Monday, 5 December 2016

Dino Discovery Camp @ The Little Executive

It has been a busy, busy week at my centre with our holiday camps in full swing. Our mini palaeontologists had so much fun learning about dinosaurs while working alongside their new teammates.

We use themes which interest kids to teach a wide range of skills necessary for school such as cognitive flexibility, creating reasonable hypothesis, conditional reasoning, as well as life skills such as problem-solving, being a team player, and having the ability to communicate their ideas well.
Enthusiastic paleontologists
Several kids who enjoyed our previous Astronaut Training Camp joined us again and were delighted to see their ex-camp mates.

The happiest little kid was Kate, who could jump into the car with me in the mornings instead of hearing me say, "Bye, mummy has to go to work now."
Delighted to be in mummy's school
A wide range of sensory activities are carried out in our camps as these naturally encourage children to explore scientific processes, such as making predictions and observations and developing analytical skills. A further benefit is that children retain the most information when they engage their senses in experiential learning.
Squishy squashy mud
In our Dino grid game, the kids were split into 2 teams, and the carnivores had to catch the herbivores. Similar to a chess game, they have to think ahead and strategize so as not to be 'eaten'. They make decisions as a team, directing their player on the grid. We had several frightened little herbivores, afraid to be 'eaten' by the carnivorous dinos!
Strategy game
We go to great lengths to make learning come alive and everything we do in the classroom has a real world example. For example, by examining the size and shape of the footprints, the children were able to deduce which dinosaur it came from.
Field notes
Our mini palaeontologists learned how fossils were formed over millions of years and had a chance to make fossil imprints in 'mud'. This enabled them to understand how real life paaleontologists deduce information based on incomplete evidence.
Fossil imprints
There were lots of hands-on activities to keep them engaged and it was lovely to see some of the kids move from being fearful of getting their hands dirty with sensory work to enjoying the experience with their friends. Kate does plenty of baking at home with me and she gleefully dugged in with both hands to shape her dino eggs.
Hiding dinos in their eggs
And... viola! Some tails were peeking out!
DIY dino eggs
In our speculation exercise "If I lived with the Dinosaurs..." they were guided on deductive reasoning and encouraged to use their imagination. This is a fun way for a child's executive functioning skills to be challenged (critical thinking, flexibility, planning) because they need to figure out their priorities to survive. 

Scenarios were discussed, and they were prompted to think further - "how would you catch your fish?" or "how would you find food if you are not going to come out of your cave at all?" I loved reading the different answers! Simply adorable, what these kids come up with.
Creative writing
The older kids worked together to consolidate the various activities they have been doing by creating a pre-historic scene. Judging by the laughter coming from the rooms, they seemed to be having a great time with their new friends.
Our P1s
Our N2s created their own dinosaur world which they were all so proud of. Kate was the last to finish her work as she was so meticulous. Look at her serious face.
Their pre-historic world
They were taught the grid system, which is a typical way a fossil grid site is organized. This enables palaeontologists to record the horizontal and vertical positions of the excavated fossils and artifacts.

For children, grid work is important in developing their visual tracking skills, spatial orientation and perspective taking, all of which are important for the classroom and beyond. Most of all, they get all excited when they manage to dig up a bone!
Grid work
Parents were invited for the last 30 minutes on the last day to see what the kids had been up to, and it was a first for many parents to watch their kids do a show-and-tell. We had a lot of shy kids this round, and it was wonderful to see them have the courage to stand up there in front of so many parents, even though some of the N2s could only manage a whisper. Great effort, kids!

It was extremely heartening to see many dads come in during their lunch hour to be involved in their children's lives. The mums relegated the job of cracking the hardened eggs to the dads and you could see the glee on the kids' faces when the eggs finally broke!
Daddies in the house
We had such a great time with these little darlings and everyone was sad that the camp has come to an end.
Our graduating Palaeontologists
It has been an amazing few weeks working alongside my team of passionate teachers, with the common goal of making the camp enjoyable and meaningful for the kids. As exhausting as it was, seeing the kids have fun, open up, and learn so well over the 4 days is the reward in itself. Probably something only educators can relate to!
TLE team
1 camp down, 2 more to go. Our P1 Prep camp starts tomorrow and I'm certain the kids will have a swell time running their mini 'tuck shop' and learning strategies to get them ready for the big transition.

Our last camp for the year will be the Astronaut Training Camp and there are a few remaining slots so let your little ones join us for a unique space mission they will not forget!




The Little Executive
144 Bukit Timah Road
Singapore 229844
Tel: 69081889
Email: knockknock@thelittleexecutive.asia


~ www.mummyweeblog.com - a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~


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