We just finished a week of winter English immersion camp that began Monday, December 31st. Five volunteers led 12 campers in a week of English immersion activities. This is the first time we have done a camp during winter break, whereas we normally do it during summer break, and it was nice to get the kids together to review in the middle of the year. We did not advertise this camp to the general public and receive registrations, as we have in the summer, mainly because we are short handed on long term volunteers to help with this, but we did camp with a group of our sponsored campers.
This was really a time where kids could review some vocab - basic pronouns and verbs as well as parts of the body, places, foods, emotions, and one other set of words I am forgetting... It was also a time to address behavior problems. These sponsored kids are all public school kids who are lower class and their behavior is not quite up to par in these group settings. On the last day of camp, we only allowed four campers to come because the behavior of the rest of the campers was so apalling the day before. There was a fight between two campers early on in camp and then we realized at closing circle that something just had to change. It took a good 10 or 15 minutes just to get the campers to sit and listen. So we reviewed what we had learned that day, as we always do at closing circle, but then let them know who could and could not return the next day, for the last day of camp. We let each one know what he or she had done that was not acceptable at camp, or in society in general. We let them know that we did this because we care about them and this is reality. If you can't listen and can't respect others then you will not likely have a productive life or career.
The group of counselors were wonderful! The songs counselors even wrote a song, complete with a dance, that they taught the kids. It goes...
Esperanza, Esperanza, Esperanza is my school.
Catalina is so cool.
I sing, I read, I like to play.
I learn English every day.
Break it down, break it down
Then, with everyone in a circle, the counselors called out different types of dance and campers then jumped in the center to dance. Merengue! Bachata! Salsa! Reggaeton! Kompa! Hip Hop!
We look forward to six weeks of camp this summer. Our three students on scholarship this year are doing well and we wait to receive their first semester grades. We have been doing an English club on Thursday afternoons from 2-4pm to keep the English going for this age group (5-14) throughout the year as well. Lastly, for the English immersion pre-school, we finished the semester with three students. Six more parents have said that they will register their children this month, so we hope that they follow through!
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