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Enjoying summer with mermaids, movies and menus

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Enjoying summer with mermaids, movies and menus

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Is a long break useful or can it be used to learn new things, and in particular, subjects which are not usually taught at school? That’s our topic this time on Learning World

Philippines: Becoming a mermaid

In the Philippines, there is a summer school where girls can learn to swim like a mermaid and become so-called “sea ambassadors”.

Bing Larocque, an instructor at the school, described how it feels to wear a tail: “Once you put it on, you it becomes an extension of yourself, and you learn to do all these movements and all these tricks and that’s what we do when we perform. We do all these acrobatics in the water and it feels great because it’s something you can’t do normally.”

The mermaid school is the brainchild of swimming instructor and professional diver Normeth Preglo. She says that when she came up with the idea people were sceptical: “People were saying, come on: what? A mermaid school? What the hell is that? You know, people did not believe me and still I continued and started our first mermaid camp with a couple of kids, and there the magic came.”

Normeth teaches people extra skills in the water. Some children have wanted to be mermaids all their lives. Others are afraid of the water. Diving helps them overcome their fears.

Sea ambassadors do have a more serious purpose however. Normeth Preglo told euronews they help protect the eco-system by re-planting broken coral in a coral nursery so it can grow again: “We have marine biologists from the Boracay Foundation working with us. They are teaching all the sea ambassadors how to plant coral and how to take good care of it because some corals take centuries to recover from being damaged.”

Romania: Lights, camera, action!

In Romania, some lucky children go to a summer school with a difference. Educatiff is a class in film-making for the young and the very young. It is part of the Transylvania International Film Festival.

The workshop starts with an introduction to film history and basic techniques. Alexandra, one of the pupils, said: “I learned that in order to make one second of film you have to shoot 24 frames.”

Film education stimulates learning and critical understanding, and encourages debates about films and the issues and emotions they provoke. The children develop their own stories and then learn how to animate them.

Learning World saw them writing a story called ‘The Cemetery of Death’, about a family making a film in a graveyard and being confronted by vampires, ghosts, and monsters.

The idea is to allow children to explore all sorts of imaginary worlds. And of course, it is hoped that perhaps one or two of these children might chose film making as a career later on.

The organisers say that being media-literate today means being as familiar with images on a screen as with text on a page, and being as confident with a camera or a keyboard as with a pen.

Singapore: The right ingredients

At Camp Asia, held at the Australian International School in Singapore, there are lots of programmes on offer but one of the most popular is a week long course where children learn to cook up a storm in the kitchen.

The aim is not only to teach children to cook, but to eat a balanced healthy diet. So as part of the course, children learn where the food they eat comes from and how it was produced.

But Emmanuel Stroobant, the celebrity chef who runs the course, also hopes to encourage families to eat together: “When I was a kid it was a compulsory to sit down with my family – no iPods, and no computers – and have a conversation, which is lost, and I want to bring that back.”

From burritos to banana muffins, by the end of the week all the children know how to cook a variety of recipes.

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