The Georgia Department of Education has approved Wesleyan College to receive funding through the competitive Building Opportunities in Out-of-School Time (BOOST) Grants Program for it’s summer camp, Kid’s College. Celebrating its 10th anniversary, Kid’s College provides a positive, integrated, academic experience to children in the Middle Georgia community, while also providing powerful training and preparatory experiences for education majors. Enrichment activities such as the arts, career exploration, service learning, healthy eating and physical activity, well-being and connectedness, problem solving, and team building are the focus of the four-week summer camp.
According to Camp Director Dr. Virginia Wilcox ’90, “The camp was started in 2012 to integrate numerous content areas - math, science, reading, writing, art, theatre, music, technology, P.E. - into a unified theme each week. Our program is built on a positive system of management that builds trust and establishes rapport from day one. It builds character traits by having daily and weekly challenges such as effective eye contact, learning names, shaking hands, sitting properly, saying thank you, etc.” Dr. Wilcox also serves as associate professor of education and chair of Wesleyan’s education department.
Kid’s College campers work in Wesleyan’s onsite Maker Space and use the design thinking process to create and make a STEM/STEAM-related product that connects to the theme each week. The program is built around the Ron Clark Academy's House system in which each child is placed into a mixed age group “house” during the last hour of each camp day. During this time, “Leader in Me” activities are implemented and the vertical groupings allow for older campers to build relationships and bond with younger campers all unified under the same house and theme.
Wilcox said, “The nature of what is implemented is based around best practices in each content area. Hands-on mathematics to build conceptual fluency, inquiry-based science that allows student time to explore and discover answers, procedural and structured writing that respects developmental needs and fosters oral and written story telling, literacy skills that build fluency and comprehension, creative and artistic endeavors that do not confine or prohibit creative risk taking, and healthy choices are focal points in PE and lunch. It’s an academic camp, but the kids have a great time. We all do.”
Kid’s College is four one-week camps for boys and girls ages 4-13. Drop off is at 7:30am and pick up is at 6:00pm. Directors of the camp are trained educators who have been in the field for more than 30 years. Instructors are expected to have a teaching degree or be an expert in the content they are teaching. Counselors are teens who have a desire to work with children and wish to learn how to one day be a teacher or an instructor.
This year’s theme for Kid’s College is Kidstock, a play off of the 1960's musical festival Woodstock. Plans are in place to have a different genre of music as the theme each week. Campers will engage in learning about artists, experiencing the music first hand, writing and crafting their own versions of songs from each genre, designing and building musical instruments, and learning signature dance moves.
Funded by the Georgia Department of Education through Georgia’s American Rescue Plan education allocation and administered in partnership with the Georgia Statewide Afterschool Network, the BOOST grants program provides three-year grants, renewed annually, to community-based organizations that operate comprehensive out-of-school time (OST) programming year-round, over the summer months, or after school during the academic year. The goal is to provide evidence-based afterschool and summer enrichment programs that target learning acceleration and provide whole child supports, thus removing non-academic barriers to learning for students most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Grants will support students’ learning, connectedness and well-being, all while addressing the learning loss experienced across the state in recent years.