For the last 10 years, every summer, Avenor has organised the Summer School, a non-formal education programme open to children in and outside the community, in which learning through discovery, play and projects is integrated with trips, sports activities or outside the classroom learning experiences.
With a team of specialists in non-formal education, this year Avenor offers summer programmes specially designed for each age group.
What makes Avenor Summer School special and why it is recommended that children join such programmes, you can find out from our team of experts in the interview below.
What do we need to know when choosing a co-curricular programme for our child?
“Regarding a summer programme, the most important role is played by exposure to nature and the real world.
Today’s adults are reminiscing about summer vacation spent around the village’s dirt roads. For our children, playing under the sun’s rays in the middle of nature, surrounded by peers is a context that builds values and guarantees memories and healthy anchors when all grown up.
Academically, co-curricular programmes, represent an opportunity for completing children’s development. Therefore, our recommendation is to seek equilibrium between the following 3 elements.
- Motivation: activities that are linked with already contoured passions and interests in order to stimulate children to engage,
- Challenge: sessions that help children build upon and enhance their curricular knowledge acquired throughout the school year,
- Variety: diverse initiatives meant to stimulate their appetite for new study domains.
Needless to say, children’s age is a relevant reason in choosing the best educational method used and the most suitable timetable.” Cristina Farcaș, Avenor Summer Expeditions founder
How is the Avenor summer programme different?
“Our Project Based (Inquiry-based) Learning methodology which is at the heart of the program is engaging students in real-life, meaningful projects and stimulating their reasoning and problem-solving skills, fostering collaboration and communication through group project work. Also, one of the main differentiation points is the official language of the summer school, English. Without being an English language course, through play, exploration and working on projects, children improve their English language skills and build up their confidence.
On another note, we know from previous years that children love our food during the summer school and we are proud to have our own kitchen and cook in order to provide great healthy meals and snacks. Also, the children between 6 and 11 years old will also benefit from a unique location next to the Forest as well as from the campus’s great facilities: outdoor and indoor sport courts, music studio, art and drama studio, high quality sports and games equipment and musical instruments. The little ones registered in the Nursery location will benefit from a diverse range of activities outside the classroom, including weekly trips in the middle of nature or special destinations connected to the learning goals.” Boyana Dragomir, Project Manager, Greenfield summer programs
What is the educational stake of a summer school?
“This year marks our third year of being able to offer the programme in both of our locations: the Greenfield campus (children between 6 and 11 years old) and the nursery site from Cașin (children between 2 and 6 years old). Taking into consideration the ages of the children, regardless of the fact that the programmes follow the same educational concept, the program and the timetable are adjusted to meet children’s specific interests
Therefore, at the nursery, “The educational programme prioritises the child and their needs. The teachers team worked on structuring the weeks in a manner that ensured that every child could find their place in the new group with ease. The Project Based Learning method is meant to teach children that each and every one of them has something new and important to contribute, and that only together they can take a bigger project to the finish line. Not only the class activities, but also the trips, and of course not forgetting the ‘splashing around days’, like ‘Water Fun Day’, are taking place in a special decor that differs from one week to the next, all in order to offer the young ones an environment that is stimulating, interesting and fun.” Silvana Sofian, coordinator Avenor Summer Expeditions 2022, Avenor Nursery
“John Dewey asserts the fact that “Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself.” and it describes remarkably well what the nursery children experience together with us during summer school. We live in such times that require us to be prepared, to be able adapt. For that very reason, Avenor Summer Expeditions puts forward an educational approach that is unified and coherent. This approach is meant to put the children into real life situations to which they need to find solutions to, to come up with ideas and adapt.” Dora Crețu, coordinator Avenor Summer Expeditions 2022, Avenor Nursery
“Within the Greenfield campus, children between 6 and 11 years old will benefit from “unique learning experiences while having fun, exploring and researching new fields in order to create personalised projects. No matter their hobbies, the children will connect to the world outside the classroom and they will be encouraged to communicate, to work as a team and to think critically, all while working on a common project. Our goal is to stimulate the children to seize control and make use of their own passions in order to enrich their experiences, to find solutions for specific tasks, and of course, to celebrate their effort and learning along with their families by the end of this period.” Andreea Dumitrescu, coordinator Avenor Summer Expeditions 2022, Avenor College
How the path of a summer school participant is rendered so as to obtain the expected results?
“In each of the locations where the programme takes place, there is a group designated to 2 year old children (Avenor Nursery), respectively 6 year old children (Avenor College), who experience for the first time the interaction with this kind of environment. These groups are thought of in a manner meant to facilitate a more consistent support for the adapting process, both for the children and for a daily timetable adapted to their needs.
Educational planning through the PBL method takes into account the following of a natural route in children’s development. It starts with adapting, safety routines, then it continues with identifying needs, interests and knowledge of the participants; after, the programme will venture into opening new windows towards other learning objectives. The children will practise self-evaluation in a systematic manner, rethinking the process and ultimately augmenting the result in front of their peers and their family (with regard to the Avenor College Greenfield campus children). This red thread is broken here and there throughout every week, through trips and dance sessions (on nursery site), forest outings, art workshops and sport (Greenfield campus), and, of course, the long awaited Water Fun Day.” Cristina Farcaș, Avenor Summer Expeditions founder
Indicate 5 reasons why a child should take part in a summer school programme
- Time spent in nature
- Discovery opportunities
- Quality of time spent during summer
- Continuity in personal development