Students have fun while learning and developing soft skills at Peoria Unified’s EdCamp

EdCamp students at elemental border completed projects where they developed their skills in planning, creating, problem-solving and collaborating this summer.

Students created music videos, built fairy gardens, played charades, had opportunities for sensory activities, made slime, participated in a bubblemania activity and more.

“They can also do fun things that are educational, but not so much in this structured school setting – more fun and more engaging,” said Jennifer Pettitteacher and site manager elemental border in Peoria Unified School District.

This year, 201 students participated in Unified Peoriait is EdCamp at three different school sites, said Ashley WorrelDirector of Peoria Unified School Districtbefore and after school program KidZone.

AZEdNews Video: See what Peoria Unified’s EdCamp is like at Frontier Elementary

Video edited by Renée Romo/AZEdNews and shot by Lisa Irish/AZEdNews

EdCamp provides engaging learning activities for students when school is not in session, and has grown from KidZoneit is before and after school program that began in 2014 to meet the needs of students attending the district’s nine elementary schools in Glendale.

EdCamp students work on summer projects and “a week where they really practice skills like planning, creating, problem-solving and collaborating,” Worrell said.

Instead of one large group of students doing activities in a large space like the multipurpose room or cafeteria, EdCamp students are separated by age groups or grade levels into small groups of approximately 25 students in separate classrooms, and all KidZone/ EdCamp the staff are Peoria Unified School District employees, Worrell said.

“We strive to have high quality environments with hub areas in each classroom so you have the opportunity to give children access to the building center and the art center where they can be creative and conduct their own business,” Worrel said. “They tell us what interests them, and the staff are able to build on that.”

It helps students develop a sense of “more community, more closeness and they really relate to each other and staff”, and provides “a place for students to develop their social skills, collaboration and their teamwork. Small sassistance.

EdCamp students practice their social skills by playing a card game at Frontier Elementary. Photo by Lisa Irish/ AZedNews

EdCamp students participate in creative activities, supervised time in the computer lab, gross motor activities, crafts, and more. Summer EdCamp focuses on supporting children’s communication, collaboration, creativity and critical thinking skills. Additionally, Peoria Unified partners with Main Event, The Arizona Science Center, Great Skate, Pinspiration, The Rush Fun Park, Mad Science, and Carter’s Farm to offer onsite and offsite excursions.

This summer, KidZone has also partnered with the Transportation Department to ensure students are provided transportation between the Summer School and an EdCamp location.

What students say about EdCamp

Each person in the group of older students at elemental border was part of a team and participated in challenges, said Madeline, an EdCamp student.

“For Crab Soccer, we had to do a certain pose on the ground and hit the ball for it to score,” Madeline said. “For How Strong is Spaghetti, we used spaghetti and duct tape to make it strong enough to hold books. For the scooter relays, we used scooters and tried to get back around a cone fairly quickly.

Each group created fairy gardens and asked the younger students to choose which fairy garden was the best, Madeline said.

“These are rainforests and you decorate them with your tribe. The green tribe added water but they made a fountain and did all that,” EdCamp student Emma said, adding that the tribe that earns the most points at the end of the week receives a treat.

Students have fun while learning and developing soft skills at Peoria Unified's EdCamp DSC_0011-1024x683
EdCamp students play charades and work on collaboration and problem-solving skills while playing charades. Photo by Lisa Irish/ AZedNews

In the older students’ classroom, three girls worked with slime they had created with a member of staff, a group of boys laughed and joked while playing a card game, some students worked on fuse bead projects and other students played a game of charades. .

Posters on classroom walls reminded students that camp expectations were to be safe, responsible, respectful and helpful.

Madeline said, “My favorite thing about camp is making slime and working out with my friends,” while Emma said, “My favorite thing about camp is probably spending time with all my friends and making projects with the class.”

EdCamp Self-portraits of students lined the wall outside the younger classroom, along with a path of celebrities with their handprints and names on stars.

Students have fun while learning and developing soft skills at Peoria Unified's EdCamp DSC_0025-1024x683
An EdCamp student participates in a sensory activity center at Frontier Elementary. Photo by Lisa Irish/ AZedNews

Inside the classroom for younger students, some put their hands in a large tub filled with gelatin beads as part of a sensory activity, while another group of students talked to each other stringing beads on cords while others constructed chains with brightly colored plastic strips. .

In another corner of the classroom, a group of three boys worked together using wooden blocks to build a large structure with ramps and a place for cars.

“What I love about summer camp is building with my friends like that, doing crafts and playtime,” said Joseph, an EdCamp student, as he took a break from the construction with blocks.

Why EdCamp fills an important need

Many families need a safe place for their children while they work in the summer, and EdCamp provides that, engaging learning activities and a place for students to practice the soft skills they need to succeed in the classroom and outside of school, Worrell said.

“It allows this consistency in their routine and in their expectations. They know that every day there is a safe place they can go. They’re going to be engaged and they know what to expect from the program,” Worrell said.

“We have consistent staff in the classrooms every day,” Worrell said. “It’s a unique opportunity for students to build a close relationship with staff where they see the same staff, they are valued, they are supported, they know that if they have a problem, someone will be there. to help them. .”

“It’s the same peers every day, so it really gives that community vibe, which I think might be a little different from some of the programs we see outside of ours,” Worrell said.

Students have fun while learning and developing soft skills at Peoria Unified's Making-Slime-1000-wide EdCamp
Students make slime with an EdCamp staff member at Frontier Elementary School in the Peoria Unified School District. Photo by Lisa Irish/ AZedNews