A few weeks into our Free Online Summer School Project, we could see that the demand for supplementary education was skyrocketing, with our academic sessions reaching sign up numbers of up to 90. We were however also becoming very aware of our more creative sessions, like Art, Well Being and Singing/Storytime, gaining sign-ups of up to 50. Not only the sessions, but the array of submissions for our Summer School Poster Competition showcased the children's artistic streak.
This rise of creativity in the student’s communicated the effect the pandemic was having on the children’s mental wellbeing and their need for creative subjects; which allow them to express themselves and encourages their imagination to flourish and flow, which is vital in a time when our physical opportunities are being limited and restricted.
This rationale established the beginning of our Free Fun and Creative Online Sessions project, which we began to put into motion by working vigorously towards obtaining the resources to provide this project.
Why We Need Creativity
The effects of the Covid-19 Pandemic have already placed an immense halt on children’s attainment in education, however, the effects do not end there. Considerably, one of the most dangerous effects that the pandemic has had is on the mental wellbeing of the children in all our communities. We know that mental wellness plays such an important role in all aspects of a persons life, and to support educational attainment, we need to remedy the emotional setbacks that the pandemic has created.
The Free Fun and Creative Online Sessions ensured that students creativity and imagination could flourish, which would support their learning and development when they were back at school. By providing a welcome distraction during holidays, the children will be able to feel more motivated after these expressive sessions. Activating their mind creatively will consequently provide the boost in which to continue academically, with their revision or holiday homework.
With the underpinnings of the Summer School Project, we already had some resources and teachers in place and onboard to provide the Fun and Creative Sessions. We began reaching out to volunteers and curating the sessions which would be taught.
After applying for many grants to make this project possible, we were delighted to be selected to receive the John Lyons COVID-19 SCHOOL HOLIDAY ACTIVITY FUND. After this massive step, the consolidation of this project only continued to grow.
Sourcing volunteers from, companies such as Union Tuition; members within our community; and members of our already fantastic team, we were able to curate and host the creative sessions listed below:
All Around the World
The project began on the on the 31st October, the last week of which overlapped with the last week of our Summer School Project. During the first week, we were still running on a Summer Holiday schedule, making these new sessions highly accessible due to no time restrictions.
Then the COVID rates started lowering, and the demand still growing for Supplementary and Complementary Education, the Government announced the reopening of schools from the 2nd September. Within the following week of the schools reopening, we drew a halt on our Fun and Creative project. The importance of these sessions meant it was paramount to adjust to these changes, and with the help of our amazing teachers and volunteers, we are able to accommodate these necessary alters.
We returned the Fun and Creative Sessions during the October Half Term. This ensured the student's were not overloaded and it gave them time to focus on their studies, now school was back and our Community Catch Up Scheme was running.
We cannot say enough thanks to the brilliant teachers and volunteers that ran these insanely creative and expressive online sessions. At first running within the last weeks of the summer holidays, to then continue during the half term; we saw 50 fun and creative sessions take place. We saw familiar and new faces learning and letting their hair down.
See below pictures of some of the online sessions that took place!
Promotion and Presence
Knowing how vital these Fun and Creative sessions were, and the accessibility that they had, we knew we had to keep pushing for more. Making sure we were present with this project on Social Media platforms (Instagram and Facebook) was crucial to the outreach of these sessions. As we are so passionate about our community, we made sure to keep our presence with local Facebook groups. Constantly posting and updating our followers and community about the sessions that were taking place, helped to ensure they were as beneficial as possible.
If there is anything that children and students needed, it was an open and imaginative project, a new hobby or subject, and we saw this through the participation and enthusiasm of the students that attended. We could see that these sessions took their mind away from the mental strain of the pandemic and the loss of their education due to it.
As the penultimate session came around and the project was approaching the end, it felt quite sad. Not only did the student's enjoy, but the tutors and volunteers loved the sessions and were so thankful for the opportunity. We hope that these various creative sessions sparked a new or old hobby within these student's, and inspired them to explore their creative side.
We at Znaniye Foundation hope to incorporate and continue providing these creative and fun aspects to as many projects as possible, which will help nurture children’s creative characters and implement a positive wellbeing mindset. Our Confidence and Wellbeing sessions will also embody the attitude we have towards fun and creativity. We encourage you to contact us if you are interested in volunteering with us; if this project is calling your name, give us a call or email, we would love to see how we can get you involved with sessions like these, that support and inspire students. If you would like to get in contact, please send an email to the addresses below:
For more information about our Main Funding for this project,
please visit http://jlc.london/
We are always looking for donations to allow our projects to grow and to enable us to reach more youth and communities. If you are interesting in donating, be it funds or materials, please donate directly to the below, or email us for more information!
Donations can be made directly to the Znaniye Foundation Account
ACCOUNT NUMBER: 30049691
SORT CODE: 23-05-80