In bed with wood lice: 6 tips for ruining your summer school

    The ubiquitous annoying arthropods, bureaucratic problems, drunken residents of neighboring villages, food poisoning and injuries - all this can turn summer school life into a real nightmare. To prevent this, learn from the mistakes of others.

    We are a team of the Pilgrim social educational project, and in this article we will pass on some fairly original experience. First, let’s talk a little about our history.

    The emergence of the idea of ​​"Pilgrim"

    It all started with a biological circle. At school No. 11 of Obninsk, the Ekos biological club worked. Interested guys could learn new things. The circle was led by Marina Mikhailovna, a biology teacher.

    We liked biology. Gradually, an ordinary school circle began to turn into something more. At first we decided to go in for summer and go camping. Then we went camping with an overnight stay for two days ... Three days ...

    Finally, we organized a summer school. The first summer school "Pilgrim" was held in June 2013.

    Beginning of the organization of the first summer school

    We, namely the students of school number 11, their parents and teachers, decided to stand up in tents in nature and study in the summer. There were less than two students per teacher at this school. It was very useful for training. We wanted to make sure that students were taught not only by adult and experienced teachers, but also by talented students who were recently schoolchildren and therefore understand how best to explain. This is similar to the Bell Lancaster training system.

    Historical reference

    "Summer Schools" were organized in the USSR. This form of education has its advantages - in the setting of a summer camp (and most LS are like summer camps), a student may not think about anything other than studying and resting. Usually, summer schools study topics that are not covered in the regular school curriculum. At first, LS were only physical and mathematical, but later natural-scientific, multidisciplinary and humanitarian began to appear. Examples of modern LS - LASH , LKSH , LSHRR , "Chimera".

    Pupils of our club, their parents and teachers from this school went to the first school. All people were already familiar with each other, and therefore to get together, agree and go to nature was quite simple. The school lasted about 10 days.

    The venue of the school was one old recreation center. We rented a few houses.

    For 7-graders, cell biology was read. According to the school curriculum, it is studied later, but at some summer schools it is traditionally read to 6-7-graders. On the one hand, this is a more fundamental approach. On the other hand, it is possible that the study of something fundamentally new is much more interesting for younger students than an in-depth study of topics already known. At the end of this course, we briefly talked about how multicellularity appeared and how it works.

    Although a lot of material was given at the school, classes were conducted in a freer form than in a regular school. Classes were often held outdoors. At the set time, the teacher and students attending the course gather in one place, sit on foams, beds, other people's necks (:) and the teacher begins the lesson. The lesson lasted two academic hours (90 minutes) with breaks, students could always clarify something, ask a question or tell something related to the main topic. On average, about 20% of class time was “feedback”. At school, an appeal was made to “you” to everyone, including teachers.

    Some other courses are meteorology, the basics of building an experiment, botany, entomology, hydrobiology. About hydrobiology in more detail: our base was located near the Ugra River, and therefore we could easily collect extensive hydrobiological material.

    This dry phrase means the presence of such:

    In the photo - a water scorpion, a bug, up to 4 centimeters in length, breathing through a tail-pipe.


    Medvedka - a large insect, garden pest. A large bear population was found on the banks of the Ugra River in moist soil.

    And such:

    Mokritsa, curled up in a ball.


    We watched some alive, while others revealed their inner world to us.

    In their free time, children could swim in the river, play various games ( ChGK , Evolution, Crocodile, Zarnitsa).

    On the whole, the first “Pilgrim” seemed an almost perfect embodiment of a spherical community-in-vacuum: the graph of acquaintances was complete and close, and everyone lived and studied in harmony and unity. However, we were not in a vacuum, and this deserves special mention. There were other people at the recreation center besides us, and it was bad: drunk vacationers are dangerous.

    In the photo - the moment from the game in Zarnitsa.

    Further development

    We liked the school and we decided to repeat it and even improve it.

