Our 8th Annual Therapeutic Summer Program was a fun, social and productive experience. Based at our Lujiazui campus, children enjoyed one-on-one attention. A cohesive and diverse team of staff and volunteers, led by physical therapist and sensory integration specialist Regina Nicolas, delivered daily programming and care to encourage social development and self-confidence. The children were immersed in a Chinese and English learning environment, with instructions given in both languages and encouragement to use both.
Each day began with the same activities: free play, a structured and interactive morning meeting and story-time, complete with thorough discussions. The rest of the day, however, provided opportunities for the children to explore new and exciting tasks.
Twice a week, children went on outings. They visited Family, a local pool facility. At Family, they played with water toys and practiced their swimming skills. Enjoying the summer weather, they visited a park where they played social games like musical chairs and explored the woods and trails. Lego PlayStation was also a hit, giving children the chance to make plans and construct objects such as boats and racecars. These changes of scenery gave the children opportunities to develop in a variety of areas, while having fun.
Our staff designed activities that could be used to incorporate a range of skills and build upon previous knowledge. For example, art projects were often combined with social games. To play “Animal Kingdom”, where children pretended to be different animals, they first constructed their own masks. Another week, they practiced an emergency scenario with a fire truck and ambulance they put together earlier in the day. Getting messy and playing with their friends was a great way to sneak in skill development and learning!
Despite the large variety of topics and tasks, their daily schedules maintained a similar routine. This type of programming meant children could recognize and anticipate activities, easing their transition into and out of summer vacation. They got the best of both worlds: a structured system with exciting new activities to look forward to each day.
“This year, running the summer program has been an enriching experience for me,” says leader Regina. “It’s amazing how different people with different backgrounds, from all over the world, support the children. Fun is such an understatement.” We look forward to welcoming even more children to join us at next year’s summer program!