FARMINGTON — Several children sat at round tables Monday morning, writing in their hard-covered nature journals.
Some campers had a snack or sipped a drink as they wrote what they have seen and done lately during the Mallett Summer Learning Club.
Three tents were set up around the outskirts of the cafeteria at the W.G. Mallett School. A list of words related to camping were posted on an easel.
The theme is "Camping in Maine Vacationland."
The summer learning program is for campers in first and second grades to help with building literacy skills: reading, writing and oral language, according to Keith Martin, coordinator and counselor of the program and third-grade teacher at the school. The other counselors also are teachers.
The six-week program is made possible through a $50,000 grant that Leanne Condon, RSU 9 assistant superintendent/director of curriculum, and Martin wrote and received from the John T. Gorman Foundation.
This is the third week of club adventures.
“It is an opportunity for kids to do enriched activities,” Martin said. “We are working with community partners.”
The group goes to the Health and Fitness Center at the University of Maine at Farmington every Tuesday. They've worked with Upcountry Artists and will be working with the Healthy Community Coalition among others, he said.
They visited the Hardy Farm in Farmington last week. One boy was writing about the calf he saw at the farm in his journal.
There are also plans to walk in nearby Bonney and Flint Woods.
Campers and counselors went to the gymnasium and sat in a circle around a makeshift campfire, complete with wood and paper flames. Three more tents lined the edges of the room. A fake tree had an old Maine license plate balanced among its branches. A mural consisting of mountains, water and a trail was posted on the wall. Cutouts of the sun, moose, tents and other things were added.
The camp runs 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday for campers, and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. for counselors.
There are about 41 children participating, assistant coordinator and counselor Vicki Foster said.
Campers and counselors took turns saying what they did over the weekend. Swimming and hiking were among the top activities.
Last week, they learned about moose. This week, they are learning about the Maine black bear, Martin told them.
They moved to the reading area set up in the gym and sat down. Counselors Diane Kyes and Melissa Speich read the poem, “The Bear,” which was posted on a board for all to see.
Before they knew it, campers were reading the poem together with half the room reading one portion of verses and the other half reading opposite verses.
When they finished, it was time to sing “Going on a Bear Hunt,” accompanied by music. For each portion of the song, there was a different body motion, including using fingers to tiptoe into the cave.
Before the end of Monday's session, they were to discover more about birds and have a visit from a rehabilitator to learn about the job.