For the past two weeks I've been helping at an environmental camp organized by Cristian, one of our community members. Our topics have ranged from ecosystems of Ecuador to reduce, reuse, recycle, combining short lessons with games, art projects and English lessons (given by the gringa, of course). Last Friday was one of my favorite days at camp because we showed them around Cristian's garden, compost pile, and then taught them how to plant vegetables. The kids had been looking forward to gardening since the first day of camp, relentlessly asking, "when do we get to be farmers?!" As Laura explained how to prepare the soil and mix in humus from the compost pile the kids could barely contain themselves and began mashing up clumps of dirt and inspecting the vegetable pods.
Me and the kids in front of our masterpiece
We were so inspired by the success of 'envirocamp,' that we decided to add a similar segment to our niños camp. Today, we spent environmental hour learning about the Amazon, specifically the layers of the rainforest and what types of animals live in each. The kids were eager to pick different animals and plants from my basket and place them in the either the canopy, understory or forest floor. We ended the lesson with face painting, courtesy of Dana and Holly who brought us back Achote plants from Tena, a fruit that is used by the indigenous communities there. I pretty sure the kids liked painting our faces even more than getting their own done (see Krysta below).
Haley and Shawn enjoy getting made up
Emilia and Joel decorate each other
Krysta definitely wins MVP for today
All of the PDs posing with their make-up artists
I am so grateful to have been able to shadow Cristian and Laura to help prepare for niños camp and the natural science class Krysta and I plan to start in September. So far, the kids have loved the games, art projects, and science experiments that we've come up with. Camp is shaping up to be a perfect test run for planning our programs in the Fall!
Stay tuned for Mr. Chester Polson, who will be gracing us with a guest blog on Thursday in place of my usual post, to hear all about taking over Holly's art classes and his progress with co-running the Microfinance Program with Erik. (Yes, art AND finance... he's a pretty well-rounded catch, ladies!)