Madaa Creative Center - Silwan concluded the activities it had presented to the children during their winter break with a ceremony attended by hundreds of children in its three branches “The main branch of Wadi Hilweh, Ein Al Loza Branch, and Batn Al Hawa Branch”.
Madaa’s social researcher, Hanan Salim, said: “We divided the children’s winter break into separate days with a specific theme each day; this was applied in the three branches of the center simultaneously, so that the largest number of children from different residential areas in Silwan can participate.”
The activities done on “health day” included making pastries with the children and providing each child with a healthy meal, also displaying an awareness film about food etiquette and healthy eating, in addition to listening to songs about food, and having various competitions to identify healthy and unhealthy foods, as well as coloring pictures of food. They also learned about the food pyramid and the importance of dividing meals. Parents participated in the health day activities. The coordinator of the main branch in Wadi Hilweh, Hanadi Abbasi, said: “we saw the spirit of cooperation between the children who helped their mothers and the staff prepare breakfast, where they kneaded dough themselves and felt responsible as they were wearing aprons, gloves and a chef's hat. We focused on breakfast and the importance of eating it as it positively affects the minds of children, we also talked about obesity, and the damage caused by harmful foods. The children participated enthusiastically in all subjects and expressed their opinions on them.”
Many movies were screened that day and the film that was featured in all the branches was the animated movie “Heart and Mold”, which is a feature film that sails through the brain of the movie’s young heroine and shows how she behaved in different situations, and how she felt. The aim of choosing this movie is that children learn how to cope with their feelings. Abeer Al-Abbasi Coordinator at Ein Al Loza branch- Silwan said: “On the day of the movie, we dressed some of the children as clowns, and let them distribute popcorn to the other children before the beginning of the film. The staff face painted the words “Cinema Madaa” on the children to let them feel that today is different and that all activities will have to do with cinema. We watched the film “Heart and Mold” just like the other branches, then the children colored the feelings, after that we discussed the film, and finally we displayed movies that the children had chosen, which were: “Peter”, and “Masha the Bear”.
The Art Day
On “Art Day” children recycled old and used materials. In the main branch of Wadi Hilweh, the children recycled used plastic cups and added other raw materials to make a large mill. However, at Ein Al Loza branch, the children recycled plastic water bottles and made them into a penguin, and the other children made a model of a “penguin’s house”, at Batn Al Hawa branch, the children recycled plastic water bottles and egg cartons to create roses, chicks, a Santa Claus, and a snowman.
On “Cultural Day” the staff screened a series of movies about Palestine and its villages, the Palestinian cause, the displaced Palestinian villages, and a movie about the Palestinian folk wear. Then there was a discussion between the staff and the children about the Nakba of 1948, the Balfour Declaration and the plot to divide the Arab world. The staff also talked to the children about the town of Silwan in terms of its location, population and archaeological and religious landmarks and the violations against it. Then the children collaborated on drawing a large painting of Jerusalem, they also did watercolor paintings on boards and drew the map of Palestine using legumes.
“The Sports Day” included several activities which included: The game of speed in picking things up where this game depends on teamwork as well as the need for focus and thinking skills, and a ball game that depends on the extent of a child's attention, and a loop game where children have to jump inside of loops, and a balloon game where every child blows the balloon until it pops, one of the main objectives of this game is to have children unwind. In addition to other activities which included: Parachute game, Fisher game, hop scotch, ball games and colored hoops, as well as ball contests.
Talent Show Day
Batn Al Hawa branch coordinator, Nemati Sanad, said: “Many children have talents, and the talent show was an opportunity for them to show their talents. Some children showed their talents by performing Dabkeh dances, others played Oud and piano, some children did a circus act, and others sang rap, as well as acting out a play that was composed by the children themselves. The children also displayed a scouting section, a gymnastics section, and a singing and dancing section.”
Library and Reading Day
Library and reading day included a presentation of children's audio and video stories from Kalila and Duma, which are short stories told by animals that express a guiding moral, and then each child chose a story and read it. The staff distributed two files to each child, the first file contains the elements of the story and the second one is for the child to write the new words s/he learned from the story, each child then explained the story s/he had read and the lessons s/he had learned from it. As for children under 8, the staff read and explained the stories to them; on this day children learned how to listen and to express themselves.”
Day of Religious Culture and Education
The day of religious education included a discussion with children about the values and ethics of Islam, being respectful, and the proper way of ablution and prayer. The children watched educational programs about good-neighborliness and removing harm off the road, then they washed up for prayer step by step, and prayed noon prayer (Dhuhr) together. There was also a segment for religious singing (Nasheeds), as well as religious contests.
Winter Break Goals at Madaa
The social researcher at Madaa Center, Hanan Saleem, pointed out that the main goal for the winter break activities was that all children spent their leisure time in a useful way. Other aims included attaining new skills and getting to know one another. On Health Day, they learned to preserve their identity in the Palestinian kitchen. On Cinema Day they learned new things through watching and visual learning. On Talent Day we discovered the talents they had, we also gave the children a sensation of relaxation through the handcrafts they made, since art is an expressive medium for children. On Cultural Day, children learned about the history of our ancestors and our villages. On Sports Day games were done through teams, this helps develop the spirit of participation and cooperation and children's recognition of the importance of belonging to a group. On Talent Show Day, children broke the barriers of fear and shame. On Library Day, children were introduced to educational values through stories. Finally, on the Day of Religious Education, children were introduced to good deeds and to the importance of good morals.