Summer Camp

Summer Camp Overview

Over the past several years concerns have been raised by African Nova Scotian parents, teachers and community advocates about mainstream schooling not effectively addressing the social, educational and cultural schooling needs of their children. “Social and economic inequalities are not allowed to deny equal opportunity for access to education.” (BLAC Report on Education: Redressing Inequality—Empowering Black Learners, December 1994, p. 15)

As a result of the BLAC report on education released in 1994, a number of community based initiatives have been developed to build up the education experiences of Black learners. Rectifying injustice through education and empowering African Nova Scotian learners has been an ongoing priority for the African Canadian Services Division (ACSD) of the Department of Education. The division is responsible for working with teachers and school boards on programs and services to improve student performance and graduation by providing support to African Canadian students, establishing Afrocentric preschool programs, and providing adult education opportunities.

Afrocentric education is a holistic integrated view of schooling student’s cultures, histories, and personal knowledge at the center of their learning. This educational philosophy has been in existence for many years and has been steadily gaining academic credibility and popularity since the late eighties. “Black learners for generations have been met by schools and teachers who held little respect for their culture, race and communities. Often, they have been met by outright hostility in the schools.  The present generation of Black students is facing similar conditions-cultural barriers and systemic racism. Hence, whether their thoughts are consciously articulated or left simmering, Black students want to know why all or most of the people in charge of their school do not look, talk or walk like they do.  They want to know why the teachers do not come to their communities, and why the curriculum provides little understanding of themselves and their history. (BLAC Report on Education: Redressing Inequality—Empowering Black Learners, December 1994, p. 18)

As a means of addressing exclusion experienced by Black students in the north End Community of Dartmouth, the ABSW Summer Program provides parents and students entering grades 3-6 with an opportunity to build up the existing Eurocentric educational frameworks serving their community.  As well, the program provides four weeks of structured cultural enrichment, academic support and recreational activities to students who might not otherwise have the means to attend a summer camp program.  When students are able to fully engage in learning that develops their culture, personal and collective identities it places those students at the core their learning.

The BLAC sees the need to build in better in-servicing of all professionals and will do this through accredited partnerships.  As the Afrocentric Learning Institute draws on energies from its founding Black volunteer bodies, the neglected black communities would come alive in a million ways: with its youth revitalized, and violence replaced by regenerated purposefulness in all spheres.” as quoted from the BLAC Report on Education: Redressing Inequality—Empowering Black Learners, December 1994, p. 12)

ACSD and ABSW agreed the project should maintain a cultural context in order to make it relevant to African Nova Scotian learners and clearly recognize the importance of interprofessional and interagency collaboration.  They agreed that this type of program would serve the community well. The program would use an Afrocentic leadership model, with a participatory methodology, and would focus on the following key elements:

  • Student’s prior knowledge and learning experiences
  • Critical Thinking
  • Academic Enrichment
  • Encouraging Self-Discovery
  • Encouraging Self-Efficacy
  • Encouraging Self –Esteem
  • Building Relationships
  • Building Life Skills

The ABSW summer program was based upon the principles of (Nguzo Saba) as they correlate with the principle of ANS culture.  ACSD and the ABSW are committed to providing academic, social and cultural enrichment through programming that focuses on a perseveration of identity and a strong sense of collective responsibility. Academic enrichment is a major focus of the program.  Students are given the opportunity to engage in mathematics, science, literacy, history, and art.  Student are offered a curriculum that is presented from an Afrocentric lens.  It is very important that the program include recreation, physical activity and opportunities to go on outings throughout the city, as well as participate in a variety of recreational team building games.

As the National Alliance of Black School Educators aptly observed, “Academic excellence cannot be reached without cultural excellence.”

For more information on our next summer program please contact the office at or call (902) 407-8809