My memories of summer camp are a jumbled mix of Girl Scout camp, outdoor camping, Vacation Bible School while visiting my grandmother in Louisiana, and one week music institutes. I performed in countless silly campfire skits, learned how to cook in a dutch oven, made random arts and crafts, and studied viola with master teachers. For the most part, I have very fond memories of all my summer camp experiences…although there was the time I faked being sick so that I wouldn’t have to go horseback riding.
Fast forward several (ahem) years and now here I am teaching summer camps. And I have to admit, it’s one of my favorite parts of my jobs. Who else gets to go to “work” and look at art, make all kinds of interesting projects, and hang out with some amazing, fun, creative kids? I only wish I could have gone to the kinds of summer camps that we have here at the Dallas Museum of Art.
This summer we are launching our first ever New World Kids™ camp, based on the book New World Kids: The Parents’ Guide to Creative Thinking by Susan Marcus and Susie Monday, and I can’t wait to teach it—if you could see me, I would jump up and down with excitement! Ours will be the first camp of this kind in the southwest, and the second in the nation. (The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in Connecticut was the first to partner with the books’ authors and offer a camp for children). The Family Programs staff here at the DMA attended a special training workshop with the authors in January, and now we’re ready to share the fun with you!
What is so unique about the New World Kids™ approach is that it teaches both parents and children how to jumpstart their creativity by learning a new alphabet—the Sensory Alphabet. Just like the ABCs help us learn to read, the Sensory Alphabet helps us learn the building blocks of creativity. It might not roll off your tongue like the ABC song, but this alphabet is just as powerful:
In our two week camp, we will spend one day on each of these elements, letting the kids explore the museum and our neighborhood to discover examples of the Sensory Alphabet. They’ll use all kinds of media—paint, clay, digital cameras, musical instruments, flashlights, words, and more—to express their understanding of each element. And each day will feature a visit from a guest in our community who will share with kids how the Sensory Alphabet helps them in his/her work (think yoga instructors talking about movement, interior designers talking about texture, jump rope competitors talking about rhythm). At the end of the camp, we’ll share all that we’ve learned about ourselves with parents in an exhibition of the children’s work.
I think the New World Kids™ approach really captures what the Center for Creative Connections at the museum is all about. It brings together art, creativity, community, exploration and allows each child to find his/her creative strengths. In our world of standardized tests, time on task, and teaching to the test, it’s more important than ever to find ways that celebrate our kids’ individuality and creativity.
Want to be a part of our New World Kids™ adventure? The camp is for 4 and 5 year olds and will be held Monday – Friday, August 2-6 and August 9-13 from 9:00 am – noon. Parent Orientation is on Saturday, July 31 from 11:00 am – 12:30 pm and the Show & Tell exhibition will be on Friday, August 13 at noon. Go here to sign up!
Posted by: Leah