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This year, following the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen discussions surrounding learning loss, loss of socialisation, and risk of impacting the physical, mental and emotional growth amongst children. As a result, the need and benefits of summer schools is different and more amplified than the past.

Some have even opted to send their children to summer schools that are specifically targeting these areas to help children reintegrate post COVID-19. These reinvented summer programmes are beneficial to children for the following reasons:

  • Maintaining Structure

Over the past year, it is safe to say that we have all had to make adjustments to our daily schedule in these uncertain times, whether due to school, work, or home life, resulting in a lack of structure or instability.

Returning to school and maintaining this throughout the summer months can help children gain back a sense of routine and predictability whilst preparing them for the scholastic year ahead.

  • Socialisation

One factor which has affected both adults as well as children during the pandemic is the lack of socialisation brought about by the necessary social distancing measures and school lockdowns. If not addressed, this isolation from teachers and peers may have a negative effect on children’s development.

Children learn how to connect with the world and others through peer-to-peer socialisation and building strong relationships with those around them, including their teachers. Through these summer camps, children will have the opportunity to reintegrate with peers, giving special attention to developing their own identity as well as how they engage with others.

  • Emotional Intelligence

Another ability which is strengthened through socialisation is that of emotional intelligence. This is defined as the ability to identify and manage your own and other people’s emotions. Whilst this is also learnt through interaction with family members, this ability is highly influenced by the child’s interactions with peers and teachers.

These summer camps will be focusing on helping children improve their problem-solving skills, teamwork, responsibility, emotional regulation, and empathy through fun activities designed by experts.

  • Physical Health

Another effect of the pandemic is the increase of a sedentary lifestyle due to the rise in teleworking as well as distance learning.

Distance learning may have had an impact on the amount of time allocated for physical activity throughout the child’s day. In fact, the WHO raised concerns on the effects COVID-19 may have on childhood obesity.

Now that distance learning is no longer a must for children, summer camps are dedicating a good portion of the day for physical activity; some even allocating time for practices such as yoga.

  • Mindfulness

Activities such as yoga can also serve as a time for mindfulness in children; encouraging them to focus on the present moment and being aware of their physical and mental state.

Mindfulness is a practice that children of all ages can benefit from. Mindfulness helps children with their ability to focus as well as develops their self-control, self-awareness, and improves their self-esteem.

Summer camps that instil mindfulness into their programme can help children with developing skills that are rarely taught throughout the scholastic year. 

And who better to do it than a team of child psychologists, PSCD teachers, and child counsellors who have carefully designed a programme around emotional intelligence and soft skills to encourage emotional and mental growth in children?

If you would like more information about our summer camp programme, you can give us a call on 79291817 or email us on info@willingness.com.mt. If you would like to send your child on this exciting summer journey and secure their place at Camp Willingness, you can apply here.

Julia Chetcuti is a graduate of Management in Health & Social Care. She manages Childminders Malta & Family Clinic Malta at Willingness.