Summer in the City
Martha’s Table’s Children and Bridge Program has just begun their summer programming and it is looking to be a great summer! The program provides the children with a stable environment in which they feel safe and comfortable to be themselves and to explore new concepts of creativity and knowledge. Martha’s Table truly caters to the needs and wants of the children. The Children and Bridge program is one of the few after-school/summer care programs in the DC area with a national accreditation and its quality shows through the curriculum.
The program begins every day with the distribution of a well balanced breakfast to all of the children. They are given time to socialize and digest their food before they head out on the daily outing, which includes; visits to the library, pool or museums. Afterwards, the children participate in an organized physical activity. Following that they return to their class rooms and are given a nutritious lunch. Lastly, they participate in an educational workshop; in which they learn a new skill. Every Monday and Wednesday students learn how to speak Yoruba and every Tuesday and Thursday they learn the necessary skills in the art of debate.
The children have only attended a couple of classes and the debate workshop is proving to be a big hit. Every lesson is filled with enthusiasm and excitement, which is often seen through the children jumping out of their seats in order to ask questions, waving raised hands around in the air, and fidgeting with their chairs and hands in order to wait for their turn. Within the workshop they learn how to work together as a team: they help each other develop ideas and form positions on arguments. Ronald Allen, Program Manager for Martha’s Table’s Satellite Program at Shaw Middle School at Garnet-Patterson, is an outstanding teacher; his years of dedication and passion for the art of debate exude when he is teaching these children. Every class is jam-packed with activities that require students to work as a team to accomplish goals. It is a genuinely heartwarming sight to see all of the children working together, and it is also very interesting to see how the class operates. The classes are organized yet chaotic, strict yet playful, and serious but so much fun. The workshop maintains a balance that gives students the opportunity to learn.
Yesterday the workshop began its first real debate: one that has been stirring up the playground since its invention, “Peanut Butter OR Jelly; which one “makes” a PB&J sandwich delicious?” Through debate as well as practice “simulations”, which tests the student’s ability to pay attention to details, the children have gained listening and comprehension skills that will make them better students. They have expressed their genuine love for the new workshop. Armani Noble says “[she] has become a more confident person…..now [she] likes talking in front of people”. And Alexander Perkins says “it’s [his] favorite part because it test [his] brain power….And [he] likes the challenge”. The new workshop is looking to be an amazing class and the students are finding it very beneficial, they are learning how to better collect information and present it in a manner that is professional. Through this workshop, the program hopes to continue to encourage students to become more knowledgeable, confident and well spoken.