At the start of every year, during January and February to tie in with the students’ school holidays, we at SKIP run our Holiday Club.
Everything starts with the planning and organisation: timetables, groups, lists, teachers, activities, workshops, applications, jobs, etc. All in the name of creating a place and a time for fun, alternative leisure activities and meaningful learning.
A few weeks dedicated to continuing learning in a more active, practical and creative way, using the students’ holiday time so as to not lose the dynamic built up over the rest of the year, as well as promoting healthy leisure activities.
Appropriate ways to organise having been found and a lot of effort having been put into the planning, the fun can start.
At Primary, from Monday to Friday, two of the five days are dedicated to continuing to reinforce communication and maths skills with a fun component, and specific topics, mixing academia with magic: communication through history, colours, tastes and the flora and fauna of Latin America, or impossible riddles and tongue-twisters, or learning maths by way of experimentation, magic and science, or origami to teach geometry.
The teachers of these subjects led their groups with an effort, dedication, constant work and sincerest love that brought out the best in themselves as well as the students, perfectly managing the children’s behaviour and creating a truly magical and relaxed atmosphere every day.
English, as ever, was full of surprises, such as learning in English how to plant a seed and watch it grow, and added to the magic that drives these weeks. The energy and creativity of the teachers brought about truly fun activities and learning that held more meaning for the students.
Sport always figures among our activities and on this occasion we had a Brazilian volunteer on the team who organised treasure hunts, obstacle courses and impossible ball-passing challenges.
Art and recycling proved to be the best way to continue raising awareness among the children of El Porvenir. Robots, masks, collages… all planned and organised with the utmost care by the subject teachers to be as free as possible. It really was a space that allowed the children to create, imagine and express themselves freely, resulting in great works of art.
Music was taught alongside theatre and, largely thanks to the teachers’ effort, creativity and involvement , turned out to be one of the Holiday Club’s most powerful workshops. They learnt songs, keeping the rhythm with buckets, water bottles and other recycled materials that could be turned into musical instruments, acted and, throwing off any shyness, fully expressed themselves.
Another star of the Holiday Club was the subject Values, the SKIP psychologist, who, with the help of other psychology volunteers, ran workshops and activities to promote teamwork, respect towards others and conflict resolution through empathy and understanding rather than violence. Everyone enjoyed the videos and activities, and, of course, carried on learning to better themselves.
The swimming pool: water, games, sun, joy, excitement, splashing, delight. All with the end of offering our students a place of learning and play, through the greatest possible involvement and commitment from the volunteers.
All this was designed to be a party to say goodbye to the summer and to welcome in the new school year, with a special ‘see you’ to the primary class of 2014 going on to secondary school in 2015, who made such a huge effort over the whole year to reach their goals. Well done everyone! Carry on studying so hard and so well.
At the farewell party, we were able to enjoy 5 fun water games ending in a “water fight” between everyone, which the students had been waiting for since the moment they saw the first drop of water.
Every day made us laugh, rejoice, learn together, jump for joy, dance, hug, dream… Every day filled us with satisfaction, joy and even (we could just squeeze some more in) love.
A huge thanks to all the team that worked on the Holiday Club 2015: Megan, Alex, Rachel, Smile, Grace, Theo, Diego, Nadia, Loredana, Lori, Jake H., Jake S., Katarina, Brie, Jean Claire, Joy, Diego, Kerrie, Cheryl, Laura and David.
It’s been a pleasure to learn together!
Great work, team!
Another year, mission completed… fun and learning!
~ Vanessa Bellón, Primary Coordinator.
Click here to see more photos of the holiday club
At the SKIP Holiday Club, secondary students were given the opportunity to improve their English language skills through the exploration of cinema and filmmaking. Students watched English language films and discussed genres, storytelling and character development. Students then worked together to create their own films in English, including practicing techniques to better project their voice while on camera. One group used interview techniques and monologues to create a range of documentary shorts. The second group wrote, directed and starred in a horror/comedy short about zombies.
