Desde La Base- Fall 2015
Not just a time of fun and sun, summer vacation can prove to be a critical time in a child’s educational journey. For some youth, those months spent outside of the classroom are a time when school year lessons are forgotten, and little time is spent preparing for the next grade. But summer vacation and its simple joys are the stuff childhood memories are made of, which is why Proyecto Pastoral’s IMPACTO Summer Program for K-8th grade youth blends learning and recreation in a safe, family-like environment. And this year, vital STEAM activities (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, & Mathematics) took center stage.
This summer’s theme, “Exploring Our World,” inspired students through a five-week curriculum that was designed to develop their analytical, problem solving, and critical thinking skills through project-based and hands-on learning opportunities. Science projects included boat building and a contest to build a sustainable marshmallow tower, while social justice-themed projects included researching and presenting on a person of color who has made a positive impact on history. Youth also read the autobiography I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai, the young Pakistani girl who was shot by the Taliban for going to school and who is now an activist and the youngest ever
Nobel Prize laureate. IMPACTO Director Vanessa Portillo, who has led the program since last fall, says “I really enjoyed watching the students being engaged and doing hands-on projects. Seeing them arriving on time at 8:30 in the morning and laughing – and then not wanting to leave at the end of the day – speaks to how engaged they were.”
Ms. Portillo says that in the weeks prior to the summer program, staff members attended team-building meetings during which they set goals for the months ahead. Ms. Portillo points out that every moment with a child is a learning moment, and that in addition to helping children learn, staff members know they must teach them how to have positive interactions with both one another and adults.
And of course, there were field trips! This summer’s roster included outings to the California Science Center, the Griffith Park Observatory, UCLA, and a mural tour of Boyle Heights that explored the community’s rich cultural and political history.
With so much learning and summer fun under their belts, we know that IMPACTO’s youth have a great school year in store!
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