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Parents Corner Articles

Parents Corner

Long live the summer at UMCA!


U.M.C.A. Rich Tree Academy: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

"Long live the summer!" All happy students think alike. I think Leo Tolstoy would not mind our taking such liberty with his famous citation but it is true. Is there at least one youngster from 7 to 18 years of age who would not be pleased about the 2013 upcoming summer break? Reference is often made to Tolstoy's question, "Do you know what this summer has meant for me? ... no student has ever studied so much on his course, and learned so much, as I have this summer!". Students still today revere his genius and can resonate with his words about the unexpectedly happy season which could turn out to be the most memorable of our lives. One never knows what happiness is around the corner as life is full of pleasant surprises.

Director of the school Svetlana Pinsky is speaking in the interview about the upcoming events in the near future for U.M.C.A. Rich Tree Academy students and those who wish to join them at Summer Camp.

Interviewer: " Svetlana, every year you open a summer camp, and probably it is hard to come up with something new each summer. And yet ..."

Svetlana: "And yet, we can do it. This year's summer camp program will include two parts: main components that are usually included in the camp life in school premises - studying, sport, field trips, all kinds of entertaining, and – going outside the city for three or four days.
Beside the great beauty and purity of  Elephant Lake and surrounding nature, our camp counselors never get tired of coming up with unusual games - all of it will make memories which will last for a lifetime. I say this with confidence, because I still get feedback from those who were there last year, when we first made a summer rest which was different and memorable.
Cozy cabins for eight to twelve people with all the amenities, a healthy diet ... By the way, I have started talking about food on purpose: in spite of the  conditions, we provide full meals to children following the menu, which was developed by us and it is based on the principles of healthy diet - no "fast food"! By the way, the children participated themselves in making the menu.
Interviewer: " What do the campers do during these three or four days?"
Svetlana: " A lot! Perhaps the main idea of ​​the trip, in addition to entertainment, is to learn to apply knowledge in real life. Botany here, for example, is not a theory about pistils and stamens, but planting a variety of plants and caring for them. Biology includes observing wildlife in the wild, and so on. And, of course, active, proper rest.
I would suggest inviting our counselors to join in at the end of the conversation and have them share their plans for the summer and for those four days."
Interviewer: " With pleasure. Meanwhile, tell us about the life in the main camp!"
Svetlana: "The first half of the day is devoted to "learning with passion." Classes are built so that students (that include students from junior and senior classes), not only remembered all the things that they learned during the school year, but also consolidated the knowledge, filling in any gaps. Languages, mathematics, literature - one finds here for himself what is needed the most... A benefit for parents that they do not need to hire tutors for particular subjects: we can make an individual comprehensive plan to best suit the needs.
For example, we have developed a special program for students of French. It's a real immersion in the language, because in addition to the lessons of reading and writing in French,  children communicate and speak French during games and sport training ...
We have developed a very interesting and important course on public speaking. It's no secret that many students experience problems when they need to speak in front of an audience, they lack self-confidence. In today's life it became crucial to have good skills to present yourself , to look confident when doing presentations or going to interviews. We teach those skills ...
The second half of the day is devoted mainly to sports, all kinds of science and the "arts": swimming, volleyball, basketball, figure skating, astronomy, dance, drama (we have created Russian theater), cooking ... With great excitement children make the bike tour  around Kleinberg, shoot at a shooting range, and compete in combat sports!
To be able to stand up for oneself is an important quality in today's world (though it always was), but it is important that the victory is achieved not only with fists and physical power. Combat is a philosophy, which includes the ability to use intelligence to prevail. All this is taught by experienced professional coaches.
Among children especially popular are the games like "Zarnitsa" and "Cops and Robbers." This is team competition, where one can experience orienteering in the specific area, check the ability to quickly solve math or logic problems, and to apply in practice survival skills in "field" conditions ...
Of course, we put ourselves in an advantageous position, being situated next door to the Sports Complex "The Pavilion". Thus, all amenities, including swimming pool, ice rink, tennis courts, playgrounds, are at our disposal.
I should mention that summer camp has already entered the international arena: last year we had children from Israel and Russia, and we know that they are eager to come back."
Interviewer: " Is that right that you invite the attention of not only the students UMCA Rich Tree Academy but beyond?"
Svetlana: "That's right. We understand that not all families have the opportunity to send their children to private schools for the entire year. Knowledge obtained in public schools is often not enough for further study.
Summer camp allows for a short period of time, as they say, to "tighten" the children as needed. Of course, this requires serious work from children, despite the desire to completely regress  to a playtime mode..
Those who believe that their academic knowledge is ample or sufficient, may come to us for the  entertainment, travel, and tours. At the same time, I can assure you, every trip, whether it's a museum, a botanical garden or a zoo does not go by without leaving a trace in the child's general knowledge."
Interviewer: "Let’s talk about older students. What will high school students find for themselves in summer school?"
Svetlana: " For them we have created a specific program, successfully proven by the example of the students of our school. This year many of them have been accepted to the most prestigious universities.
I often say that from our school comes  responsible students for whom the main thing is to get not only the required credits, but also sustainable knowledge. And, indeed, the availability of credit can only help with submitting papers to college or university, but what will help further if there are gaps in English, mathematics, biology, etc.?
It is well understood by our students who are willing to work, roll up their sleeves, and to free up more time for the next academic year that the effort put in result in knowledge which will be more than enough.
It is always nice to see young people who were used to being unnoticed in their schools (in the classroom, where twenty-five to forty students) lstart to show their abilities in every possible way. And that is very important for us, not only in terms of learning, but in social development as well. We would like them to become full active members of our community. It is no coincidence we have created a unique institution of counselors – enthusiastic and responsible young people with great imagination and a lot of patience. After completing special training, they help organize parties, sporting events, academic debates, mentoring and  watching over the younger students as well…"
Interviewer: " Well, here comes "Grand piano in the Bushes." What is for you meant by a summer camp and «overnight camp»?
Nicole Farberov, Head Counselor:"I think it's important to create a real family atmosphere in the camp. And in the family everyone has to be a part of its life. Not all children have brothers and sisters, friends with whom one could share their secrets. Sometimes it is hard to share them with parents too. It would be great if we have a frank conversation. At least, last year this happened and it was great.
And, of course, we must not forget about everyday details. One counselor will be in charge for one of the houses the children will stay at. His/her task will be to make sure that junior wet bathing suits won’t be worn, and children feel safe and stay healthy "...
Eugene Sergeyev: "We want to make sure that every week of the summer camp is unique, different from the other weeks. So, one will be marked by Olympic Games (sports and academic), another will be devoted to business and so on. We are pleased that adults do not limit our imagination and creativity, which gives us an opportunity to fulfill ourselves in various fields.
As for the trip the Elephant Lake, it is difficult to compare this unique experience with any other trip. We went out kayaking, went on the catamaran, went into the woods, sang songs by the campfire ... "
Alina Pinsky: "I worked as a counselor from the first year and saw how each time summer camp became even more interesting, more varied. People come here with new ideas, ideas that are fast becoming a reality.
Not everyone has the opportunity to be in the camp during the whole summer, but even in the short term young people have time to manifest more about themselves. It is interesting!
Of course, among the newbies there are children who are used to parents who take much personal extra care for them. They need some time to adjust to our way of life, but as far as I can see, this adjusting time is very small, the transformation takes place in front of our eyes. "
Something amazing happens to time here: it flies instantly!"

Interviewer: "Thank you for your time and giving us a good idea of what the summer will be like!"
The conversation was led  by Michael Berman
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