CCS Ghana Summer Camp Report
Summer camp, of some variation, is a staple for many of us who grew up in the U.S. It’s a place of continued learning but in a different format from the school year, that will help shape bonds between peers and strengthen our school work during the year. In Ho, Ghana, summer means a pause on learning and the chance to get in trouble around town with friends. For the family it also means one more meal they need to supply for their families every day.
This year CCS sponsored our first ever 6- week summer school for the children of St. George Anglican Primary School downtown. Teachers who signed up to teach summer classes had never strayed from their book or curriculum before so it was a brand new, challenging, yet exciting project! Our Summer school was designed to be a great way to keep kids learning, out of trouble, and fed. Thanks to our volunteers and diligent teachers, the school was a huge success!
Here in Ho, children learn through rote memorization, teachers follow strict guidelines for classroom management, and schools often lack the resources and funding that would allow children to explore concepts through artistic and play learning or through hands-on means. But with our CCS Summer School, volunteers made it possible to directly supply the students with resources to explore ideas in STEM, English, Creative Arts, Music, and Physical Education like never before.
With only 16-20 students per class, students had the opportunity to work directly with native English speaking volunteers in a smaller classroom setting, developing their vocabulary and speaking skills which will ultimately help them in the upcoming school year. At first the use of organized play during physical education to work on classroom behavior and problem solving was a completely foreign concept. It wasn’t until a few weeks in that we started to see the effects it had on peer camaraderie, behavior in the classroom, and overall focus in the students. Subjects we explored in creative arts, music, theater, and dance encouraged student creativity, through activities like writing their own class songs and learning more about their cultural heritage through traditional dance workshops.
For the first time, these students got to explore subjects outside of their normal curriculum: from testing handmade boats in water to understand buoyancy and density, to learning about plastic waste and sewing their own shopping bags made from local fabrics. All of this was made possible by the funding provided by CCS and our volunteers! The children paid no fees, and left with their own notebook and pencil to continue their writing at home. Volunteer program fees went directly toward providing breakfast, hiring teachers, supplies for projects, and staff support to help project facilitation.
Out of all those impacted, the teachers had something special they wanted to add:
“Because of CCS Summer School, we were able to practice different forms of classroom management and engagement, and learn about new ways to teach practical subjects in the classroom to our students, and we can’t wait to apply some of these strategies in the classroom this year!”
So here’s a big shoutout to all of those that made this project possible.