By: Joscelyn Wong & Amy Ris
This year, the Fostering Early Development team put together their first-ever summer day camp for children aged four to six, currently in foster care, and it was a huge success!
“Fun Camp” was held the week of July 22, from Monday to Friday, with two 2-hour sessions: one in the morning, and one in the afternoon. Each group had a maximum of five children, which allowed for 1:1 support with a consultant/support worker. We had a different theme for each day of the week: Science Experiments, Circus Day, Yoga & Music, Water Day, and Bees & Such! The energy was great, everyone was excited, and the kids had a blast!
It was a wonderful opportunity for the children to learn and experience new things while developing their skills in social interaction and group play.
“FUN CAMP” GOALS
We had some overarching goals for camp this year, which we feel were met with resounding success! These include the following:
- At snack time, we facilitated opportunities for social communication with peers by having a daily helper (which rotated each day) that would take the snack plate and ask all other campers what they wanted off the snack tray and placing it on their plate. This required the daily helper to use a strong voice to get each camper’s attention, ask others what they wanted, listen to what the other child was saying, and choose the correct items, including an appropriate quantity.
- By using the book, “Big Feelings Come and Go” (which each child took home at the end of camp), we introduced what BIG FEELINGS might be and how/when we might have these feelings, along with identifying and practicing what children can do to get calm again (e.g., taking deep breaths, simple grounding exercises such as identifying 5 items of the same colour in the room, wiggling fingers and toes, etc.).
- Lastly, we recognize that children in foster care spend more time than the average child sitting in cars, driving to appointments and visits for themselves or the other children in the foster home. We wanted to provide two hours every day for each child to have access to time outside and preferred play activities, rather than needing to be in a car or appointment.
We brought the dream of summer camp to life, and it’s safe to say that our hopes have been exceeded! We are definitely looking forward to another week of summer fun next year!