get a handle on feelings, and to be adaptable in picking and deciding. The entrepreneurial spirit can be imparted by parents and teachers when their kids are at an early age.
An independent education system would comprise of those schools that can design their own curriculum and assessments and do not come under the purview of direct government regulations. Such institutions would offer choice based curriculum that covers a vast range of learning areas suited to 21st century learning requirements; the pedagogy would have a variety of teaching tools and techniques that does justice to the curriculum. These independent institutions need not necessarily be for profit though.
Before we envision an independent education system, let us pause and think about where the education system is right now. There is a lot of buzz about changes to the present system, with NEP around the corner. In that context, let us first process the rudimentary causes as to why there is a desperate need for change.
Curriculum: India has been following the same pattern of education since independence. Does our current curriculum cater to the present needs of the society, country, world and of course! Employment sector. No! Subjects like history and geography need to be taught by making connections to the present. Otherwise, students do not understand the relevance of learning about the past.
Math needs to show us how scientific discoveries & inventions and commercial trade and commerce necessitated conceptualization of new Math concepts. Science subjects ought to make us wonder "How was this discovered/invented? Can I do the same?" Curriculum also needs to be linked to the interests of the students and the skills needed for 21st century jobs. We never knew that aspiring to become a doctor would mean spending a good number of years writing exams on subjects that weren't related to "medicine", and spending another five years in order to become a doctor. How about giving students (middle school onwards) a choice of subjects from which to choose? Students can pick those subjects that excite them and those that will contribute to their career ahead.
Apart from content knowledge, the skills that will help one succeed in 21st century jobs are creative thinking, problem solving and quick decision making. Does the education system focus on these skills?
Assessments, marks and grades: Right now, the education in India is highly "marks" oriented. Sure, we started off as kids who were taught that learning is fun and ought to be driven by curiosity. But with periodic exams & tests and emphasis on "marks", soon enough, the only reason a student studies anymore is to get good grades. There is a constant pressure to perform, leading to stress, mental health problems and anxiety. Exams were meant to be a means to suggest where the student stands and where he / she needs to go, but scores and marks soon became an end in themselves. Moreover, half of these tests/exams test memory rather than actual understanding. This results in students developing a disinterest towards learning.
A child's full potential can never be unlocked if the curriculum and assessments are not tapping into the same. In the same context, I do not see the purpose behind Board exams and personally, I think they could be replaced with alternate assessment mechanisms. If a student seeks admission to a higher educational institution, entrance exams and personality tests could be sufficient criteria.
Amidst all this, NEP is a ray of hope inching towards these changes.
While the above are long term policy changes that are undoubtedly needed, the current pandemic situation has surely rattled the way education is imparted. Technology enabled online learning is the new trend, necessitated by the need for social distancing. This online mode of learning has gone down really well with me. I have always wanted to try homeschooling. Now that I've got a taste, well a spoonful really, (It's been more than a year!) it's something that I'm enjoying. The E- mode of learning seems to be here to stay post the pandemic as well. As much as students enjoy writing down pages of notes, and teachers, the smell of chalk, this extended period of online schooling paves the way for technology-enabled learning.
In all, there are many perspectives to the system of education in India. It's a developing system; the government, education administrative agencies and institutions have all been accommodating the basic changes for coping up with the dynamic 21st century environment, but I hope we soon see drastic changes for the better.