Romania Summer School – Week 1

This week saw the return of Summer School at Little Johns House in Romania, after a two year hiatus due to COVID. Some of the pupils taking part have taken time to reflect on their first week in Romania and wanted to share the following with everyone back home:

Weekly Newsletter #1

Getting to Little Johns on Saturday night after a long day of traveling (filled with a few memorable moments) felt great. Waking up on Sunday after a long sleep to see Little Johns in the sun meant we could explore and eat breakfast outside in the courtyard. We quickly met the residents and the singing and dancing soon followed. After a quick briefing from Beth (one of the Trustees of the charity, general all round fountain of knowledge, and Little Johns’ legend) we made our way to the well and collected some water to clean the face paints, which instead ended up with our legs getting used as a testing palate. Some more playing and getting to know the residents, as well as some quick sorting through of the supplies, led us up to lunch. After lunch we played basketball as well as helping to build a trampoline (although we have to admit most of the work was done by Laur, one of the residents!). The idea of a walk into the village and getting an ice cream was met with a lot of excitement and an explore of the valley Little Johns is in led us to what is know as ‘frog rock’, although none of us could work out why it was called that! Dinner was roast chicken with the best mashed potato and garlic beans we had ever had, which quickly disappeared as is was delicious. Once again our beds were met with sleepy eyes and our excitement for the first day of Summer School.


Despite having to wake up earlier after our weekend settling in, everyone seemed excited to see what the first day of Summer School would bring. After breakfast we set up for the day and some of us got into our tutus and fairy wings to welcome the visitors. The morning was jam-packed with activities – dressing up took an immediate hit as several Disney princesses emerged from the play room. The garden was constantly buzzing with excitement and fun games such as colourful face painting, bracelet making and hamma beads. Meanwhile, in the front courtyard the basketball was the centre of attention. We took a break to have ‘Circle time’ which included a snack and lots of dancing. The Dollar group preformed our dance to Pitbull’s ‘Time of my life’ then we all joined in for some traditional Romanian dancing followed by the Macarena. After a morning full of activities and laughter, we enjoyed a relaxing lunch outside in the sun. Later on, we took a 15 minute bus trip to an open air museum to see what a traditional Romanian village looked like. We enjoyed walking through the woods, stopping for an ice cream and checking out the gift shop. After exploring, we headed back to Little johns to have another delicious meal.


After the first day, we all settled into the swing of things at Summer School. The second day brought more laughter, fun, dancing and fancy dress, and so once we were done we started a long walk to the swimming pool. The weather was nice, but maybe slightly to warm which made the pool at the end of our walk all the more worthwhile. The outdoor that we were originally meant to go to was shut however we went to the indoor pool and had a great time. The showers after our swim was definitely the highlight for a lot of us, having had bucket washes up until that point. The wander back to the house was much more pleasant and we went back to a lovely cooked meal!


On Wednesday, we began Summer School with brighter weather but the same enthusiasm as the two previous days. The usual face painting/Hama bead/crafts frenzy began, but my highlight of the morning was our impeccable performance at circle time, watched by all our visitors and under the watchful eye of the two beautiful Alsatians living next door. After a few more hours of basketball and colouring, we tidied up and headed into Sibiu. Our task for the afternoon was a treasure hunt that took us to various towers and markets – or in my group’s case, major detours while Charlie attempted to figure out the Google maps directions. We were rewarded with a delicious dinner in a local restaurant and a quick stop to an ice cream shop en route to the mini buses which took us back to Little John’s with a smile on all our faces.




By the time Thursday rapidly rolled around, our routines were set and everyone was ready for what was set to be a scorcher of a day. The highlight of today was being involved with the face painting and tattoo stations for Summer School. We spent the morning painting lots of spider mans and butterflies but by the end we all ended up being painted on by the kids – some truly spectacular looks of blue paint mixed with gold eyeshadow was certainly a strong look! After our daily macarena and cha cha slide on one of the hottest days of Summer School, we headed to the escape rooms for some fun and team building. After an hour of struggling to escape we all ended up escaping with minutes to spare, but what was even more rewarding was beating the teachers! Our prize was no breakfast duties for us the next day which we all loved!



Summer School on Friday was packed with excitement, but also sadness as we waved goodbye to some of the attendees from the week. Usual tables involving various crafts were busy as ever, and an addition of pass the parcel during circle time was welcomed by everyone. Following some emotional goodbyes, we had a quick lunch then eagerly piled on to the mini buses, ready for a relaxed weekend in Brasov. Arriving at the hotel certainly brought smiles to everyone’s faces after a long drive, with the thought of a hot shower (or gym for some) luring us in. Before the long awaited shower however, we dived into a Chinese takeaway on Mrs Caine and Miss McGookin’s balcony, with people already adorning the hotel robes. A relaxed evening was certainly enjoyed after the extremely enjoyable, but exhausting weekend at Summer School, with everyone ready for a recharge.

After a well deserved long lie on Saturday morning, and a delightful hotel breakfast (with a stunning view over the city to accompany it) we set about getting ready for more adventures. After the fun of trying to organise multiple taxis, we arrived at Aqua Paradiso, Brasov’s impressive swimming park. The water park was fun, between saunas, water slides and doughnuts, and we even managed to perfectly time missing the rain! After the swimming park, we then headed into the city centre for some lunch and a bit of shopping before making our way back to the hotel to spruce up for our ‘family’ dinner. We enjoyed our stroll down the hill to Pizzeria Della Nonna. Everyone enjoyed a delightful Italian feast, while chatting away about our favourite moments from the past week. Once we were all sufficiently full, we made our way back to the hotel, which did involve a bit of an incline – thankfully we were fuelled by the ice creams we picked up on the way. With full bellies, tired legs, and heavy eyes, we hit the hay without the sound of the local cockerel cock-a-doodle-doing at the wrong time to keep us up, dreaming of what next week would bring.