Science, Art, and Language at Al-Bustan

How the time flies! It seems like just yesterday that Al-Bustan summer camp opened for its 2012 session. Serving as camp manager for the first time, I was very pleased to see the excited faces of youngsters, learning and experiencing Arab language, culture, and so much more. At Al-Bustan, instruction in Arabic infuses every aspect of campers’ experience, offering a truly unique environment.

One memory that I am sure to hold onto was the Friday of the second week. Michele Gilbert, a science teacher we were lucky enough to have join us, was helping campers complete and post a large, vibrantly colorful mural. The mural formed a paper canvas that covered an entire classroom wall. It was emblazoned with children’s depictions of all different sizes sea creatures. A massive giant squid graced the top, a killer whale swam near the bottom, and nearly every space in between teemed with all forms of sea life. It was an impressive and fun combination of art and science, but there was another aspect of the project.

As the campers drew and colored, they also learned and practiced the names of their animals in Arabic. They labeled each animal in English and Arabic, practicing the names for each other. Ms. Gilbert encouraged them, as they begged for the chance to add another, favorite sea creature to their growing work of art. The piece grew and grew along, with campers’ knowledge of Arabic. Eventually, when every spare space on the paper had been filled, Ms. Gilbert enlisted the help of some campers to post the mural with pride on the wall of the science room. It is a tangible representation of Al-Bustan’s unique combination of Arabic instruction with all manner of other fun-filled activities and subjects.

Thanks to all the campers, families, and staff members that made Al-Bustan Camp 2012 such a success!

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