Thursday, 14 August 2008

Day camp

My children attended summer camp this year - the programs finishes today - held in the newly opened gymnasium operated by the local council. This was one of the best schools they ever attended: no books, no pencil cases, just bathing suits and walking around barefoot all day (to prevent the surface of the gymnasium floor from getting damaged).

kleisto gymnastorio nea hora hania chania

The gymnasium is located on the outskirts of the oldest suburb of Hania, called Nea Hora, which means 'the new country': at the time this area was developing, it was considered a new place because it was the first real outer suburb of Hania, built westwards of the old port, which was the focal point of the old town. Nea Hora stretches out from the old town to the point where the river Kladissos pours into the sea. It is here that the gymnasium has been built.

The children assemble every morning some time after half past seven (a great help for working parents - working hours vary, but an early morning start is usually the norm, to beat the heat of a Mediterranean summer). Wearing their bathing costumes, they walk to the beach for an early morning swim - the first activity of the day. Because the main entrance of the gymnasium is situated on a side road, the children march along a purposely built footbridge that safely gets them to the beach without the need to cross any roads. Apart from safety reasons, the bridge has been designed very aesthetically.

footbridge nea hora hania chania

The road runs directly along the riverbed which empties out into the sea.

nea hora hania chania

The beach comes into view at this road. Once their beach time is over, they are taken back to the gymnasium and given a snack: sandwich rolls, croissants or cheese pies, and some orange juice - just the kind of food they love to eat. The rest of the day is shared among various activities: athletics, ball games, board games, arts and crafts, and team work.

nea hora chania hania

This is the kind of school that makes me wish I were a school child once again.


  1. fantastic! great way for children to grow! wish these school schedules would be introduced in schools all over the world!

  2. What a brilliant idea! I especially love the safety forethought of the footbridge!

  3. and what we have in China are those homeworks, all the homeworks, summer-camp? We never have that good treatment,at least my generation didn't have.

    Goodluck to your kids.

  4. Wow. I can't imagine a school like this one.

  5. I am sure they hate to see that come to an end!