Pine Bluff elementary school students are learning academics and expanding their horizons at Camp Invention for six weeks this summer through the Pine Bluff School District.
Summer school Principal Dexter Lee said that the camp employs teachers who instruct children through an academic remediation program. The youngsters also take part in enrichment programs through the 21st Century Grant provided by the Arkansas Department of Education. The grant money pays for teachers, paraprofessionals and field trips.
The camp runs from June 9-18 and includes one field trip per week.
“We wanted to use innovative ways of instructing students in nontraditional methods,” Lee said. “They are doing performing arts, dancing and writing songs.”
The students visited the Little Rock Zoo, a bowling alley, skating rank, the Rave Theater in Little Rock and the Museum of Discovery in Little Rock.
“The people who have seen our kids along the field trips acknowledged how well-behaved our students have been,” Lee said.
Site coordinator Tiffany Copeland said that the Pine Bluff School District is in partnership with the First United Methodist Church and the Boys & Girls Club. The camp would not be possible without lead teacher Renisha Ward or federal program director Bernice Martin-Russell, she said.
Besides the academics, the camp includes music, art, enrichment activities and cooking classes.
“The overall purpose is to introduce students to out-of-the box thinking,” Copeland said. “We want to introduce them to enrichment activities. You are trying to give them things they enjoy while learning.”
Daylon Scott, 10, said he is enjoying working on projects, building stuff, learning teamwork and taking trips.
“I learned how to work well with people and make good choices,” said Daylon, who will enter the fifth grade at W.T. Cheney Elementary School in the fall.
Kalifa Hulsey, 11, said she is learning the science and math behind why models operate.
“In one classroom, we made robotic animals,” said Kalifa, who will enter the sixth grade at Southeast Middle School in the fall. “We learned why stuff works, how stuff works and why stuff doesn’t work.”
Jerry Hightower volunteers his time at the camp where his daughter Veriah Hightower is a camper.
“I give my time because when I was young, camp helped me,” Hightower said. “It helped me along the way, especially as I got older. … My daughter is benefiting. There is a lot of working together. Most of the time, kids do not have the background of how to treat each other.”