During the September holidays, our little Ryan attended his first drop-off holiday camp, The Little Executive’s Astronaut Training Camp, and he had a blast!
The unique 3-day Astronaut Training Camp was run by The Little Executive. The newly set-up enrichment center has a very interesting curiculum that is geared towards equipping children with executive functioning skills such as working memory, impulse and emotional control, flexibility, planning and prioritizing, self-monitoring, and task initiation. These core skills are not something that we talk much about, yet they are very critical when it comes to building the foundation for children’s lifelong learning success.
Over the 3 days of Astronaut Training Camp, the little aspiring astronauts honed their problem solving skills to complete Space Missions, worked together in teams and sharpened their sensory systems while exploring new territories.
Here’s a sampling of some of the Space Missions they got up:
On their first day, they started an Astronaut Space Log where they logged down their daily inter-galactic space adventures.
On their first day, they learnt about Space and Earth conditions, and compared and constrasted the two stark environments. They also drew a picture of their own space adventure – Ryan drew a cute little picture of himself as an astronaut (top left pic) meeting an alien with crazy arms against a backdrop of Earth, the Moon and the stars. Great activity to boost the children’s imagination, creativity and visualisation skills!
The astronaut’s next mission was drawing aliens. They had to figure out what was missing in the picture and draw/colour in the right bits. This activity required them to observe details and concentrate to see the task to completion. Ryan did a good job of filling in alien legs and eyes and body parts 🙂
The children also did a ‘moon landing’ activity where they helped an alien get through a maze by tracing a path through the moons (circles) only. Not an easy feat for 4-year-olds but I was told Ryan did his with ease. More importantly, I was impressed the children could sit still for so long to complete the exercises!
The final activity for their first day was making their very own glow-in-the-dark space slime. Ryan enjoyed getting his hands dirty mixing glue, water, glitter and glow-in-the-dark paint. What a fun sensory activity! When asked to describe the slime he made, Ryan said it was ‘sticky, soft and hot’. He was very excited to bring his gooey slime home to show his brothers!
Over the next two days, the children learnt secret handshakes to greet humans and aliens. This encourages them to work on their hand-eye coordination, working memory and social skills.
They also decoded secret alien codes, which I thought was rather complex for young children (though Ryan had no problems doing it)! The coding exercise works on the working memory and hones a child’s eye-tracking skills as well.
In addition, the children explored sensory shapes and landscapes (with and without gloves). Aside from training their fine motor skills, children also got to experience what it might feel like being an astro-engineer fixing their space shuttle.
For snack time, children got the chance to see the banana in different forms – in its original form, making a banana puree and lasting cutting them up and dehydrating them to make banana chips. How clever and ingenious, and the children got to enjoy a healthy snack to boot too!
Saving the best for last, their biggest Space Mission of all – building their very own space shuttle rocket out of recycled materials. The children worked together in teams, planning and prioritisng and tapped on everyone’s strengths. They also made the coolest personal jet packs out of cereal boxes, plastic bottles and ribbons.
The children were very proud to show off their handmade creations at the presentation for parents on the final day. One of the teams even came up with a cute song about their spaceship. Ryan loved his cool silver jetpack and remembered to point out his little contribution to his team’s rocket – a nifty little navigational light (otherwise known as a torchlight) that could be turned on and off 🙂
Ryan had a wonderful time at the Astronaut Training Camp. It was clear that a lot of thought and planning had gone into all the activities. The facilitators were very patient and experienced in dealing with a class of young children of varying learning abilities.
It was very interesting to hear what the facilitators had to say of Ryan. He is rather mature for his age and can focus well and do most tasks (including the complex decoding puzzles!) on his own with little guidance. He is quite reserved and cautious in groups prefering to stand back to observe than participate, so all the team and social activities did a good job of drawing him out of his shell. Kudos to all the facilitators for this out-of-this-world Astronaut Training Camp!
The Little Executive wiIl be conducting end-of-year holiday camps for K1-P2 children in a couple of months’ time!
- Dinosaur Camp: 29 November – 2 December 2016
- Primary 1 intensive Prep Camp: 6 December – 9 December 2016
- Astronaut Camp: 13 December – 16 December 2016
Besides their holiday programmes, The Little Executive also holds regular sessions that are geared towards developing essential brain-based skills and cognitive processes that children need in order to succeed both in and out of the classroom. The curriculum is organised according to the Explorer (Nursery), Creator (Kindergarten) and Executive (Primary 1) Levels. You can view the class schedules and fees here. (Sean is going through the Executive class now – I will report back on his progress soon!)
Disclaimer: Ryan was invited to attend the camp for the purpose of this review. The pleasure was all ours, and all opinions expressed here are my own.