Hopscotch Summer Program
Keeping young minds in learning mode over the holiday
The Șotron Summer Program, designed and first implemented by OvidiuRo’s Maria Gheorghiu, in 2001 in Bacau, has helped hundreds of teachers and thousands of Romanian children to engage in rich summer learning experiences over the past two decades. Teachers participate on a volunteer basis and through popular training workshops, OvidiuRo gives them the tools to encourage collaboration, autonomy, and critical thinking skills in their students and among themselves.
In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, when children from vulnerable backgrounds did not have access to the online school and because it is important for them to remain connected to learning activities, we conducted the Workshops throughout the whole summer holiday.
In total, in 2020, 550 teachers organized the “Șotron” Summer Workshops in 37 counties and 1,200 children took part in the workshops that took place weekly, from the summer solstice to the autumn equinox. Because the safety of children and teachers is a priority, we have respected all the rules of prevention and hygiene: the groups had no more than five children, teachers have ensured that a safe distance is kept between children, they have taught them to wash their hands with soap and water and to use disinfectant and protective masks. The OvidiuRo Association provided participating teachers with training courses, as well as books and other teaching materials necessary to carry out the activities. Each child also received at least three illustrated books to take home.
A science component based on STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Maths) was added with the support of Raiffeisen Bank, following the popularity of the Povești sub Lupă project. Using magnifying glasses, maps, magnets, germination kits, and geometric sets, as well as non-fiction books, children engaged in a large range of science-related activities and experiments.
Each teacher who organizes a Sotron Summer Program:
(1) Takes part in literacy and science-based regional, county, or local trainings;
(2) Receives quality educational materials to use during the summer module and in their fall classes;
(3) Becomes part of the national Early Education Network.
Who is eligible to organize a Summer Program?
Any teacher that:
(1) Works with disadvantaged children, or agrees to organize a Summer Program in a poor community;
(2) Has taken or registers to participate in an OvidiuRo regional, county, or local training session; and
(3) Agrees to rearrange their classroom and post the ‘before’ and ‘after’ pictures on Facebook.