Summer School at Magic Years took place from June 7 to July 15, 2016 featuring a balance of academics, sports, visual arts, and nature education.
This year our Summer School program witnessed many new families joining Magic Years for the first time. As a result, the children spent the first week becoming familiar with each other and exploring our environments. We even made friends with our farm animals, and learned that the goats enjoy eating white flowers.
This year we offered 4 classes for 1-2 year-olds, 3-5 year-olds (2 groups), and 6-9 year-olds. The mixed-aged groups proved to be a successful learning experience allowing each student to grow as unique individuals. Children were invited to take ownership of their learning by making choices with different activities during “integrated program” time. Each child was able to focus on his or her own strength. We noticed in the mixed-age groups that the children were more likely to evince a spirit of cooperation rather than competition.
In a mixed-aged class children developed a sense of family with their classmates and became a "family of learners" who support and care for each other. Older children had the opportunity to serve as mentors and to take leadership roles. Younger children were able to accomplish tasks they could not do without the assistance of older children. This dynamic increases the older child’s level of independence and competence.
(Katz, Lilian. (1995). The benefits of mixed-age grouping. ERIC Digest. Champaign, IL: ERIC Clearinghouse on Elementary and Early Childhood Education.)
The Magic Years playground has long been famous for current students and alumni students. It offers children an open space with a large field, fine white sand, swing sets, monkey bars and a jungle gym allowing interaction with nature and the outdoors, engagement in imaginary play, and the development of physical strength and social skills.
At Magic Years learning is continuous and authentic. The playground is an integral part in developing the whole child.
In addition to the Magic Years Arts & Crafts program, we also invited artists from “Attic Studios” to provide special classes introducing art history and different artistic styles to the children, while they practiced new art techniques.
Recent studies have shown that introducing your child to art can actually play a pivotal role in your child’s development, ranging from improving creativity to increasing self-confidence.
Our art programs also played a central role in allowing students to take ownership in the design of the theme for the culminating summer school party.
Special co-curricular activities offered during Summer School helped our children develop interests outside of classroom learning. These classes supported the five essential elements of the IB PYP framework and encouraged our children to be balanced and well-rounded learners.
Our specials classes included:
- Lego Robotics
- Farming and Gardening
- Arts and Crafts
- Thai Language
Snack & Lunch
Studies have shown that a healthy diet at school can sharpen children’s minds and improve concentration and learning. Our goal at Magic Years is to do just that - provide healthy, balanced and tasty meals so that our children can be ready for learning.
Our snack and lunch time was an occasion that everyone enjoyed. Children not only learned appropriate table manners and important lifelong eating habits, but also benefited from food that was fresh, tasty and nutritious.
A morning snack and afternoon lunch were served daily to the children. Teachers used mealtimes as an opportunity to encourage the children to try new foods that perhaps they would not normally eat at home. This helped the children develop a variety of tastes and appreciation for diversity.
Lunch and snack time was also an opportunity for students to build relationships and to demonstrate their skills and attributes.
Children’s Discover Museum Field Trip
The Children’s Discovery Museum in Chatuchak features fun interactive exhibits in three buildings with over 7,000 square metres of space. It also has 3,000 square metres of outdoor space. Popular attractions are excavating dinosaur bones and partaking in other dinosaur-related activities, experiencing the outdoor water play park, engaging in role playing with costumes, building with thousands of Lego pieces, and exploring exciting hands-on science experiments.
The Thor Tawan building houses exhibitions and activities under Creative Space, Creative Science, Junior Thai Kitchen, Dino Detective, and Art Studio zones on the ground floor; Our Friends, Incredible Me, Amazing Vision and Inventor’s Club on the first floor; and Kid’s Playhouse, Wonder Building and Build Our City zones on the top floor.
During our culminating party for Summer School, we invited all of our families to attend a Circus , featuring performances from our students, a magic show from our teachers, and a picnic. The event was decorated with artwork completed by all of our students. At the end of the event students were provided a bag containing all of their work from the summer.
Students confidently showcased the skills they learned from special classes in front of their family and friends. They used balance, strength and movement to simulate various animal movements. Each child created an animal head band, and then came on stage with their “animal group” to perform.
After the student performances, it was time for our teachers to provide an entertaining magic show for our students. Mr. Chairat and Mr. Emmanuel created a own unique magic skit that was humorous and captivating.
Finally, the students gathered for lunch to sit and eat with family and friends for the last time during Summer School. The children reflected on what they enjoyed most during the summer and what they found challenging. They also discussed what new skills they acquired and how they grew.
It was a wonderful summer and the teachers were pleased with how each student grew in so many ways. Thank you to the parents for helping to make summer an unforgettable experience. We look forward to next year’s Summer School at the new Magic Years campus!