When it comes to summer camp for young children, finding balance between having lots of fun and providing an education-based curriculum that prepares a child academically for life-long success can be challenging. But here at Children of Tomorrow Learning Centers, we have some key considerations we put in place to create a summer camp that both children and parents love.
Can you believe it’s July already? We are still wrapping our heads around how far we have come in 2020 and here we are halfway through 2021 and our COT summer camp program!
Our summer camp planning started all the way back in January and you may be wondering…how do we create our summer camp? Where do the ideas come from? How do we ensure each child learns through fun and interactive learning experiences?
THE IMPORTANT ROLE OF CURRICULUM COORDINATORS
Each school has a Lead Curriculum Coordinator that guides their fellow teachers with curriculum implementation throughout the year. Through quarterly meetings we sit down, tackle issues and create new ideas for our teachers to implement into the upcoming months.
In January, we sit down and mastermind what we envision our summer to look like starting with a theme. This year it was unanimous for LIVE! with COT. Children will channel surf through summer using bi-weekly themes to learn from. We chose seven themes:
The Weather Channel
ESPN Featuring the Olympics
and MTV (Music Television)
Curriculum Coordinators are a special role that we hold at Children of Tomorrow. We take our top performing teachers in each building and give them the additional responsibility to help guide their own fellow teachers. These teachers are in their classrooms 100% of their days and know exactly what is needed for a successful classroom.
From classroom management, to lesson planning, and behavior guidance, Curriculum Coordinators are leaders in the building to help support their team.
INCORPORATING 5 CORE LEARNING AREAS EVEN IN SUMMER
Once themes are chosen and delegated, the real fun begins: planning. Math, Science, Language and Literacy, Art and Physical Fitness are the key indicators that we encompass our lesson plans around.
85% of the brain development occurs by the age of 5. Learning doesn’t stop because it’s summer time! This is why it is important to keep a routine in the child’s day even at summer camp. By incorporating these 5 learning areas (Math, Science, Language and Literacy, Art and Physical Fitness), children are continuing to build off previous knowledge and gain new skills in these learning areas.
BUILDING IN BOTH TEACHER DIRECTED & CHILD INITIATED ACTIVITIES
From building bird houses, to using chopsticks to eat lunch, children learn through both teacher directed and child initiated activities. It’s important there is a healthy balance between teacher directed and child initiated activities to allow children creativity flow while also having the guidance and purpose behind the activity.
For example, in one of our summer themes we planned a block building activity to build a barn for animals to live in. How big would the barn need to be? What shape is the barn? How many animals live in the barn? Those are questions the teacher would ask and the child would have the freedom to build their barn exactly how they would want it. Asking these open ended questions to the child while building helps promote self help skills and the reassurance of completing a task.
LEARNING WHAT THE CHILDREN LOVE TO EXPERIENCE
So what excites our children the most? FIELD TRIPS! We asked the preschool and pre-kindergarten class at our Norwood school and it was unanimous: they love the petting zoo and mud day. Animal visitors from the Rad Zoo and Carlson’s Lovable Llamas, Special Olympic athletes, scientists, kids bands and storytellers are the greatest addition to our summer program. In times that we fully aren’t able to bring our children out in the world, we bring the experience right to the comfort of their own center.