During our popular English language summer school, most of our students opt for our ‘full-day programme’, which includes morning English lessons, lunch, and afternoon activities on our premises and around Cambridge. For the last two years I have been working at ABC Languages during my summer breaks from my undergraduate studies, and in this time I have observed and led a pre-planned summer activity programme, and subsequently taken over the planning and running of the summer school activities. Because I lead the activities myself in my first year working at the summer school, I was able to quickly identify any areas where we could improve on both the design of the activity programmes, and how they were carried out. My main objective for the programmes I designed was that all of our students, (and staff) would have fun in a safe setting. In this blog I’ll be taking you through the process of how and why our activities are planned and showing you why our full-day programme is such an unmissable option, with a sneak peak of what’s to come in summer 2020.
The ‘fun-factor’ of adrenaline-filled activities like these is highly important to me when planning the full-day programme. It is a must for us that the activities we run, both on and off our premises, are stimulating and inspiring, and that we continue to build on the English language that the children are learning in the mornings. The most important thing for me, however, is that they have fun! It is so rewarding to see an activity that I have spent time planning be well-received by the students. With this in mind I have spent time researching even more fun-filled activities which are possible for us in Cambridgeshire. New activities for summer 2020 include a roller disco and ice skating as well as bouncy castles on our very own premises!
Options like inflatable afternoons require a lot of space, and luckily this is something that we have in abundance at our new summer school venue. English is not the only thing that children learn at our summer school when you opt for the full-day programme. As well as the excursions I have already mentioned, our unique experience offers children the opportunity to play new team sports, to climb on purpose-built climbing walls, to swim with their friends, to design and make their own jewellery, and to bake yummy cakes and biscuits, to name but a few of the varied options. All of these things are made possible and so much easier in a large secondary school like the one we will be operating out of next summer. With extensive sports fields, indoor gyms, and specially designed classrooms for activities like cookery, the possibilities for fun are endless. Most anticipated by us is the indoor heated pool that all age groups will have regular use of during the afternoon sport sessions.
The tricky age group of the ‘tweens’ – in between our Early Learner and Teen classes – is something I’ve spent a lot of time trying to get right. Activities for them often seem either ‘too young’ or ‘too old’. They form a gap in the middle that I wanted to focus on for the coming summer. I am anticipating that our new programme specifically designed for this smaller age group of 10-13 years old will really make them feel included and actively engaged in the summer school. It has been drawn up as a programme that is mature enough for quickly growing tweens who feel too grown up for some of our younger activities like messy play and trips to soft-play centres but aren’t quite ready for the more independent and academic aspects of our young adult programme.
As a result of these three activity programmes, we differ from our competitors who generally run one activity programme throughout the summer, irrespective of large age gaps between the students. As well as meaning our activities are more specialised by age, the diversity in our programmes creates smaller groups on the activities, giving every student more individual attention from our staff. As our summer school teachers and teaching assistants double up as our activity team the students spend their afternoons surrounded by the staff they already feel comfortable with, who are also excellently qualified to continue assisting them with their English outside of the classroom.
If you would like to know more about our 2020 summer school please get in touch! We would love to tell you more about our new set-up and the different courses we can offer you...
Allegra Goodwin, Student Experience Manager