What a summer! AALEAD’s Elementary Summer Program wrapped on August 3rd after six packed weeks of field trips, activities, guest speakers, Chinese lessons, construction paper, glitter, crayons, markers, and glue. At the close of the program, we asked students to tell us what their favorite part of the program was and here’s a visual snapshot of their answers:
Clearly, field trips were a recurring favorite, and for good reason! In six short weeks students got to visit a working farm and pick blackberries, have two indoor field days, complete a Museum Scavenger Hunt, compete in the DC Mayor’s Office of Asian and Pacific Islander Affairs Annual Sidewalk Chalk Contest, visit the Newseum, go swimming, participate in a Tennis Clinic at Kastle’s Stadium and finally, everyone’s favorite, – take a trip to Great Waves Water Park!
When not on a field trip, students spent their afternoons learning about health and wellness, exploring the arts, and giving back! Students took part in yoga workshops, learned an Indonesian calisthenics routine, and discussed different aspects of both physical and mental health. For the arts, students got to paint, make and decorate maracas and drums, learn some break dancing, and more! Students gave back by working in Thomson’s rooftop garden where they planted, weeded, and watered.
Additionally, in cooperation with our secondary school program, students helped to designed and decorate a water collection system utilizing our prize-winning water barrel from our participation in the Be Water Wise DC program! Click here to read more about this project from the Secondary School Program perspective!
In the morning, students explored the richness of Chinese language and culture through workshops taught in Mandarin Chinese. Students got to play Chinese children’s games, learn Chinese yo-yo, chess, calligraphy, dance, and music, and act out traditional folk tales. Students also got to make congyoubing (scallion pancakes), sushi, and jiaozi (dumplings)!
To tie it all together, students reflected weekly on their busy summer by creating a newspaper!
On our final day of programs, the Thomson school cafeteria was packed with siblings, parents, grandparents, cousins, friends, and fellow AALEADers. I could not have been more proud as I watched students enthusiastically show off everything they had learned this summer. There were songs sung in Mandarin, a short bilingual play based on a traditional Chinese poem, a scarf dance, demonstrations of Chinese yo-yo, Indonesian calisthenics, and yoga, a rhythm circle, a presentation on our service project, and, back by student popular demand, an encore performance of the Fiesta Asia dance. Watching these performances I was amazed by how much our students had accomplished in such a short amount of time.
We owe thanks to so many people for coming together to make this summer happen. A big thank you goes out to the Children Youth Investment Trust for their funding and support. Thank you also to the Principal and staff of Thomson ES and to the DCPS Office of Out of School Time for making it possible for us to use space at Thomson Elementary School for the program this summer. Thank you to the many volunteers who showed up week after week, supplemented lessons, helped with activities, chaperoned field trips, and so much more. Thank you finally to the AALEAD Elementary School team! These amazing Teachers and TA’s delivered consistent, high quality programming throughout the summer and daily demonstrated their dedication to these students.