    The second school was held at the same base and lasted 21 days, more than last time. Pupils from another school, and even one girl from Vorkuta, came to the second school. The atmosphere of the first school changed due to the emergence of new people - at the first school all people were from the same school in one Obninsk district, everyone knew each other, and less familiar people appeared at the second school.

    Innocent Mironov:
    I did not want to invite too many students. I was at the LESh (Summer Environmental School, which brought together 200 people), and noticed that despite the advantages of a large-scale summer school - a huge number of people, bonfires and companies, interesting courses and events, there were also disadvantages. For example, the number of required curators, people of their circle, increased significantly. Finally, a large school inevitably fell apart into many small worlds, some of which even separated into new schools, and I always saw the school as an ideologically integrated whole, one group with a single moral outline. Little personal utopia.

    The number of courses increased, and now students were able to choose what to study. Each course lasted 5 days, at the end of the exam. On the day, the children had 2-3 lessons of 90 minutes.

    There was even a humanitarian seminar on art history and an elective for weaving baubles.

    Now we will move from our experience to more practical and useful recommendations.

    1. Keep track of children's decisions

    During the second school, the problem of choice arose - the children had to choose some courses and refuse others. To take some courses, it was recommended to take others. It was difficult for children from elementary grades (5-8) to choose.

    Here is one case. One seventh grader went to biochemistry, but at the end of the second day she admitted that biochemistry was too complicated for her (studying biochemistry required knowledge of organic chemistry and was designed for older children). After that, she transferred to botany, but since two days had already passed, she had to catch up with the rest. She passed the exam, but when choosing the following courses, she always asked someone to recommend her what to choose.

    The biochemistry workshop was difficult in this sense, since quite a lot of 8th graders were enrolled there, but for them this material was complicated. In Russian schools, chemistry has been studied since the 8th grade, and general biology (containing elements of biochemistry) from the 10th, and 8th graders lacked knowledge.

    2. Consider bioethics

    This chapter is about bioethics, longing and pity.

    Bioethics is a field of knowledge that evaluates biological and medical actions from an ethical point of view. On many bioethical issues (the moral admissibility of cloning or genetic modification, the legalization of the organ market), people are actively arguing.

    In our practice, all bioethical problems consisted in the fact that someone was sorry to cut someone. When children are raised, they are usually forbidden to torture animals and insects. Actions with plants limit less, but alas - there are still restrictions. However, at our school, especially on the entomological and hydrobiological courses, autopsies of living creatures were performed. To avoid this, specialized layouts could be used, but they are expensive and still different from living beings, which would be unedagogical. Children, especially girls, felt sorry for insects and crustaceans.

    The problem with pity arises even in universities. When signing a training agreement at the Faculty of Biology of Moscow State University, and at some summer bio-schools, it is separately stated that "you will observe, kill, and open up living organisms."

    3. Pay attention to legal registration

    Many good deeds require competent legal clearance. The organization of a summer school also requires a certain amount of documents.

    The easiest and most common way to legally register is to ask for help from some school or other educational organization. Accordingly, parents of students will enter into agreements with this organization. Also, the intermediary organization will conclude contracts with doctors, cooks and draw up some other pieces of paper.

    There is another way. You can create your own "Autonomous Nonprofit Organization", but it is difficult. Some other summer schools occasionally tried this form, got a lot of difficulties and returned to the original version.

    From the very first time, we "went under the roof" of Obninsk school number 11. During the first school, there were small nutritional problems - it was bought wrong, and food had to be bought. There were also minor difficulties in accepting children from another school, and at one point we even wanted to change the partner organization to the local Palace of Children's Creativity. However, now these disagreements are in the past, and we see no reason to change the legal form.

    Since another organization helped us, we did not have to worry about school health certificates and other small papers: School No. 11 worked with them.

    4. Get serious about nutrition

    It should be borne in mind that nutrition should be quite diverse, useful and of high quality. Some students may need some special nutrition, but everyone will need something tasty.

