On July 1st the long Czech school holidays began. While many Prague children will be leaving for the country or for holidays abroad, some have no choice but to stay in the city. On Thursday, a special event was held in a park in the Prague high-rise suburb of Opatov. It is part of the programme 'Make a Connection' and covers a whole range of activities from various sports to juggling and competitions. The aim is to show children how they can enjoy their holidays even if they are stuck at home, and introduce them to the various clubs and activities on offer in Prague through the summer. I asked one of the organizers Petr Koek what children and their parents can expect from the event.
''Here they can expect many activities they can do in their free time, for example, games and they can win some awards. They can play games, play sports. We have a professional juggler and two theatre companies and the next day will be for kids who are a bit older. We have two hiphop bands and some art performers making graffiti on special tables.''
How did you come across this idea?
''We applied for a grant to the programme 'Make a Connection'. It is a volunteer programme for young people between 16 and 25. It is open to the public. You can apply for a grant. If they think that it's a good idea you can get up to 50 000 Kc to make some activities or something for other people - a social activity.''
What is the main purpose of this event?
''The first is that this is a celebration of the last school day for kids. We offer them some games to make them happy. And the other purpose of this event is that we offer some other free time activities - what can they do on their own, what they can do with the clubs that are around. We have some materials from all the clubs here in the neighborhood and we give the information to the kids, so if they, for example, have to stay here during the holidays, we show them how to spend time here.''
Can you see the impact of the school system on the children in a negative sense?
''I can't say if it's negative or positive but all the time there is something to change. Some teachers have new ideas and they work with children very well but there are also old teachers who give no space to the children; they have some rules and they keep to the rules and don't look at the children, so it varies. I can't say this is good, that is bad. It is not black and white.''
After your holidays what is your plan for the future?
''After the holidays I would like to work with children in the Club called South Pole (Jizni Pol) and they have various activities. It is an inspiration for me and I would like to improve it with some new ideas.''
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