Part of the inspiration for this program came from reading Richard Louv’s book, Last Child in the Woods, in which he discusses the growing detachment between children and nature. This program seeks to mitigate that disconnection. Whether creating art using natural materials taking an “alphabet” hike, catching tadpoles, detecting tracks in the mud, or studying a rotten log, campers utilize their senses and hone their ability to see and decipher nature’s offerings. In this sense, the natural world becomes the teacher and campers and staff alike are delighted, surprised and challenged as we connect with the world around us.
Inquiry Based Learning
Children have a natural curiosity and love asking questions as they engage with their surroundings. In our program children generate questions, make observations, speculate about the answers and then arrive at some conclusions. For instance, if the topic is decomposition the children generate some questions about the topic, look at different examples of the process, from a tree decaying to what occurs in a compost bin and then come up with some conclusions. Afterwards they may draw or write about something they discovered in the lesson and share their findings with the group. Through this process, children develop a greater respect and understanding of the world around them.
Sample Day's Activities:
9:00 Group opening
9:10-10 How animals learn:
Clicker Training with Jen-Jen
10-11 Pine cone art
11-11:45 Obstacle course
12:30-1:30 Sunprint cards
1:30-2:00 What is decomposition?
2:00-2:30 Free time choice & snacks
2:30-2:50 Read aloud
2:50-3:00 Group closing
NOTE: Each day has an art, science and a group game component.
"We have had the kids attend camp...two years in a row. We enjoy listening to the kids talk about their day as they describe the animals they are helping with and learning about. They volunteer stories about the fun games they play. The best thing about this camp in this age of electronic devices, is the fact they are OUTDOORS!