What I learned by attending
MY GRANDDAUGHTER’S SUMMER CAMP
Like most doting grandparents, I adore my grandchildren and nobody can tell me differently! To me they are each unique and perfect exactly as they are. Unfortunately, for one granddaughter, and for her teachers, parents, and her peers, she has challenging behaviors because her brain chemistry is different. She has difficulty with impulse control, has difficulty following instructions, staying on task, and keeping her hands to herself. She also has unbridled curiosity and is filled with wonder about people and the world around her. As an Educational Specialist I work primarily with students with special needs such as this and their general education teachers to support academic achievement. I know how easy it is for educators to try to compel special students into the routine of a classroom at the cost of creativity and self-initiative, resulting in poor educational outcomes.
Being a concerned professional family member, I was curious to see for myself how my girl would do in an educational summer camp setting.
We both had a great time and learned a lot!
According to research regarding Best Practices of Instruction, students retain information better when they engage in project-based learning that is directed by student enquiry. Well thought out programs are meaningless unless the youth take ownership of their learning. Banner Studios Summer Camp provides an excellent balance between education, recreation and creation of ‘self’ expression. The arts and crafts provide another layer of learning with thought provoking subjects and creative ‘problem solving’ activities and crafts.
The director does an exceptional job implementing a well rounded camp experience. The daily schedule is jam packed with activity based learning and includes breakfast and lunch. There are a variety of activities throughout the day, so campers have many choices that are in alignment with the camp curriculum of conservation, art, and performing arts.
The most amazing thing was listening to the campers enter the studio, excited to continue their discussions from the day before! One camper came in excited to build a Lego replica of a fully self-sustainable community! Another camper was discussing her ideas about the grand finale presentation for the parents and community. Breakfast is a place of discussion and it was fun listening to them plan for their busy day
Plants, trees and bumble bees -the campers researched differences between wasps, and bees and learned about their important contribution to the life cycle and global ecosystem. At the community library, the campers joined their presentation of water habitats in Idaho, and used magnifying glasses to further their discussion of water habitats. The campers enjoyed cherry picking, while discussing the importance of pollination, the dangers of pesticides, and were able to safely observe a real bee hive. They role-played the impact of pollution. Ate popcorn and watched the Lorax and determined that they were each a conservationist.
Ecosystems and Habitats- trip to the zoo, the nature conservatory, and nearby lakes. Students created completed fully sustainable ecosystems and communities with logos, while other campers spent their time on creating a thought provoking rock garden with painted rocks from Dr. Seuss’s The Lora Unless… (“Someone like you who cares a whole lot, things aren’t going to get better, and they’re not. ” Dr. Seuss} Campers created a paper machete project of their favorite endangered wildlife that they observed in the weekly activities. Painting planters, they considered the importance of pond scum in an ecosystem.
Multimodal learning combined that is determined by student voice equates to learning that is meaningful and personally relevant and high academic achievement. That is what Best Pratices of Instruction research says about learning, and that’s what you’ll find at Banner Studios Summer Camp. The students’ art and crafts were thought provoking and will create long lasting memories. The camp combined experiences that utilize student centered enquiry, with community and global environmental concerns, and empowered them to ‘do their part’ as active conservationists. As an educational specialist I can attest that this type of learning is enduring!
Dr. Pamela Harris “GramPam” Ed.S Educational Specialist