Once D. Vignesh's school reopens next month, his mother has promised to pack more nutritional and appealing variety of items in the lunch box.
Thanks to a summer camp conducted in the school which also offered select activities for parents to participate, his mother D. Kamatchi, a homemaker, was back to school for two weeks.
She enrolled in three activities – cooking, spoken English and handwriting. “I had a specific reason for selecting these activities,” says Ms. Kamatchi, whose son studies in Shree Niketan Matriculation Higher Secondary School in Tiruvallur.
“Sambar rice and idli is what I often pack for his lunch, which can get boring for children. It was a different experience learning recipes in a class, rather than from the television. We were taught healthy and nutritious recipes that would appeal to children,” she says. The other two activities, she says, will help her get more involved while teaching Vignesh.
Quite a number of schools and summer camp organisers have introduced activities in such a way that parents get a break from their regular schedule and they get to hone their skills in an activity or two. These activities range for an hour or two. T
he idea is also to engage the parent who accompanies the child to the summer camp.
Kaligi Ranganathan Montford Matriculation Higher Secondary School in Perambur has been conducting summer camp for parents for the last five years.
Parents of primary class children are the major participants in these camps. Besides yoga, embroidery and glass painting, flower arrangement was a new addition the school authorities introduced this time.
Apart from socialising with others, some parents like to learn the nuance of an art their child is learning.
T.M. Kothandaraman, a parent, for instance, took permission from office to attend a keyboard class in the school for a week. “I wanted to get a feel of summer camp. As my son is already learning keyboard, I thought the least I could do is appreciate the art, for which you need to know the basics of it,” he says.
Summer camp managers say they get requests from the organisers to involve parents and the children such that they spend time together.
Vandana Gobind, a freelancer who does activities with children, says she has conducted camps at IT companies, though not necessarily during vacations, where craft and storytelling sessions are organised for children and their parents.
Conducting an activity for a group of children and parents requires a different approach.
“It is much easier handling parents than children, but the challenge is that the grown-ups are generally pre-occupied,” says Latha Subramanian, who conducts story-origami workshops. “I have grandparents who want to enrol in the workshop to teach their grandchildren and I also get calls from ladies associations,” she adds.
But not all summer camps are open to the idea of conducting activities for parents. “We have parents who say that they would like to spend a few hours alone during summer vacations,” says a camp organiser.
Keywords: Summer camps