Super Kids Camp
Super Kids Camp is The Parks and Peoples largest outreach event of the year, keeping around 600 elementary aged students academically and socially engaged through the summer. My class of 18 second graders kept me busy for everyday of the six week camp with eager curiosity. With no previous teaching experience before training, I was able to enhance environmental literacy through fun, hands on activities dealing with various topics, including habitats, biodiversity, and pollution. After just a few weeks in the program students began to remind each other to ‘leave no trace’ when cleaning up the lunchroom and some even stopped running away when rogue bee’s visited us in the outdoor classroom.
Maintaining reading levels over the summer months was another main focus of my experience. Literacy has been linked to a reduction in violent crime, poverty, and addiction, all major issues in West Baltimore that contribute to the deterioration of the living environment. Keeping students academically and socially engaged over the summer months is critical in a holistic approach to sustainability. Using the 100 Book Challenge, every student in my class maintained their reading level while most improved, bringing my classes reading total to 450 hours for the summer.
Though I have learned about environmental inequality in many times during my DePauw experience, the reality of the matter never quite hit home until I experienced taking children to their school park to play alongside broken glass, litter, and drug paraphernalia. Which we eventually cleaned up as a class after a lesson about pollution’s damaging effect on the community. While I worked to show my class the wonders of the limited natural world around them, they taught me shift my understanding of the natural world to embrace the Urban Environment science textbooks often overlook. This helped me to be able to create more relatable environmental lessons for city school children, it was a constant reminder that while there are many exotic places at risk, ‘Baltimore is our habitat’ and it must be protected as well.