Vacation Programmes — Special Events — Year Round Club Activities — Other Activities
Theses are central to the Children’s Centre concept, which sees education as relating to all aspects of life and leading to realization of one’s full potential. Varied activities not only give pleasure, but expand children’s horizons and enrich their experience.
Vacation programs, special events and year round club activities are central to the Children’s Centre concept, which sees education as relating to all aspects of life and leading to realization of one’s full potential. Varied activities not only give pleasure, but expand children’s horizons and enrich their experience. Below is a portrait of the many activities offered by the Children’s Centre.
Activity programs mounted during the August-September long vacation period have been a feature of the Children’s Centre almost from the beginning, the first taking place after Prince Albert Koripamo donated a bus in 1981. Active programs run by parent volunteers took place in the middle years of the 1980s, even before the Children’s Centre had a permanent facility. Mothers led activities in cooking and sewing, art and science skills, excursions and caring for others, while fathers assisted with sports and car maintenance.
In 1993 and following years National Youth Service Corps members posted to the Children’s Centre took up responsibility for the programs, emphasizing creative and cultural arts. The 2000 program was carried out by youth volunteers who had grown up through the program. Programs are now run through the cooperative efforts of committee members, Youth Corps members, members of the university student organization AIESEC and other youth volunteers.
Easter vacations programs were initiated by Dr. Goodhead Uchendu in 2006 and taken up by AIESEC in 2008. The 1-2 week programs utilized a corps of volunteers to conduct activities in computer training, creative arts and crafts, sports, talks, and excursions, as well as a closing show for parents.
More details can be found under descriptions of specific activities below, and in newsletters and annual reports.
This ever-popular vacation activity helps extend the experience of children and gives them the excitement of seeing new things. Excursions may begin close to home, with visits to the zoo, vet farm, archaeology museum, or computing centre. With the bus, excursions could be extended to the town or more distant places— Orba market, the ironworks at Lejja, an aluminum factory, cashew plantation, Ada rice, the Coca-cola bottling company.
Children have traveled to the state capital at Enugu to visit the airport, media houses, the National Museum, a coalmine, or the house of assembly, and to Umuahia to visit the National War Museum. Whether near or far, excursions offer the excitement of an outing and are a most popular vacation activity.
Activities for children 3 – 8 years enable children to learn through a variety of activities, such as storytelling, drama, art, crafts and games.
Arts and Crafts
Art helps children develop in imagination, creativity and self-expression. During vacation programs children have learned to create hand puppets and marionettes, fabric and paper collage, tie-dye, batik, papiermache, macrame, quilts, prints, poster making (pictured here), hat making, and needlecraft.
Cookery classes have been a very popular activity, with attention to both Nigerian and international dishes. Reflecting the diversity of the University community, the 1986 program produced a recipe book, which was expanded and reprinted in 2003 for the 25th Anniversary. In recent cookery classes children have learned to prepare cake, meat pie and fish roll.
Science and Life Skills
A number of Children’s Centre activities have focused on science and practical skills for everyday life. Children develop information skills and learn to enjoy science through games and simple experiments, as well as excursions to places such as the space center.
Other activities emphasize practical skills such as repairing an electric plug or bicycle tire. Other areas of interest include health education and first aid, car maintenance, safety, and computer skills.
Drama, dance, music, and creative writing have featured since the earliest days of the Children’s Centre. Dramas, often written by the children, feature at end-of-program shows and special events like Children’s Day. The focus is on timely themes in the society, such as kidnapping (with the distraught mother shown here), financial crimes, and fake religion.
Creative writing has featured prominently, a recent emphasis being on developing literacy and information skills through creating comic books, writing pocket book biographies, and making bookmarks.
The Children’s Centre concept has included services to the youth of the community since the International Youth Year Workshop on Youth and the Family held in 1985. Activities have included discussions of psychological, socio-cultural and health issues.
Sports a favorite vacation and year-round activity. These have included football, table tennis,basketball, yoga, Kung Fu, and gymnastics. Climbing gyms were relocated from the old to the new playground site to encourage active outdoor play. A recurring theme has been the need to develop playing fields and playground equipment for full utilization of sports.
Sports development received a major boost with opening of the Chukwudi Tobenna Douglas Azikiwe children’s football field, donated by Prof. Uche Azikiwe in memory of her grandson in 2006, and formation of the Cubs football team and reading club under the leadership of Dr. Ngozi Osadebe.
Caring for Others
This program of visits to the Motherless Babies Home was introduced to encourage social awareness and concern for others. Children visit the Home to care for the babies, holding them and playing with them. The response of the babies was so great that the program was expanded into the Motherless Babies Project.
Children’s Day Celebration
Children’s Day at the end of May is celebrated with special events such as a football match between the Children’s Centre Cubs and a nearby team. An especially notable occasion on May 30, 2009 brought together a multitude of children from 15 primary schools and friends and well-wishers from the community and beyond. The theme of the celebration was:
The Nigerian Child in the Next Ten Years. Schoolchildren presented cultural dances, drama, miming, essays, poems and creative arts to the enthusiastic assembly. They also competed in a quiz organized by the student organization AIESEC. Other highlights were the appearance of Mickey Mouse to dance with the children and presentation of prizes.
Every Christmas the wife of the Vice-Chancellor and patron of UWA hosts a party for campus children, often held at the Children’s Centre. These parties feature songs, drama, dancing and presents from Father Christmas.
Children’s Centre celebrates occasions such as Nigerian Independence Day October 1st, World Book Day, International Literacy Day, Earth Day and International School Library Month in October. For instance, Independence Day 2015 was celebrated with an interactive talk by Prof. Onwuka Njoku of Nigerian Independence: Lost and Regained. In 2016 this was transformed into a drama. World Book Day 2017 was marked by visits to schools to share reading promotion activities.