Schools have broken up in Lebanon and it is summer camp season! Smart Kids with Individual Learning Differences (SKILD) are holding their fifth summer camp, this time in their brand new multi-sensory space at the SKILD Centre in Beirut.

The aims of the SKILD Multi-Sensory Summer Camp are not only for children to have fun, but also to help improve their communication skills, fine and gross motor proficiencies, and academic performance in an environment designed for students with special needs and with a highly qualified staff.

On average 25 children, aged 3 years to 12 years old, are coming to the camp each day. The children display a wide spectrum of learning difficulties, from ADHD to autism.

The camp sessions are designed to be interactive, and at a level that all the children can appreciate and participate. Each child has individually planned objectives that they are working towards during their tutoring time.

There is a theme for each week of the camp, ranging from oceans to health to stars and space. From 8am to 2pm, the children are involved in a variety of activities, including science, arts and crafts, drama, cooking, music, and outdoor games. In science, the children engage in a variety of experiments, from making boats float to seeing their own volcano erupt.  Arts and crafts encourages children to practice their fine motor skills and channel creativity, as well as resulting in them making and taking home many crafts that reflect the week’s theme. The outdoor playground allows for both social and physical interactions through a trampoline, bikes, and playing group games.

The children are loving the camp. “The sensory room is my favorite because we all play together” says Nimer and Mia.  “I’m happy. I like cooking, playing, the videos, drama – all of it!” says Christopher.

Emily Jorgenson, a volunteer from the United States that is helping at the camp, can see why the children are having such a good time. “SKILD’s summer camp is setting a fantastic example for inclusion of students with learning difficulties and children from marginalized groups,” she says. “This is a unique experience for many of these kids, with all of the specially designed rooms and activities, and they are really growing and enjoying it!”

SKILD Center Director, Hiba Al Jamal, is pleased that the camp is going so well so far. “This year’s Summer Camp is a great one!” she says. “Our new indoor and outdoor multi-sensory space is giving our kids better opportunities to learn new skills and have a lovely experience.”

Pray for the SKILD staff as they lead the camp and for the children attending, that they will enjoy learning through playing and benefit from being there.

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