At the end of the holiday club students were given the opportunity to provide feedback on the unit of work, and have input into the focus of English classes at SKIP in the future.
Student feedback about the class was overwhelmingly positive:
100% of respondents said that the class was fun.
95% of respondents said that they would tell their friends to do this class if it was offered next year.
85% of respondents felt that because of the class they were more confident about speaking and reading English.
Here is some of what students had to say about what they learnt:
‘I learnt how to act in front of a camera alone and not to be scared’ ‘aprendí a desenvolverme sola en la película y no tener meido’
‘[I learnt] to speak better English and filming techniques’ ‘[aprendí] hablar mejor inglés y técnicas para grabar
‘[I learnt] how to create a film [and] how to speak English with fluency’. ‘[aprendí] como hacer una película [y] como hablar con inglés fluido’
Students’ favourite parts of the class included:
‘creating and developing a film [and] when we were painted as zombies’ ‘crear la película y desarrollarla [y] cuando pintaron a los zombies’
‘screaming when the zombies were chasing me’ ‘gritar cuando los zombis me perseguían’
‘the filming and when we had to shout very loud, more slowly and almost silently (whisper)’ ‘las grabaciones y cuando teníamos que gritas más fuerte, más despacio y casi silencio (bajo)’
‘being a zombie’ ‘ser zombie’
‘when we made our monologues’ ‘cuando hicimos nuestros monólogos’
Students provided a diverse range of responses when asked what they would like the focus of English classes at SKIP to be in the future, including: a focus on vocabulary and grammar; reading; conversational fluency; and more storytelling, filmmaking and exposure to English language media. We will use this feedback as with think about our future planning so we can continue providing fun and engaging lessons.
SKIP Director, Liz Wilson, has had an article published in an academic journal this month for a special Edition of the Journal of Worldwide Tourism and Hospitality Themes exploring “How and Why the Volunteer Tourism Experience Should be Improved?” Liz’s contribution entitled, “Finding the Win-Win: Providing supportive and enriching volunteer tourism experiences while promoting sustainable social change” explores issues around child protection and encourages practice improvements within the industry to better safeguard both volunteers and people they may be working with.
This week was a really busy one in SKIP but the kind that helps me feel connected with the work we are doing because we were giving out school supplies to all the families. Well, I say giving out, but actually these days the families choose the supplies themselves, we just provide a voucher for the stationery store, Copy Ventas, and they are able to select the things they need.
On the first morning, we were a little anxious about how things would go because last year there were huge delays and people had to wait for hours to get served. There were two of us working the line, giving out vouchers and generally making sure things were organised. Upon arrival, just before 8.30am, there was already a queue of over 20 families so we knew that the start was going to be a bit chaotic. As the first three families went to the open tills, we waited. And waited. As the minutes ticked by we started to feel a bit worried as it became clear this was going to be a very slow process. Memories of last year and the long delays began to creep into my mind and I started to doubt that we had learned enough to make the process efficient.
I realised that there was a bit of a discussion going on at one of the tills and I walked over, the shop assistant was saying, “No, sir, you have to go back to the line. No! You have to wait your turn…”
I leaned towards to the father to listen to what he was saying, he was very calm. As many of the fathers we work with are, he was a little unsure of himself and he laughed a bit in that way you do when someone is being kind of unreasonable to you and you feel powerless to do anything else. “Yes, I know,” he was saying, by this point I was guiding him away from the till so we could talk, he continued, “I want to know if you can give us a price list of the items we can choose, so we can prepare what we want to buy before we get to the till.”
And there it was, so simple, the reason why this was all taking so long and another reminder of how easy it is to disempower people even when you have the best intentions. Without prices, no one could prepare a list that added up to the amount that they had to spend, which meant they were taking twice as long at the till. I remembered my frustration and confusion about how long the shop assistants were taking at the tills last year, I hadn’t thought to consider how that process was working.
