We had a busy Spring Break here at Grow – we hosted a Spring Social Learning Group for children in grades K-3, led by Samantha, an SLPA at Grow, alongside the incredible Melody from Music with Melody and a volunteer. Our camp was one week long, and focused on developing skills in the areas of flexible thinking, emotional awareness, joining and maintaining play, as well as friendship and language skills. We followed a similar routine each morning, building on skills from Day 1 – Day 5.
We started each morning with free play stations – we encouraged children to pause at the door and STOP and read the room – thinking about the space, time, objects and people. We encouraged campers to “point their choice” choose a free play station and supported joining play. By Day 5, many campers were able to independently “point their choice” and ask a peer to play before joining the group.
We did a morning check-in; thinking about how our bodies felt and what Zone of Regulation they were in at that moment. At first, this looked like matching pictures of children with different feelings to the different Zones, and eventually grew into a participatory exercise, wherein children were able to move their name tags through the Zones throughout the day as they checked in with their bodies.
Each day, we did lots of music and movement! Sometimes, this looked like sitting in a circle and playing turn-taking or cooperative games with different instruments, including taking turns being the leader and pointing at a friend to shake their music shaker, and taking turns shaking by looking at a friend. and sometimes this looked like a freeze dance party! Near the end of most days, campers were able to practice asking a friend to join them in a duet dance on “stage”, or participate as an audience member.
On Days 1 & 2, we took some time to get to know each other. On Day 1, we drew and wrote about ourselves, sharing what we like to think about and what we like to talk about. On Day 2, we created “friend files” for ourselves, sharing what we like to eat, play, watch, and learn about.
We sat together to each snack each day, and a camp leader read a story. All of the stories we chose focused on social-emotional themes, and we asked and answered questions as a group. The stories we included in our curriculum were:
Starting on Day 3, we worked as a group to decide on a theme and roles for our final musical performance! The group was split into two roles; musicians and dancers, and we collaboratively decided on a theme for the show, “Animals”. This meant that each group member had a role as either a musician expressing the sound or feeling of an animal, or as a dancer, expressing the movement of an animal. The animals we chose were octopus, shark, crab, lion, giraffe and snake. We worked as a whole group to create a collaborative backdrop for our performance, see below! Campers were able to communicate their ideas for the sounds and movement of each animal, and we presented the final show to families on Day 5!
It was incredible to see campers learning and collaborating throughout the week!
Carla Monteleone & Deborah Carter own and operate Grow Speech and Language Therapy in Vancouver, BC