nursery camp at YM&YWHA

Nursery Camp — A Place for Learning and Fun!

Below you will find sample clips from our week 3 and week 4 Nursery camp newsletters. Content has been provided by Nydia Perez, Nursery Camp Director, and Nursery Camp counselors.

Our campers have been actively engaged in fun and exciting activities and classes all summer long: whether they are learning about space or different cultures around the world or diving deep into the depths of the oceans! And not to mention our specials: Gymnastics, Movement, Swimming!

Did you know The TALMUD, in Tractate KIDDUSHIN 29A, which enumerates a list of obligations parents have to their children, states “And there are some who say that [parents] must also teach [their children] how to swim.” Our campers are learning a valuable life skill by participating in swim class this summer! They are learning in a safe environment, becoming more confident with their skills and most importantly, having fun!

Below you will find recent weekly wrap-ups from all of our classes. I encourage you to take a look at some of the things our campers have been learning about during the first half of the summer!

Dolphins: We continued learning all about Ghana this week, focusing on Ghanaian culture. We learned what a folktale is and studied traditional Ghanaian folktales (called “Anansi stories”). These stories originate from the Ashanti people of Ghana. As we read, the students made great connections between the stories and other aspects of Ghanaian life we have studied.
As we read a variety of Anansi stories, the students began to notice patterns unique to the tales. We learned that Anansi stories are often called “trickster tales” because the character tricks others to get what he wants. The students came up with examples from each of the stories about what Anansi wanted and who he tricked in order to get what he wanted. Then we decided to write our own Anansi story as a class, using some of the story elements we had discussed! We brainstormed ideas together, and then each student contributed a portion of the story. The students did a great job, not only coming up with a highly creative story, but writing a story in keeping with the style of an Anansi tale. Each child also drew an individual illustration for the story. The kids were very proud of their work!

We also learned a bit about Ghanaian dance and music. We talked about West African drumming, and the students made drums together, using empty containers and tissue paper. We showed video clips of traditional Ghanaian dance, as well as clips of popular music. Then, the students got to practice some Ghanaian dance moves- both traditional and modern. This was a lot of fun, and the students especially liked taking turns performing for their classmates. Some of the students worked together to make a Ghanaian flag this week, coloring poster board with markers and dot paint, and gluing on shapes and collage materials. The flag is on display in the classroom! We also talked about Ghanaian food this week! The students helped slice plantains, which Shannille then fried for us. They were a big hit! We also incorporated math by doing a graphing activity to see whether the majority of the class liked the plantains or did not.

We plan to talk a bit about West African masks (and art), and the students will have the opportunity to make masks of their own. They will use natural materials including shells, rocks, and paper. As per student request, we will have a Pajama Day, which we anticipate will be a lot of fun. We will also have the opportunity to participate in a tennis class in the Y gym!

Sea Turtles: This week, we learned about Earth! For much of the remainder of the summer, we will be focusing on the planets, and how they compare to our own planet. We talked first about the solar system, and how all the planets circle the Sun. Friends made beautiful circular collages.

We began our study of planets with Earth so the class could understand what makes it special and different from the other planets in our solar system. Friends got messy when we made a 3D Earth for our mural board with paper mache. They also made their own Earths out of coffee filters, markers, and liquid watercolors. They made observations as the liquid watercolors spread through the coffee filters. As a group, we made “dirt cups” out of pudding and Oreos.

We also learned about Mercury this week. We discussed the harsh conditions that made it difficult for humans to live there: no water, extreme temperatures, and so on. Friends played with ice in the sensory table, and we discussed how Mercury gets even colder than the ice. The class discussed the geography of Mercury, and we looked at pictures of its many craters, and made gravity crater paintings together. We also made a 3D Mercury for our mural board.

Starfish: Our week has been full of activities as we have been learning about sea creatures. We started our lessons with an arts and crafts project with sponges and paint. We took cut outs of different shapes such as fish and starfish and had fun dipping them while creating our own art piece. They can be seen on the bulletin board outside of our classroom in our art aquarium. Come by to check it out! We also made our own fish out of paper plates and paint that are floating next to our jellyfish in the classroom.

One big surprise this week is our two new members of the classroom: pet fish! On Thursday, we introduced our two friends who are guppy fish. Guppy fish are also known as rainbow fish and live in freshwater. As tropical fish, we learned that they live in room temperature water and we have to make sure it doesn’t get too cold. Our helper of the day will now learn the responsibility of feeding the fish with a few sprinkles of food. We will also be making decorations for the tank. One student already mentioned including a yellow submarine. This is a great idea!

Angelfish: This week we have really been working as a team to build things together, and clean up together! We have built with blocks, gears, and other building tools. We are also really starting to participate in gymnastics and movement class! This week in movement class, we learned a new song and dance about fishies. It was perfect to go along with our ocean unit!

Also, to go with our ocean theme, we created sea salt watercolor paintings! We used water colors to paint our paper, and then sprinkled salt on the picture to make a cool effect! We talked about how the ocean is salt water, and taste tested salt to know what salt water means. We also learned about jellyfish this week. Then we made our own coffee filter jellyfish! We used marker to color the coffee filters, and we added water to make the colors spread. Then we glued on streamer tentacles and eyes to make our jellyfish come to life! You can see our jellyfish on the classroom window, and next to our ocean bulletin board. We also finger-painted and made handprint jellyfish! On Friday, we made a snack with blue Jell-O that looked like the ocean complete with fish swimming in it!

About the Y
Established in 1917, the YM&YWHA of Washington Heights & Inwood (the Y) is Northern Manhattan’s premier Jewish community center — serving an ethnically and socio-economically diverse constituency — improving the quality of life for people of all ages through critical social services and innovative programs in health, wellness, education, and social justice, while promoting diversity and inclusion, and caring for those in need.

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