Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Tykes Have A Summer Holiday

At school we have a summer camp for the tykes. It's actually totally reasonably priced and so we end up with some kids from school, some starting school in the autumn, and some from the area. For this week and the next two I am the head teacher/leader/whatever for the junior camp. It's been great fun.

I kind of keep forgetting that I'm in charge so my two wonderful co-teacher/leader/whatever folks have been a fabulous help. I don't forget in the sense that things don't get done but in the sense that a decision will have to be made like "hey, it's raining and we are scheduled to go to the fountain to go wading...that's not going to work. What should we do instead, Casey?" and I pause for a fraction of a second before thinking "Oh! Right! I'm in charge!"

Camp is pretty unstructured, we've got an activity in the morning, lunch and the great kid switch, and then a trip or activity in the afternoon. It's relaxed and focused on having fun. That being said, I'm so pleased that Linda and Lydia are my assistants the first week because they've got so many excellent ideas and it's great to have such wonderful people to get my sea legs with. Here are some things I've learned so far:

1. Free play time is great, but make sure the supplies and activities available for free play vary each day, otherwise the tykes'll get bored. Even the most fun activities are less fun when they are always there.

2. Tykes enjoy some structure. For instance- the obstacle course we built inside during the rain storm was great fun for about half an hour at which point there needed to be a change- the tykes were going from happy to manic and that's not fun to be around nor to experience yourself. We switched to circle games like duck duck goose and The Farmer in the Dell and that allowed us to extend the activity another half hour. Very good to know and learn for scheduling purposes.

3. Just because the schedule you inherited had lunch at 11am, that doesn't mean it's a good time to have lunch. On Monday the kids a: weren't hungry yet and b: finished lunch so early that we had to tuck another extra activity in there before the moms came to pick the morning kids up. Fortunately we sorted that one out right quick.

4. Songs are an excellent transition activity. And though it is the middle of the summer and muggy as anything- it's always a good time for "5 little snowmen fat" which is the current favourite song amongst this week's tykes. I started singing with the tykes on Tuesday while Linda and Lydia were setting up the cookery activity (yes, "cookery" activity) and it worked so well that I've put it into the schedule.

We made gingerbread men and decorated them. The kids counted the cups of flour, tablespoons of butter, cups of sugar, etc. and then each got a turn to mix the dough with their hands (before the eggs were put in). They rolled the dough and cut the cookies out. It was very successful. We didn't have any proper measure cups/spoons/weights so we were eyeballing the dough and estimating everything. Linda was shaking the powdered ginger in and, because everything reminds me of a song, I started singing "shake shake shake, shake shake shake, shake the ginger, shake the ginger" At about the same time as the tykes started singing along I suddenly realized that the actual song was "Shake Your Booty" by KC and the Sunshine band and maybe that wasn't wholly appropriate...

Today we made paper plate masks and painted them and sprinkled them with glitter. I probably sang something during that too, but I don't remember.

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