“In the eyes of a child, there is joy, there is laughter
There is trust, there is hope, a chance to shape the future”
Such are the lines from the song, “In the Eyes of a Child” by Air Supply. Indeed, if you look at the eager faces and expectant eyes of the children entering the various stations of the Children’s Summit, you can say that these kids are oblivious to the real world where they exist – the cruel world which is full of almost all sorts of problems.
As the children moved from one station to another, with them is the experience from each station that seems to be medal or ribbon gradually hung or pinned to them. The journey begins at the Mandapat Dome where the children are oriented about the event. Shortly after it, a robotics show is held to everyone’s delight. The children could not help but to gape in awe at the outstanding performance of the acrobats.
The station Science Centrum which focuses on Innovative Learning for one thing, is a nice feature of the said summit. The young children eagerly took turns in trying a hand at the featured science innovations such as the Head on the Platter, Infinity Door, Optical Illusion, and many more.
Of course, the Robotics station is also a source of excitement of those kids. Upon entering the room, they watched videos of robots in different modes and functions. To complete their robotics experience, the kids moved from one substation to another, the first of which shows the different features of robots such as those with sensors and those responsive to light and even sound. In the last substation is a computer-aided robotics game with ball and balloons that completed the children’s robotics adventure. After the last substation, the children seem to be hesitant to leave the room but since other visitors are waiting outside to be ushered in, they had to exit to give way to others and to let them experience what they just had.
Despite the hot weather, the group of young school children did their best to complete their visit to the various stations and these include the e-Library. It houses bookshelves of printed materials and tables of gadgets (tablets) that can be used for researching on particular topics. Few kids tried the gadgets and lingered there for several minutes before going to the Historical Museum which showcases things of the past carefully arranged and neatly displayed in different parts of the room. One would surely be amazed at how those things were accumulated to complete the contents of the museum.
Loud squeals and joyful laughter will surely make someone search for the source of the sounds. On the left side of the entrance to the Siringan Sanctuary is a path leading to a row of classrooms. You have to walk a little further until you reach the room of squeals and laughter. Slowly open the door and presto! Small children are joyfully chasing each other and balls of various sizes and colors are flying here and there as they throw to each one of them balls that they pick up inside the room. If you are not aware about the Children’s Summit, you will surely shout “Stop!” at the top of your voice. In fact, few parents got inside the room and pulled their children out but the kids got loose from their parents’ grips and returned inside the room. That only proves that they are having a good time. Such is an envious sight. An adult may silently wish, “If only I could be a child again.”
The Children’s Summit Adventure will not be complete without entering the Siringan Sanctuary popularly known as the Swimming Pool area. A room was specifically intended for Robotics Engineering – another station featuring the wonders of Science. The children patiently wait outside before being ushered into the room where they can have their photo opportunity, followed by a Gallery Walk to the different areas inside the room and have a glimpse at the displays.
For the children who want to have a bit of thrill, the mini zip line ride and the tower climbing suit them. The mini zip line, though covering only the stretch of both sides of the Olympic size swimming pool, surely gave a thrill to those who had the courage to try it. On the other hand, to those who are not afraid of heights, tower-climbing is a tempting activity at the poolside area. Reaching the peak of the tower demands endurance as the repetitive climbing of the steps may cause faster heartbeat, pain in the knees especially for old adults, leg cramps, and a feeling of nausea. It is a rewarding experience, however, once you conquered all of these. Having a bird’s eye view of the city is exhilarating and it brings a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment once you are at the top. There is no need to worry because the journey going down is far easier than going up.
The water in the pool is so inviting that several kids opted to swim than to roam around the different stations. Some creature lovers, however, enjoyed the presence of tilapia in the mini fishpond located at the far side end of the pool.
This year’s Children’s Summit may have cost the parents fifty pesos for their children’s entrance ticket. To a poor household who can hardly make both ends meet, this would mean having sacrificed one kilo of rice which is good for one meal or two depending on the size of the family. Looking at the bright side, however, the experience – may I say joyful, exciting, worth-cherishing and rewarding – is priceless. The memories acquired by these young children from the few hours of their stay at the summit are something they can look back to as they grow older. It would be a story worth-sharing over and over again.
Let us not rob these young children of the opportunity to enjoy being a child just for a while for they will not pass that way again. An adult who is observing the happy faces and glowing eyes of those children could be magnetized and the inner child in each of us may even want to resurface.
As I end this feature article, a crazy thought struck me: “How about holding an Adult Summit not focusing on learning and other stressful activities but purely for fun and enjoyment?” I hope and pray that someone somewhere is somehow thinking the same and make the move for this to be realized. In this case, we can relate to these lines of a poem:
Life is too short not to be enjoyed
Reward yourself for the pains you endured
Set a time even just for a day
To be joyful, happy or gay.