Text: Monika Pedersen
The end of June marks the close of another academic year in the Danish schooling calendar and the start of the long-anticipated summer holidays. A precious time for any school student and their teachers! The free time allows for many plans and opportunities, but it is a very individual decision as to what to do. Fortunately, there are great options, including educational enrichment, new activity courses, sports camps, or favourite pastime offerings.
A common feature of international schools is to offer summer school. The programme starts at the end of June and often runs for over a month, with courses usually lasting a week. Students can sign up for any number of weeks depending on availability and budget allocation. The day is more relaxed and tends to start around 8:30-9:00 and ends about 14:30-15:00. The programmes are open to school members and often non-school students.
Typically, the offerings include enrichment in literacy and numeracy for different age levels. This gives students who have had absences during the year or those who have found aspects of a course challenging the chance to review and re-learn skills. In addition, class sizes are small, so students experience good teacher-student interaction time and a greater sense of personalised learning. The aim is to secure a better student footing for the coming academic year.
Some students like to participate in sports and fine-tune their skills - thus, there is always a range of openings for soccer, basketball, and other sports. Otherwise, there are also more general activity options, where students participate in day trips out to climbing walls or a museum visit in the local area. Other top-rated options are computers or coding, art and craft or music sessions, and cooking school.
Summer school gives young people a wonderful opportunity to learn new skills and improve others, have fun, make new friends, experience different social circles, and enjoy a structured and safe environment. However, students do not see it as coming to school; it is seen with a different headset. As a prior summer school teacher, I can say this with conviction!
For parents who need to balance work schedules, summer school provides a solution and ensures a sense of relief, as they know that their child is having a fantastic time whilst they can deal with work situations.
“The Summer holiday is a time to recharge one’s batteries and restore or build up the body’s energy.”
Another attractive option is a family camp. As the name suggests, this is a summer camp for the entire family. It is a great offering that allows families to enjoy time together and participate in organised activities. It also gives parents the option of separate, supervised activities for their children while they can explore new pastimes. In addition, it allows each family member to pursue something of interest. It is an overnight camp with catering and sleeping facilities so everyone can relax and enjoy themselves.
The Summer holiday is a time to recharge one’s batteries and restore or build up the body’s energy. To this end, there are also health-orientated camps. A particularly interesting option is Diabetes Camp, which provides a wonderful schedule of sporting activities under the guidance of sports instructors, but in conjunction with a health team who monitors a child’s sugar levels and insulin needs. In addition, there is a careful focus on the dietary requirements and the menu for the week.
Many of us form a mobile society, but there is always a tie with our native country, especially if family and friends continue to live there. And one aspect parents are often concerned about is maintaining their mother tongue, especially among their children. Amazingly, there are summer camps for Danes abroad who wish to strengthen their language skills, enjoy the cultural aspects of Denmark, and maintain family connections whilst forging new friendships. These camps provide language instruction courses, trips, and other enjoyable activities. It is possible to attend as a child or be accompanied by parents or grandparents!
Camps and summer programmes are a way to enjoy a section of the summer vacation, but they are not a replacement for a family holiday, whether at home or abroad. Spending time with family and friends in a relaxed way without time constraints is a gift to be cherished.