Why kids see summer holidays as a time to go back to school

Andrea Simpson

Some children see the summer break from school as an opportunity to learn in an area they are passionate about. Ava and Stormie have been attending summer creative performance programs for years. Play-based learning and the dedicated tutors are among the reasons they keep returning.
Why kids see summer holidays as a time to go back to school

Ava Oberoi; image supplied.

Having attended creative holiday programs since she was three, summer school at NIDA has become curious and creative nine-year-old Ava’s second home; it’s where she meets her friends and reacquaints herself with the school’s mentors and teachers.

‘Her favourite things in the world are drama and acting. She just loves it so much, and she has made so many friends at NIDA so she can’t wait to go back and see her friends as well as the teachers there,’ Nanette Oberoi, Ava’s mum, told ArtsHub.

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A busy and vibrant child, Ava is currently between rehearsals for a production of The Nutcracker. ‘Ava does ballet at Tanya Pearson Classical Coaching Academy and she has been accepted by the Bolshoi,’ Oberoi said.

‘Ava has had a lot of positive feedback from directors, and that’s all because of NIDA and their teaching skills. NIDA has helped her in so many different ways.’

While dance and the dramatic arts are Ava's passions, she also says she loves the nurturing environment that a creative program offers. Designed especially with curious children in mind, NIDA Open offers a nurturing and engaging summer program that will help grow a child’s confidence and creative potential.

Stormie Tappenden; image supplied.

Full of energy and spirit, eight-year-old Stormie Tappenden has also been attending NIDA’s summer programs since he was just three.

Stacey Tappenden enrolled Stormie in NIDA Open to allow him to meet like-minded friends.

‘He is so out-going and a program like this definitely allows him to be creative. It’s just so much fun. He meets so many friends there who are really interested in imaginative play like him,’ she said.

Tappenden told ArtsHub that Stormie’s social world has opened up, and the NIDA programs have given him the confidence to explore his expressive side.

‘Stormie goes to the programs and he doesn’t know anybody but he makes friends quite easily,’ she said.

‘It’s that social aspect and that performance side of things – you know, standing up in front of a crowd and showing your confidence. Those little skills that you wouldn’t get anywhere else.’

NIDA Open’s program is developed by experts in education and creative development, based on NIDA’s own dramatic arts expertise. Bronwyn Batchelor, NIDA’s Program Manager, Children and Young People said, ‘The most fun part for me is when I’m writing programming and literally thinking, “Where can I take these people’s imaginations?”

‘I always write programs that I know our very qualified teaching staff will have fun delivering because we know from working with young people: if it’s not on point and it’s not connected to their lives then it’s not going to be something that will interest them,’ Batchelor said.

‘So my favourite part is just exploring the possibilities of where imagination and drama-building and play-building skills can take us.’

Tappenden remarked on the inventive program on offer: ‘They run so many programs with different themes that are interesting to kids like Star Wars and Roald Dahl’s James and the Giant Peach,’ she said. ‘Stormie just plays all day.’

Building confidence, sparking creative imaginations and nurturing children in a safe environment are testament to the strengths of NIDA’s 30-year legacy.

Oberoi emphasised: ‘They are very inclusive regardless of the children’s abilities – they just make your child feel so welcome and a part of the group. Nobody is an outsider.’

NIDA Open: Summer Program Information

Now offered nationally, programs are presented as flexible schedules, from one-day bite-sized courses to three-day, and five-day courses.

All abilities are welcome at NIDA Open. Enquire as to the most suitable program for your child.

Sydney classes are running in different locations:

Chatswood 2-18 January
Cockatoo Island 14-18 January
Kellyville 7-11 January
NIDA, Kensington 10-19 December and 2-25 January
Mosman classes run 8-17 January
Parramatta 2-4 January

Classes are also available nationally:

Adelaide 7-13 January
Brisbane 7-20 January
Canberra 19-25 January
Gold Coast 14-19 January
Melbourne 7-20 January
Newcastle 14-20 January
Perth 7-13 January
Wollongong 14-18 January

To learn more about NIDA Open summer programs for children and the closest location to you, visit: open.nida.edu.au/holiday-classes

About the author

Andrea Simpson is ArtsHub's Feature Writer and Reviews Editor. Andrea is a Filipino-Australian writer with a love for diverse Australian stories. She is curious about all forms of art, though she has an especially keen interest in the publishing sector.

Andrea has had short stories published in various anthologies, and is currently working on her first novel.  

You can follow Andrea on Instagram @andi_jayyy