Kids’ Country’s Camp Wigalo 2016!
The philosophies of two early childhood programs developed 5,000 miles apart from each other are the inspiration for a very special camp experience here at Kids’ Country. Camp Wigalo, is uniquely designed for children entering Kindergarten and first grade to provide a first camp experience inspired by the play-based approaches of AnjiPlay (China) and Reggio Emilia (Italy).
AnjiPlay is the internationally-recognized early childhood curriculum developed and tested over the past 15 years by renowned educator Cheng Xueqin. AnjiPlay is the materials-based play curriculum of 130 public kindergartens in Anji County, China, serving more than 14,000 children. Minimally-structured, open-ended environments and materials allow children to explore, imagine and create as they design their own experiences. Teachers use their observations of children’s “play” to inform practice and determine what additional materials or changes to the environment will enhance that experience.
REGGIO EMILIA APPROACH
Also play-based, the Reggio Emilia Approach was developed after World War II by a teacher and parents from the village of Reggio Emilia in northern Italy. The teacher, Loris Malaguzzi, believed that children are strong, capable and resilient. They communicate in “one hundred languages” such as painting, sculpting, building, pretending, and singing—these are among the many ways children discover, learn and express their understanding of the world. A supportive, well-designed environment filled with materials and tools becomes the “third teacher’ because it inspires children and encourages investigation, collaboration and reflection. Much like AngiPlay, children create their own learning driven by their interests. (See our blog about Kids’ Country’s DREAMZ project for how we incorporate the Reggio Emilia Approach in our site environments.)
THE CAMP WIGALO EXPERIENCE
So what does AnjiPlay and Reggio have in common with Kids’ Country’s Camp Wigalo? We draw on the best practices of both these play-based approaches to provide our youngest campers with the freedom to engage in activities of their own interests, take risks, and channel their natural curiosity into their explorations.
Weekly themes support the children’s interests in art, gardening, bugs, games, and more. Materials are placed in defined activity areas to stimulate discovery. In the Art Studio, for example, colorful pictures of real bugs are framed and set next to tempera paint and paper. Water, brushes, paint chips for color matching, and craft sticks for mixing are among the available materials. Plastic bugs are added to the sand box, magnifying glasses and bug catchers are added to the Science Station and used during the daily nature walk. Field trips are local and kids still get their water play fix on site, without having to travel to a busy local pool.
Check out our Camp Wigalo… Now playing at Kids’ Country Montair July 5-August 5.