Friday, August 6, 2010
It feels really good to try something new and have it actually work. For as long as I have been involved in this church, there have been folks who would say "I wish we had a summer camp". But we never had the space or support to do it, so I felt like this was the year when we had the building expansion. Strangely, I didn't feel a lot of enthusiasm for the idea in the Family Ministry Team this year, but they went along with me.
Summer Camp curriculum is somewhat scarce - sure I could adapt one of our regular RE curricula as a camp (and I am very excited to try that with K-1 OWL next summer), but most lessons in a regular curricula are written in these short chunks that would feel very choppy if you did them back-to-back all day. I am much more inclined toward block scheduling, with plenty of free play time built in as well.
So I started with the Born with a Bang trilogy, and then added in some other great books, such as Creation: Read Aloud Stories from Many Lands, and wrote my own rough lesson plans based on regular story-circles throughout the day where I would read a book to the kids and talk about the ideas, and then we did lots of crafts and games in between each story circle.
The themes ended up being a bit different each day, so it was
Monday: The Big Bang and the Universe
Tuesday: Evolution of Life
Wednesday: Creation Stories
Thursday: The Interdependent Web of Life
Friday: Peace Begins With You
The flow of the curriculum went well, and now I need to actually sit down and write it out nicely so I can duplicate it in the future. But I was also just pleased that the whole idea worked - we had 14 kids! The support staff were great - a wonderful music teacher that I was so fortunate approached me and two of the youth from the church youth group - and the larger church facility was perfect. The kids bonded with each other across age differences (we had 4-10 year olds), and by the end of the week the Joys and Sorrows we did each day were starting to include things like "I am glad this is my church".
And today when the parents picked the kids up for the last time many of them said "you're doing this next year, right?".
It feels good.