Friday Focus - Schools out for Summer! Guest Blog by Pat Carlin For many us, the end of the school year can bring mixed emotions. From the overjoyed child dreaming of a homework free summer to the apprehensive parent worried about how they will fill (and finance!) the longer days of their beloved but expensive kids. An often overlooked viewpoint is that of the teacher, who as explained by Pat Carlin can cycle through a range of emotions as they prepare to close their class door for a final time, and wave off the ‘wee ones they have supported, educated and nurtured for ten months'. ‘I taught for thirty years and I can tell you the feelings are the same every year. For a teacher, there is an apprehension in September in which they question themselves – Can I add to this child’s journey, can I unlock their potential and recognise their uniqueness so that they can be confident to share their true selves and bond with the others. We go through the winding journey from September to June together and what a journey it is. Beginning as strangers we then form a bond that feels almost parental, after all we teachers assume responsibility for the most indescribably precious things in your life while they are in our care. Like any journey there are a mix of bumps in the road, joyous times, setbacks and progress and they all ebb and flow and play their part in further strengthening our bond. We are fully aware that in our time together, we become a part of the child’s world and the children should know that they become a part of ours forever. Each child becomes part of the patchwork quilt that make up our time in teaching, all as equal, unique and important as the next. So come June there is a sadness, like a parent letting go and the absolute certainty that no class could ever compare to this one, Which of course they do because an excited new bunch arrive with us in September and we immediately grow the extra room in our hearts needed to do it all again. The extra time at home will of course come with the inevitable financial pressure to parents. In my experience, parents worry if they can provide for their children, extra lunches and snacks can add to the already expensive grocery bill. I can assure you now, this worry is only because you care for your children so it is entirely normal! My advice is always to combine the extra time and the need to keep costs down by making a fun activity out of your new lunch times spent together. Make lunch together, homemade pizzas on already prepared and inexpensive tortilla wraps are a great learning exercise and your children will be full of curiosity during, and achievement when they see and taste their finished product. After, talk to your children, tell them stories about your summer and ignite their interest in ‘old fashioned’ games which are simply just pre-technology days. Play football, street games, go to a park – these are all great for body and mind and you might even find your tired kiddies give you an early night and a lay on!’. Local community/voluntary groups in your area will be offering Activities and Summer Schemes. Get in touch on the contact numbers provided and for any additional support you can contact the ETHOS Family Support team. Rainbow Child and Family Centre: Youth Summer scheme runs for 6 weeks for age groups 5-8 and 9-11. Both summer schemes start on Monday 3rd July and include fun, games and trips each week! Call 028 71353724 for more information .The cost for registering your child is free and the cost for summer scheme is £10 each week for one child and £5 for every child thereafter. Off The Streets: 8 weeks of summer scheme beginning 3rd July for young people adged 11+- With trips including - Bowling alley & lunch, Games and party, Regan Country Park, Lock N Load, community workshops etc. New for 12 young people each week from the Greater Shantallow Area £2 for full week Also running, is their Good Relations Programmes, Intervention Programmes, Residential for 24 young people on the 15th and ending the summer with a family fun day at the end of August. OTS will continue to carry out on street support to young people throughout the summer months Studio 2: Summer Extravaganza starting 3rd July for 8 weeks of Arts, Crafts, Dance, Drama and Singing! Also Kids Disco tonight! Contact 02871 358750 Keep an eye on our GSAP website www.shantallow.net for Talking to our Babies events as well as exciting 'Street Gaelic' coming soon!