Durham University students’ YouTube summer camp helps children keep learning during school holidays

Durham University students are helping children continue their education during the school holidays with a virtual ‘Learn with Us’ summer camp.

The students have made educational videos on subjects including the environment, the human body, space, foreign languages and cultures, psychology, Harry Potter and world news, and shared them via a YouTube channel.

In just six weeks, the channel has attracted more than 2,800 views.

One parent whose son has taken part said: “The Learn with Us Summer Camp is a great initiative, and my little boy has really enjoyed the interactive sessions, particularly learning new languages. I think that the style and delivery of the content is really accessible and engaging for children, while adults can also learn a lot too.”

Tom Hunt, UKS2 (Stage 2) at Atkinson Road Primary Academy, in Newcastle, said: “It has been an absolute pleasure to be involved in such a positive project. Providing fun and engaging online learning experiences for children during their summer holidays is something we all feel very passionately about, particularly when many children have missed so much schooling due to the pandemic.”

The project was started by Giammarco Di Gregorio, an Italian undergraduate studying Psychology at Durham University.

The Northern Echo:

Giammarco Di Gregorio, who founded the Learn with Us Summer Camp

Giammarco, who is about to begin the second year of his degree course at Trevelyan College, has received a Laidlaw Scholarship in Research and Leadership and is researching how to enhance the academic achievements of children growing up in alternative care.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, he began volunteering with the Laidlaw Schools Trust, teaching Italian. When lockdown began and schools closed, he recruited peers and friends to teach other subjects online and the Learn with Us Summer Camp began.

He said: “Learn with Us Summer Camp is designed to bring fun, continual and interesting educational activities to children in their own home. There’s a diverse variety of lessons and activities, and extra practice in case the children would like to do more.

“I wanted to do what I could to help children keep learning during the pandemic and the summer holidays. It’s amazing what you can achieve when you have a great team and a meaningful partnership come together. We couldn’t be prouder of all of our volunteers and everything they are doing at Learn with Us Summer Camp. They really are inspiring, ambitions, curious, brave and determined.

The Northern Echo:

“A special thanks to Laidlaw Schools Trust for their priceless support throughout the creation process of our weekly lessons. Without them, this would never have been possible. I never would have thought we could have achieved what we have together.”

New videos will be posted until Friday 4th September. After that, all existing videos will remain online. Search YouTube for ‘Learn with Us Summer Camp’ or visit www.facebook.com/learnwithussummercamp

Giammarco is also looking to link up with North East schools to increase engagement with the Learn with Us Summer Camp and considering how the project could be developed for future school holiday periods.

He said: “Our mission in the following months will be about establishing new meaningful connections with local schools, education professionals, families and children to better understand what we can at Learn with Us Summer Camp to facilitate children’s intellectual development and curiosity outside the classroom on our YouTube platform.”

For more information or to get involved, email learn.with.us@outlook.com.

The Northern Echo:

A spokesman for the Laidlaw Schools Trust said: “Laidlaw Schools Trust, a Multi Academy Trust sponsored by The Laidlaw Foundation, is delighted with the voluntary support that the Learn with Us Summer Camp team and Laidlaw Foundation university scholars have offered our pupils in Sunderland and Newcastle. They are excellent role models and committed to inspiring children and young people to achieve their potential. We look forward to their continuing support through the next academic year.”

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