Abu Dhabi, UAE: More than 12,000 children have registered for the Abu Dhabi Education Council’s summer education programmes during the first week of activities.
Organisers said the number of participants is climbing by about 1,000 a day as children and parents seek entertaining and educational alternatives to their summer routines.
The Sayfuna Mumayaz programme, which was launched last week and will continue until August 18, gives children and parents a chance to take part in about a dozen free creative and scientific workshops as well as sporting activities focused on the theme of “More Entertainment, More Knowledge”.
Some of this year’s programmes are being offered online and in malls, making it more convenient for families and children to access the workshops.
“During summer, the child doesn’t want to go to school after 200 days of being there every day – they want a change of environment,” said Nasser Khamis, Adec’s extra-curricular activity section manager.
“So we tried to make it online so the children can work from home.”
Yas Mall in Abu Dhabi, Al Ain Mall and City Mall in the Western Region each offer activity stations for children in primary and middle school from 2pm to 10pm every day.
There is a station for children to learn how to cook healthy meals, one for arts and crafts, another for building robots and one for teaching youngsters about recycling by reusing palm leaves and old steering wheels, among others.
The arts and crafts station at Yas Mall was especially busy on Tuesday afternoon with many young girls drawing on paper, clay cups or creating decorative paper aeroplanes led by volunteers.
“They are so creative,” said Shamma Al Ali, one of the volunteers, holding a “Dior” purse made of purple felt cloth sprinkled with gold sparkle, as an example. “It’s summer and I’m sure the kids have free time and they are doing nothing. By bringing them here, they could meet new people, new friends and learn something new.”
For the cooking stations, students must register for a timed slot.
On weekdays, two sessions are offered beginning at 5pm. On the weekends, youngsters will have three chances to make a meal.
On Tuesday, they were learning how to make cheese hamburgers using lean meat. As with all the activities, they are allowed to take their creations home.
Lara Shell said her 10-year-old daughter, Dania, enjoyed taking part in the arts and crafts.
“It is always nice to have such things in malls, kids love them,” said Mrs Shell. “It’s always good in summer because you don’t know what to do, and it’s empty so it’s the best time.”
In addition to malls, Adec has opened two of its newer schools as drop-in community centres for adults and children.
The centres are meant to strengthen community ties between the schools and neighbouring families while promoting health and fitness, according to Adec.
The centres are hosted at Mubarak bin Mohammed School in Abu Dhabi and Al Gahili School in Al Ain.
Boys can visit 4pm to 8pm on Sundays and Tuesdays and girls are welcome 4pm to 8pm on Mondays and Wednesdays.
Each community centre is staffed by 19 teachers trained to involve the parents and children in swimming, basketball, reading and handicraft classes.
© The National
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