Published: 03rd June 2020
AHA! Time to go online: How summer camps have found a place in online learning
The co-founder of aha! education speaks about their free online summer classes that have proven to be a big hit among the bored kids stuck in India's lockdown
For Santhosh Subramanian, Co-founder and Chief Curiosity Officer of Coimbatore-based aha! education, spending his days during the lockdown has turned out to be quite fun and innovative as he has been spending it with his family, primarily his little daughter, at Peringottukara, Thrissur. “After the lockdown was announced, each day began with thinking about various activities that could engage my three-year-old child. The realisation that a lot of other parents are in the same boat as me led me to start aha! education's free online summer camp." Called AHA Summer, the online summer camp began on the first of May.
In the past month, the camp has seen more than 500 children from various parts of the country take up their many classes - ranging from Zumba and yoga to storytelling and, most recently, origami. “On average, we have more than 100 children regularly tuning into our sessions which are both activity-oriented and interaction-based with inspiring personalities,” explains Santhosh, who started aha! education in August 2019. What makes this facility invaluable is the fact that at a time when organisations are charging higher rates for online summer camps, aha! is providing them free of charge. The camp ensures a way for children of all ages to have fun. “Generally, students of Class III to VIII participate in our online sessions but during the storytelling sessions, even the little ones assure us their presence,” shares Santhosh, adding that students will also be leading some of the sessions.
Vouching for the positive effect the summer camp has had on her children, Jeyapraja J, an entrepreneur based in Chennai, is all happy these days as her two kids now wait eagerly every day for the sessions to begin. “All through the month of April, we spent our time playing indoor games and watching TV. But since the summer camp began, my children have been more engaged. They now spend their time trying their hand cooking or drawing comics,” she says. The sessions on comics and drawing are her daughter's favourite while her son immensely enjoys the storytelling sessions. “On some days, my mother also joins certain sessions, making it a family affair,” she adds.
Aside from task-oriented fun, the children get to interact with personalities like Yogini Rohini, actor Shiva Suryavanshi and so on, inspiring them to always dream big. And though not all their tutors are famous, they still influence and enlighten the children nonetheless, like farmer Ganesh Tantri did during his session ‘The Story of Dirt’ - he enlightened his audience on the many aspects of farming. With learning being so fun and interactive, it's no wonder that the children and their parents are happy to continue partaking in these sessions even after the lockdown is lifted.