Zaanse summer school founder pauses: ‘I was hoping to continue’

She would have preferred to stay for a few more years, but ten years later, Zaanse Summer School founder Margreet Dekker (66) has already retired. And because it’s not easy for everyone, I’ve committed to giving the kids a good time during the summer holidays. Just before she left, De Zaanse answered seven questions.

Margaret Decker Retires: I’ll Miss Her – NH Nieuws / Thyra de Groot

1. Why did you start Zansea Summer School?

“They came from Zhan Elementary School with the question: ‘A summer school must be established. It has yet to be fully designed. It must be academic, but also creative. We thought you’d be the one for her. “I immediately thought this was a great job and I grabbed it with both hands.”

Why are you so excited to teach kids in the summer?
“My motivation is to give the kids a good time during the summer vacation and let them try something out and try it. I come from a very normal family, but we always went on vacation and always saw something. Making a campfire with my dad, going on a hunt through the woods with my mum at Night, I experienced something that you looked at fondly, the longer it was, the more fun it was.

The idea that there are kids hanging around the house all vacation and trying nothing, I find very sad. This is why I strive to allow children to gain experiences.”

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Zansi Summer School – Delivered

How did that look at first?
“We started with groups of fourteen kids. Right away with two teachers. The system we have now. I think it was four weeks, but then the teachers had six weeks off and I still managed to find more than enough people for that.” At the time, that wasn’t a problem at all.

We learned a lot in those four weeks. For example, having babies around you for four weeks makes you very tired, especially if you organize it our way. Reading, language and math in the morning and afternoon workshops. You’re tired of it yourself, and so are the kids.”

2. What were your expectations in 2012?

“I was expecting the kids to sign up en masse. That wasn’t the case at all. I had teachers, but no students. I am a member of the Rotary Club, where you can discuss matters about your work confidentially, and I have all kinds of advice about that I took some of it, like more ads in the newspaper, flyer and classroom.

Originally I thought: Emailing the teacher is enough. At first, teachers in particular had a certain resistance to summer school. They thought it pathetic that children had to go to school during the holidays. This was also fairly common among parents, although they were immediately happy to have something for their children during the holiday. Of course, this wasn’t always the right idea, because it’s not meant to be a childcare facility. She was mainly fighting against the unknown.”

Now the summer school is very well known in the area. In recent years there have been more than 500 registrations. Due to the lack of teachers, not all children can get a place. How do you see that in the future?
“The signs aren’t favorable yet. Of course you don’t know what the future will hold, but I think we’re dealing with a teacher shortage now and this is the year after Corona. Everyone had such a great need to go on holiday. I think those two things are at play now, but I’m afraid it will be.” It is very difficult to find teachers next year.”

“She was basically fighting against the unknown.”

Margaret Decker, founder of Zanes Summer School

“Since Corona we had 500 students, before that 250. For 250 students you need ten groups and 20 people. In the last two years, I had 40 people. Now I also need 40 people, but I did not go beyond 24. There was a shortage Great and recordings went very well.

So I stopped enrolling during the May break, when we were in the 400s. I thought, “Maybe I should disappoint 100 students and cancel.” Then my driver came up with an idea Weekend Academy to hire. He wanted to try it.”

In 2020, teachers Jurriën and Gaby talk about the Zaanse Summer School. The text continues at the bottom of the report.

Zaanse Summer School – NH News

3. What is the most memorable student story for you?

“For years, I had someone who had all her daughters in summer school. One of those girls knew that she wasn’t that smart and that there wasn’t much in her. But in the end she chose pre-professional. That mom was so happy and said, ‘I think That it was because of the summer school, because that’s how she saw that learning can be fun too.”

It is hard to imagine that a child in elementary school hates learning. From my point of view, you go through this elementary school normally. But it is not. If you have a happy father, I am happy. Or if you get a message from a parent: “For the first time my kids go to school, they don’t go to school crying.” Then she thinks “How sad, because that means they haven’t been to school in years.”

4. The groups are a little bigger and the week is shorter, but what has been the biggest change in the last 10 years?

“We know how to reach the target group better and better. We like mixed groups, and that works well. Then they help each other. You don’t want a like-minded group.”

We used to have kids who barely needed any help. We have paid a lot of attention to this in recent years. Of course we want kids who are really left behind. Unfortunately, a child’s social background often plays a role.”

5. Are you completely satisfied with the current format of the summer school?

“Yes, I think I gradually found the perfect shape. I am convinced that improvements can still be made in different places. I also always try to be open to changes from the outside. Judo and boxing lessons are now freely available and then I go straight to it.”

In general, summer school is still what we wanted, but every year you ask yourself: “Was this the better version or could it be better?” In fact, you automatically get the thoughts or insight “this part could be better”. That’s what I focus on.”

6. Where do you hope the summer school will be in ten years even if it is without you?

“I wish I could see for myself if I could continue every year. Anyway, I have the sense and energy for that. But I am not the summer school. Summer school for kids. Kids can experience a fun, educational summer school. And if that can be guaranteed, I’m happy Very. I am only interested in children.”

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Margaret Decker says goodbye to Zansea Summer School – NH Nieuws / Thyra de Groot

“I will miss it, but I must honestly say that looking for and finding teachers has been a good business. I will do this work again, but it is not always good. If that is the most important thing, then what? It seemed a little bit this year, so you have less and less time. For things that are really important. But this only needs to be done, because without teachers you would not have a summer school.”

Has a successor been announced yet?
“No, the board will see how it goes next year. Whoever gets asked, it could be Weekend Academy. It’s still open.”

7. What if summer school disappeared?

“I think that’s a huge loss for the kids. For most of the students it’s just a fun time, three weeks of summer school. I think it’s a necessary facility. They have a structure and very nice things happen to them.”

At first the idea was still there: then we train them and catch up with the arrears. But if the child is a weak student, he remains a weak student after the summer school. But sometimes, a different interpretation, a teacher or a master ensures that the ball will fall. This makes me happy. We have plenty of time to explain that.”

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