September 9, 2016
A four-church collaboration in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, recently gave roughly 200 children an opportunity to learn about arts and science. Tippecanoe, Grace, and North Shore Presbyterian Churches joined with Hephatha Lutheran Church to sponsor Arts and Science Literacy Camp specifically for low- and middle-income families.
Organizers say the annual program engages a “whole child” model of literacy.
The camp primarily serves children in grades one through four, said Rev. Karen Hagen, pastor of Tippecanoe Presbyterian Church. “The children are able to build literacy skills by exploring weekly nature themes expressed through an arts integration model of learning,” she said.
Hagen said the camp serves a diverse group of learners, including children who are African American, Hispanic, and Caucasian, and also includes students diagnosed with mild autism, cognitive challenges, and speech and language disabilities.
The focus is on enhancing each child’s literacy skills through nonfiction reading and encoding in handmade journals. Teachers offer one-on-one instruction as well as small and large group settings. Activities include walking in nature, observing and sketching the world around the children, working with community artists, learning from science specialists, and hosting mentors from area universities.
Hagen said the hope is to create a community within a positive learning environment, developing literacy skills while also developing more self-assured children.
“We know that as children become successful in reading and gain confidence in their personhood, they grow up with real hope and skills which move them into healthier lives, away from joblessness and violence,” she said. “We seek insight from the teachers and specialists as well as children and parents to evaluate learning and adjust curriculum.”
Teachers interact with parents each day, giving and receiving feedback on the sessions and the impact on participants. Hagen says the number of children and parents seeking to participate has grown each year as campers find and share success and want to return.
Rick Jones, Communications Strategist, Presbyterian Mission Agency
Today’s Focus: Presbytery of Milwaukee
Let us join in prayer for:
Craig Howard, Executive Director of Strategic Partnerships
Christian Boyd, Stated Clerk
Detlef Pavlovich, Treasurer
Sarah Rand, Congregational Care Coordinator
Chris Halverson, Office Manager
Donna Holmes, Communications Associate
PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff
Let us pray
Loving God, thank you for the abundance of “loaves” in our lives. Thank you for the camps of our church, where we learn to appreciate the wonders of your creation, feast on your unending love, and share that love with others. Amen.