Kitaab Camp: Fun Learning with a Cultural Twist!maryland lottery
Kitaab Camp is in full swing as it begins its third week of the summer! Under the leadership of Youth Program Manager, Mohammad and the guidance of our Kitaab Camp Coordinator, Kayla and Student Youth Employment Program participants, the campers have embarked on trips around the city in an effort to reinforce their knowledge and practice of the English language. So far the group has visited the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens, Brooklyn Bridge Park, the Museum of Chinese America, the Sony Wonder Technology Lab, Ellis Island and El Museo del Barrio. Whether identifying different types of vegetables at the Children’s Garden in the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, or learning about robots, video game programming and digital animation at the Sony Technology Lab, campers are actively interacting with the English language. Click here to see photos of their trips around the city.
On a recent adventure to East Harlem’s Latin American Art museum, El Museo del Barrio, the group enjoyed an interactive tour of the main gallery in addition to a hands-on art workshop. Though the museum was exciting and informative for the kids, what really shined through was their amazing group dynamic. With ages ranging from 5 to 12, and campers coming from many different backgrounds, the group’s strength is its diversity. It is a multicultural and multiracial mix of campers from Haiti, Mexico, Dominican Republic, Yemen, Palestine, Egypt and Turkey, as well as New York. SYEP participants and older campers have risen to the occasion and taken leadership roles, while younger campers learn from their older peers. Sarrowr, an SYEP participant and community member emphasized how being a leader in the group has reinforced her desire to become a teacher:
“I wanted to be a teacher and now I have a preview. I didn’t know what to expect when I started, but now I feel prepared for the future. The program isn’t just for the kids, it’s for us. I thought I would be teaching them, but after 3 weeks I realize that they are the ones teaching me.”
In addition to youth leadership, the group has benefitted from adult oversight. Ms. Salim, a certified NYCDOE substitute bilingual teacher, emphasizes lesson planning and structure within Kitaab Camp field trips by designing worksheets specifically for ESL students. With this strategy the campers learn the necessary vocabulary prior to visiting sites where they will hear the words in context. Though her specialty is Spanish and is directed to teaching the Spanish-speaking campers, she hopes to collaborate with Arabic speakers to add Arabic to her worksheets.
Kitaab camp is in session until August 17th. Future adventures include the Museum of Natural History, New York Aquarium, PuppetWorks and the Prospect Park Zoo.