Can you believe that it was just a year ago that we filled the Cuddy Park with hundreds of people to celebrate the tenth year of Imagination Library in Anchorage? The coronavirus has caused changes in so many aspects of families’ lives, and community-based learning activities for their young children are no exception. Even we had to press pause on a number of free family engagement events. Parents have been sharing on social media and telling us how difficult it is this summer to find appropriate educational and fun experiences for their children. In addition, even as child care programs are slowly reopening, many families are unable or unwilling to send their young children back to child care.
However, we’re not letting this virus stop us from helping families have fun, rich, early literacy experiences. That’s why we’re excited to launch Little Learners, our new virtual summer camp program this month! We listened to parent feedback and developed a whole new way of learning for young children (ages 2-5) based on the idea of summer day camp – with a few key differences.
Instead of gathering every day in the same location campers will complete activities in their home. Where they may have been led throughout the day by a camp counselor, it will be a parent or caregiver who’s in charge of our Daily Schedule, which they can follow to a tee or modify to fit the camp into evenings and weekends that work for them. Best Beginnings staff, volunteers and partners will lead welcome songs, storytimes, virtual field trip experiences, and arts and craft activities through a private website where campers can ask questions and interact.
My favorite part? Each camper will get a real canvas backpack filled with all the supplies they need to participate. For parents that means no running to the grocery store for a red pipe cleaner or glue stick at the last minute. Those backpacks for now will have to be picked up in Anchorage the week prior to camp – though we’re hopeful that in the future we can figure out how to expand the program statewide.
We are starting the program offering three five-day camps this summer:
Bears, Bears, Everywhere, June 29-July 3
The Natural World, July 20-24
Summer on the Go, August 10-14
To find out more and to register, click here. We’re also actively seeking sponsors who are interested in helping reduce the cost of Little Learners to families and would love to hear from you if you want to support this exciting new program.