Summer school reached new heights this year, with Raise Me Up launching their 1st Annual Literacy and Math Camp for the children of Holy Cross Anglican School in Belize.
The camp focused on teaching core literacy and math skills to children in the middle and upper classes at Holy Cross. The students split into four groups – upper math, middle math, upper literacy and lower literacy, and then spent two weeks learning key skills in a variety of fun ways. Each day students spent time drilling basic skills in a 1:1 session with a volunteer. Then they went outside to play games using their newfound skills. They also used their skills in a real life application as they worked together to complete two different projects.
In the first week, all students worked on an edible garden project. Some examples of using math for this included calculating the volume of soil, working out plant spacing and building their own scale model gardens. Meanwhile, literacy students took on tasks like researching and what types of plants could be grown, and found a recipe for Pico de Gallo. The raised garden beds will be used in the coming school year as part of the upper division science curriculum.
The second week had a bake sale theme, which the students really enjoyed. Math students calculated the cost of ingredients and profit. Literacy students worked on advertising signs, recipes and a press release for after the sale. Everyone had fun baking and selling their goods at the Boca Del Rio bridge.
Games were included to keep the summer camp fun and to give the children a chance to move around while learning and having fun. Without a doubt, water day games were the most popular. The kids loved answering multiplication problems then squirting out the correct answer with water guns. Other game activities included a literacy/math obstacle course, scavenger hunt, oversized Jenga and Bananagrams, and syllable twister.
About 40 students came every day, with about 30 volunteers each day to help. The students loved having the volunteers to help, while the volunteers loved the chance to help the children. If you’re interested finding out more about volunteering, click here.
There was no doubt the children learned a lot. In their own words they say:
- “It was awesome. I was learning a lot of long vowels and I had fun at the same time.”
- “I liked having fun games to do every day. I liked to read and learn new words.”
- “The best things about skills and drills was the times tables. I liked playing the basketball times table game. Playing with the volunteers was fun. “
- “I loved the bake sale because we learned to count money.”
- “I learned to sell cooking and not be shy.”
The last day of camp there were special awards for members of each group, as well as a prize for the group with the highest average of points per student. This was followed by a pizza party.
This camp would not have been possible without the help of many. So, in no particular order we’d like to thank:
Sue Barkhouse, Education Co-ordinator for Raise Me Up for putting the camp together
Mike Albritton, of All Saints Episcopal School in Fort Worth, and his staff for helping with the math curriculum.
Mike and Laura Taylor, who cannot be thanked enough for leading the two main projects and giving so many hours of your time.
Our many volunteers, who came from:
- Tulane Rotaract volunteers – New Orleans, Louisiana
- Projects Abroad – Andrew, Mizuki and Michelle
- Raise Me Up – Alexa, Hailey and Madison
- St Mary’s Episcopal Church in El Dorado, Arkansas
- St John’s Episcopal Church in Lynchburg, Virginia
- St Simon’s Anglican Church in Oakville, Ontario
- All Soul’s Episcopal Church in San Diego, California
- Mr Aaron Thomas
- Ms. Helen Melendez
- Mr Freddy
- Mrs Rosalia
- Ms Linda
- Mr Francis
- Marbucks, who donated many of the ingredients for the bake sale
- Bella Mia Restaurante – for the delicious pizza’s at the pizza party
- Sandbar – for donating ingredients to the bake sale and soft drink for the pizza party
- Holy Cross Education Foundation – for extending the feeding program to include the summer school.
- Grace Episcopal Church in Defiance, Ohio for donating many items for the camp
- Christ Episcopal Church in Raleigh, North Carolina, who also donated many supplies for the camp.