What an amazing inaugural Green Camp we held last week. Our campers were such an enthusiastic bunch, eager to explore and learn from the natural world.
After months of searching for the perfect venue (read more about that story here) and weeks of gathering guest speakers and curriculum planning — it is hard to put into words how wonderful last week at Green Camp was. It was so lovely for me to see all of the planning become reality, as well as watch the children further discover nature.
Monday through Friday each held a different theme, which we then tied into individual activities. Each day included a nature walk, art project, physical activity, story time and lesson, all of which I was able to tie into the daily theme. For example, on our ‘Creative Conservation’ themed day, our walk included picking up litter and the art project was creating an animal and its habitat from recycling. On our ‘Flora and Fauna’ day, our nature walk was transformed into a plant identification scavenger hunt and our physical activity was South African animal charades (during which, a camper read Serval Cat as ‘Survivor Cat’…after much dramatic acting and tons of incorrect guesses..I finally peaked at his card and saw the mix up – too funny!).
While I had quite a structured lesson plan ready to go – I never finalized the daily schedule until the night before, based on what we got through that day. From there, it was ever-transforming throughout the day. This philosophy (likely influenced from my homeschooling background, where my parents nurtured ‘passion driven learning’), led to flexible schedules and catering lessons around what the kids were passionate about. If our litter clean up walk suddenly turned into collecting and identifying insects, then why rush these curious little ones along just to be back in time for a story? When I saw passions ignite amongst the campers, we ran with that, even if it meant cutting into the next topic. The magic of working with children – you never know what will get their creative minds going!
Soil for Life were such wonderful hosts – we are so grateful to be able to rent out their building for our camps. Having the two glass walls completely open up on sunny warm days, and shut them (but still see the gardens!) on windy or rainy days was absolutely perfect. The campers loved foraging in their gardens for our own Green Camp soup we cooked on our ‘Nutrition We Gain from Nature’ day. Additionally, the nearby Constantia Green Belt was perfect for our daily nature walks.
Ten weeks until its ‘go time’ again! Our next Green Camp will be held 9-13 December and I can’t wait to meet the next group of campers.
For more photos,see our Facebook album by clicking here.
Special thanks to those who contributed to Green Camp: Soil For Life, Making Kos, Enviro Wildfire Services, Clean C/Cape Town Beach Cleanups, and to Nick and Kirsten, my amazing staff – couldn’t have done it without them! From leading lessons and activities, to random lunchtime discussions about science – they were of more assistance than I could have imagined. Thank you all!