We printed lists of prices and set to work. For those who were able to work independently, they did the calculations themselves. For others, we worked with them to make the calculations and some families also needed help to decide what they wanted to buy. Time at the tills halved and then quartered.
In moments like these, I am reminded how hard it is to have empathy. How we forget to step out of our narrow perspective and look through someone else’s eyes. How difficult it is to understand the experience of any situation when you are not living it. Most of all, I am reminded to listen.
~ Liz Wilson, SKIP Director
All our latest stories and news in the December Newsletter including fundraising updates, plans for new projects and celebrations!!!
When we began the academic year in 2014, we were all very excited and keen to start before even realising that this year a new group would be added to the workforce.
To our 9 original groups in the Primary Education Programme we added one more. Group 10.
It would be different from the other groups in that it was created in response to a timetable clash for some children who have to go to school in the afternoon and therefore can’t make it to our SKIP classes.
It was a challenge from the beginning, not just in terms of the struggle to have enough volunteers to run the sessions, but also the complexity of teaching so many different grades at once, which ranged from 1st grade to sixth grade.
The group began with a simple plan based on the necessities of each individual student, not just on an academic level, but also on a social, behavioural and emotional level. This incorporated dealing with their lack of basic reading and writing skills, going on through to the times tables and all the way up to the social needs of each age group in group 10.
Lots of time was dedicated to working on the values of team work until we had managed to build safe, strong ties between all members of the group. Now we enjoy an atmosphere of mutual help and even complicity, resulting in excellent team work and collaboration in carrying out their daily tasks.
Group 10 was formed and strengthened thanks to the team work and participation of all the volunteers who have worked within it.
The group has now advanced to such an extent that, on an academic level, all the students of group 10 have passed their November tests with significantly higher grades to those they achieved in March, thanks to the effort that has been put in by everyone.
Today group 10 has blossomed into an active, funny and hands on group!
Great work group 10!!
Vanessa Bellón, Primary Coordinator.
Every 20th November SKIP celebrates International Children’s Rights Day. This year we had an amazing celebration thanks to a lot of hard work from the volunteers.
Jake agreed to write and direct a play called, ” The Rhinoceros and the Stars” which reminded the children it was important to follow your dreams. Théo put on a magic show which was received with smiles and lots of applause. Mitchell played his guitar to accompany the festivities and the volunteers made things had a lively feel by dancing.
There were several different activities for the children, they wrote on the walls in chalk, there was a “Tunnel of feelings” where they were challenged to distinguish different flavours while their eyes were covered…
At the end of the day, we formed a big circle together and danced while thinking about our hopes for the future.
Here’s what some of the participants had to say:
“I’m so pleased to have been able to participate in today’s celebration and change roles from a teacher to a clown – I think I’ve enjoyed it as much as the children!!” ~ Theo, Primary Class Teacher, groups 6 and 8
It was such a special day for me, a testimony to the love that we feel for our work (for the children!!) Jean Claire, English Teaching Coordinator
“An unforgettable experience that I’m going to remember forever” Rachel, English and Art teaching volunteer
You can see more pictures from the day on the SKIP Facebook
SKIP recently formed a partnership with a social business from the US called NISOLO who work with shoe makers in El Porvenir. SKIP will provide training for NISOLO staff on a monthly basis for the next three months and there is potential that the project will be extended to something more permanent.
On Saturday 15th November, with excitement to get started, we began the first session which explored themes around economic development, family budgeting and savings schemes.
During the training session the NISOLO workers actively engaged in the training, asking lots of questions and making suggestions. In this way they maximised the learning opportunity, including demonstrating the mission and vision of NISOLO and motivating the workers to continue increasing their level of productivity in the pursuit of a shared goal of improving the company.
At the end of the session, the workers thanked the trainer, SKIP’s coordinator of Family Welfare, Hilda Pachamango Martinez, and a date was set for the next training session in December when representatives from Lima will also be attending in order to evaluate the activities.
~ Hilda Pachamango Martinez
Check out all our latest news and stories in the October Newsletter – Statistics show SKIP kids do better!!