Summer school makes learning fun
This year's summer school program kicked off on Monday with new classes that include intangible cultural heritage crafts and garbage sorting.
There are 10 percent more classes this year, according to the Shanghai committee of the Chinese Youth League, at 556 sites across the city.
All classroom trash bins have been changed to special ones to allow children to sort garbage more easily.
As a new organizer joining this program this year, Shanghai Sports Bureau has brought various sports courses, including football, basketball, martial arts, taekwondo and chess.
Each class has a teacher and at least seven volunteers from universities and high schools. More than 12,000 college and secondary school students are expected to be volunteers this summer.
Dai Bing, the committee’s deputy secretary, said it was cooperating with the city's food and drug administration, urban management and law enforcement authority and subdistricts to ensure children are safe and that their parents’ minds are at rest.
Pan Jing took her two sons, aged 6 and 11, to the Shimen No. 2 Road community cultural center in Jing'an District at 8am on July 1 where classes began a week earlier than scheduled.
"We opened the classes in advance to better serve our residents and help solve parents' problems," said a teacher.
Pan said it was her older child’s fifth summer school and the first for her 6-year-old.
"After my elder son left kindergarten, he had nowhere to go during the summer vacation, so I tried to look for some place where he could be taken care of," she said.
However, the program was full when she went to sign up so she was more determined to make sure of a place the next year.
"I think the curriculum planning here is very nice and my children can learn various subjects in their summer vacation," Pan said. "Besides basic classes like Chinese, math and English, the school also provides courses in handicrafts and science and technology. The teachers and volunteers take children to different places to let them have different experiences in life."
Pan said she didn't want her sons to be trapped in academic courses over the holiday and hoped they can have their horizons broadened by learning things they would never learn at school.
Her 11-year-old son, Zhang Zhenlin, said he liked the summer school classes and felt they were becoming more fun.
"I love the activity class, during which we are taken to the basketball court and sometimes have a water fight,” he said, adding he had also visited a fire station and learned how to put out fires.
The Shimen No. 2 Road Subdistrict has three classes — junior, medium and senior — for first and second graders, third and fourth graders, and fifth graders.
Shi Yang, a subdistrict official, said: "This year we have different themes for the three classes. The theme for students in the senior class is 'Reading China,' and some of their courses will be about the promotion of traditional Chinese culture. The medium class has a theme of 'Little Environmental Protection Guard,' and they will be taught garbage sorting and how to live an eco-friendly life. 'Growth Rocket' is for the junior class to let the young children cultivate good study habits and thinking ability. Sports courses like aerobics and chess are new this year."
At the No. 2 Secondary School Affiliated to Tongji University, a summer school site in Putuo District, children can learn about smart cities, bamboo weaving, garbage sorting, chess, eye care and the history of the Communist Party of China.
This year’s classes will be attended by nearly 170 pupils in the Changshou subdistrict.
In the bamboo-weaving class, Cheng Li teaches the children to create simple patterns.
"I told them that it's not just a craft but a culture, which should be inherited from generation to generation," Cheng said. "I decided to be here teaching the children because I believe they should learn about traditional Chinese culture in their childhood. And these children like creating things with their hands."
Ni Jiajie, from the city’s greenery and sanitation bureau, plays a garbage-sorting game with the children. Each student gets cards with pictures of trash and is asked to put them into the right "trash bins.” If cards are put in the wrong place, Ni explains where they should go.
"Since these children are very young, we avoid boring speeches and try to use more interesting examples to let them understand easier,” Ni said. “For instance, when I explain that people in Shanghai produce 26,000 tons of waste every day, I tell them that the amount of garbage we daily produce can fill trucks lining up from the People's Square to Pudong airport and, if it is piled up, there can be a Jin Mao Tower of waste within two weeks.”
Zhang Youyuan, from the Changshou Subdistrict, said: "These classes are all prepared by different city and district government departments and organizations as well as those of the subdistrict and communities. The chess class is from the Shanghai Sports Bureau, the garbage-sorting class is from the Shanghai Greenery and Sanitation Administration Bureau and the CPC history class is from the the Site of the First National Congress of the Communist Party of China."
Zhang said there were more classes this year. "The demand is growing and the subdistrict should help families solve this problem. Now the parents are young and the elderly people don't have enough energy to take care of their grandchildren the whole day, so we expand our scale and can almost meet the needs in our subdistrict and some neighboring areas."