UAE holidays: How to keep children busy without shelling out big on summer camps

Self-directed learning enables kids to focus on their specific areas of interest, allowing them to delve deeper into subjects that captivate their attention


Nandini Sircar

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Photo: AP
Photo: AP

Published: Mon 3 Jul 2023, 6:00 AM

Last updated: Mon 3 Jul 2023, 2:34 PM

Creating opportunities for self-directed learning could be the way forward for children during long school breaks, as not everyone needs to be enrolled in summer camps.

Experts highlight that self-directed learning enables students to focus on their specific areas of interest, allowing them to delve deeper into subjects that captivate their attention. Educationists emphasise that this fosters a genuine passion for learning, helping them pick up hobbies they may try to pursue later.

Ian Thurston, Principal, Dubai International Academy Al Barsha, said, “Students are encouraged to reflect on the year they’ve had, being proud of the things they’ve achieved and the areas that they’ve improved in, whether they are academic, sporting, musical or social, setting targets for the year ahead.”

They encourage students to take a break from that routine and enjoy some downtime. “It’s important to take a rest and spend time with family. Do something special like an internship, start your own business, learn a new language or play a musical instrument. Read, read and read some more!”

Girish Hemnani, a Life Coach and Energy Healer based in Dubai recommends a few approaches to meet individual needs and learning styles rather than always sending them to structured learning programmes like summer camps.

He said, “Encourage children to explore their interests and engage in enjoyable activities. Focus on nurturing their intrinsic motivation, enabling them to be driven by their curiosity and enthusiasm for learning, rather than relying on external rewards.”

He highlights recognising the close connection between emotional well-being, engagement, and learning.

“Grant children some control and autonomy in their learning process. Provide opportunities for self-directed learning, allow them to choose topics of interest, and involve them in decision-making processes. This fosters their motivation and engagement.”

According to experts, when children engage in learning activities independently, such as reading, cooking, gardening, or building and playing, they cultivate problem-solving and critical thinking abilities that are transferable to different situations.

Emmanuel Keteku, Principal/CEO, GEMS Winchester School – Fujairah, said, “We encourage students to make time to read together with family members – this could be storybooks, news articles or even old family recipes. Remember to keep active, too, and if the weather is too hot to be outside, look to create fun activities inside where it is cooler. Children could even take up a new hobby or pastime to keep boredom at bay and share this with their new teachers when they return to school in the new academic year.”


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