Second Year of Summer STEAM Camp a Success
What do you get when you add together 6 gallons of vinegar, 4 gallons of glue, 10 pounds of baking soda, 60 electric toothbrushes, 40 pool noodles, and 120 PreK-3rd graders? You get the perfect recipe for a successful 6-week STEAM summer camp at Christian Heritage Academy.
STEAM is the acronym for learning activities in the areas of science, technology, engineering, art and math. This is the second year that Christian Heritage Academy’s Early Education Department offered STEAM Summer Camp to its students and their friends and neighbors in the surrounding communities. This highly creative and popular camp offered weeks entitled “Crazy Concoctions” focusing on science experiments; “Technology Time” introducing coding and robotics; “Building Blast” hosting various engineering challenges; “Art Antics” with a focus of famous art styles; and “Games Galore” using math principles through board, card and logic games. The camp wrapped up the summer with “Capturing Creativity” with a variety of cooking and art projects. Highlights included a slime lab, solar s’mores, toothbrush robots, acrylic pour paintings, oven shrinking pictures, and catching frogs in our playground garden.
STEM and STEAM activities have recently become current education trends in elementary and secondary schools, but preschool and kindergartens have long implemented STEAM activities in their daily routines. Integrating science, technology (the use of tools), engineering (planning, building and solving problems), the arts, and math exploration are the hallmarks of excellent early education programs. Early education specialists, such as those at CHA, understand that this type of hands-on exploration and problem-solving develops the essential core learning skills of creativity, communication, collaboration, and critical thinking.
These are not new trends for Camp Director Mrs. Kathy Severson, who has led CHA’s Early Education programs for 17 years and draws from her own childhood learning experiences as well as research. Mrs. Severson stated, “Overseeing our summer STEAM camp has been very rewarding for me. As an early education educator my desire is to see children practice literacy math, science and the arts in hands-on, high-interest ways, both in the summer and during the school year. The activities we offer at STEAM camp are often inspired by my own childhood of growing up near a lake and playing outside with the neighbors for long hours at a time. Chasing frogs, making cookies, playing hours of card and board games and turning empty boxes into all sorts of imaginative creations is what summer should be for children. With STEAM camp we have taken favorite childhood activities of old and integrated them with intentional learning opportunities. My hope is that every camper will grow up with great memories of their summers, just like I did.”
Mrs. Severson’s formula, which also includes a team of 5 teachers and 18 junior counselors to ensure a small student-teacher ratio, has worked for parents. Katie Swanson writes, “Jane has been having a blast every day she has come, and is so proud to show off her work when I pick her up. Thank you for loving and caring for her and knowing her by name. We love the junior counselors!”
Another unique aspect of CHA’s STEAM camp is the interaction with nurturing Christian teachers who integrate faith with science and creativity. Shirley Lee, a resident of Glenview, remarked during the last week of camp, “I want to thank Mrs. Severson personally for her leadership this summer at CHA STEAM camp. My daughter Elise has enjoyed CHA STEAM camp so much and [on the last day of camp] expressed joy and sadness that it was coming to an end. It is so rare to find a group of individuals who care and love these kids in a godly manner, and as a parent, I am so appreciative and blessed to have to CHA’s camp counselors care for [her] this summer.”
After observing campers, Principal Ms. Okamoto added, “I have loved seeing these students explore, investigate, and use their imagination as they play and return to the joy of learning! I have heard several times students say they don’t want to leave. This has been an awesome camp!” For an unforgettable summer of learning, we wish to thank all our teachers, counselors and volunteer counselors. Thank you!