    Innokenty Mironov, one of the organizers of the school, on nutrition:
    I knew it was worth making food more diverse. At other summer schools, the food was fairly monotonous, although satisfying. Not everyone liked this food. Since our base was 20 minutes from the district center of Yukhnov, we could buy a variety of foods: meat, vegetables, sweets (chocolate, cookies, sweets).

    Most students are seventh graders. Many mothers went with us, which allowed us not to hire cooks. This year our school will expand, and we still invited cooks.

    5. Equip life

    Despite the fact that this is a summer school, it is worth considering protection from some manifestations of nature.

    Here's how things were with us:

    During the first school, mosquitoes prevented us, we did not purchase repellents from them in large quantities.

    During the second school - wasps. There were a lot of them. Just say that one of the lunch tricks was "to run away from the wasps a few tens of meters with a saucepan, pour the soup into a plate and come back", because the wasps were hungry.

    We do not know what will happen during the third, especially since we have chosen a new base. However, repellents stocked up in advance.

    6. Engage in dialogue with authorities

    The school was originally created as a regional, Kaluga. This actually meant quite a lot: firstly, there was and still is a rivalry between Kaluga and Obninsk. Unfortunately, the educational organizations of Kaluga reacted negatively to the emergence of a new summer school in Obninsk, and therefore we could not cooperate with them. This meant that it was more difficult to invite teachers from Kaluga, and at the same time we lost the opportunity to move through the Kaluga Ministry of Education. The recommendations of the Ministry of Education in schools, the notification of teachers about our school - we did not have all of this, and therefore we had to deal with advertising ourselves.

    Moreover, we have the support of the government of the Kaluga region (but not the Kaluga administration!) And the Obninsk administration.

    Secondly, a summer school is quite a costly affair. The cost of the school for the first time was low (4,000 rubles in 11 days), but the second time it increased (10,000 rubles in 3 weeks), which was bad. Especially considering that we wanted to invite children from the regions. This time we, going to the all-Russian level, reduced the price, but it still remained quite high (8000 rubles for 16 days). About half of this money is spent on renting a base and paying for food, the rest is consumables, reagents, equipment, salaries for teachers, a doctor and a cook, making T-shirts and other things with school symbols.

    Now the school does not have formal certificates / accreditations / other status-generating papers. We plan to get a certificate of interregional status from the local educational organization “Small Academy of Sciences' The Future for You”, negotiations are ongoing.

    Tips in 60 Seconds

    Think about life in advance to teach children, rather than wash shirts and treat cuts.

    The entrance test is a very important stage of the school. It is necessary to think over the form in which it will take place. We interviewed schoolchildren according to the literature announced a month before the interview, and looked at the ability to think, get knowledge and motivation. This made it possible to select capable children who did not go to other schools. In fact, we have occupied an empty niche.

    If you do not want problems, you will either have to find a good intermediary organization, or to become such an organization yourself. The latter is much more complicated, but allows you to be completely autonomous. However, most LS do not.

    Usually the task of your "Foreign Ministry", people who monitor relations with local people, is simply to prevent conflicts. However, even cooperation is possible (once we had a football match with the inhabitants of a neighboring village). Again, you should think about this in advance, even when choosing a place. LES (the already mentioned Summer Ecological School), for example, always chooses small villages with a school in which to live, and therefore there are no problems with the local population.

    Do not repeat our stupid mistakes yet.
    • forgot about insect repellents. We were annoyed by mosquitoes, wasps, and we were defenseless.
    • they didn’t take a modem with them to their first school, and remained virtually without the Internet.


    Now we are preparing the third school. A new type of classes will appear - lecturers (scientists and scientific journalists) will come to us for two or three days with a short course of lectures. There are more dependencies between courses. An interview appeared in front of the school. We are also trying to reduce the cost of the school by financing from budgets and crowdfunding (you can help us with this by supporting us on the Boomstarter platform until 17:11 this day ).

    PS We also changed the base, near the new base there will be a swamp with cranberries.

    We hope that the article was interesting and you learned something new.


    © Team of organizers and sympathizers . Sources of the first 3 photos of arthropods - 1 , 2 , 3 .

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