There is nothing more priceless than learning through the act of play. We are taught as parents that from an early age, helping our kids learn through play develops social and cognitive skills, builds emotional maturity, and cultivates self-confidence as they continue to uncover the world around them.
Natalie Lerner, artistic director of The Mosaic Hub, as well as a professional actress and mother of two, realized there was something missing for her son when he started public school.
“My son, Jaydan, began kindergarten in a dual language school where half the day is taught in English and the other half in Spanish,” said Natalie. “Those first six weeks of school were very hard for him. He was coming home telling me he hated school and had no friends.”
As a mom, this wasn’t something Natalie wanted to hear from her son, and she started investigating why he felt this way. She realized, as a child who was brand new to Spanish, it was becoming increasingly challenging for him to learn the fundamentals of kindergarten AND a new language at the same time.
“The educators told me that he would be behind his English speaking counterparts until about the third grade. He is a bright kid, and I did not want him to lose that and his self-confidence!”
Natalie wanted to help her son, so she began researching if there were any enrichment programs that other schools were incorporating into their foreign language programs.
“As an actress, I know that being in theatre helps break down walls and allows you to be free in order to play. Jaydan is a very physical kid. I thought that maybe if I helped him learn the language physically through the concepts of theatre and drama, it might help him retain the information better.
This is how “Let’s Play It!”: A Linguistics Drama Summer Camp was born. Campers entering kindergarten through third grade will experience creative play, the basics of acting and theater production, while learning a new language with bilingual instructors.
“Our goal is to make language tangible,” said Natalie. “Our campers will be able to unlock mental pathways for a cognitive and fun-filled experience.”
At camp, all five senses will be explored. Kids will learn how to act out scenes, play games, make props, and even help with building and designing sets. Through play, kids will learn basic conversations and vocabulary in English and Spanish, identifying objects and situations in real life in order to retain the information. The camp concludes with a bilingual play called Excalibur Garden!
“It’s so fun to watch the kids actually build a set, like a supermarket for example, and then watch them say ‘banana’ in Spanish by being able to pretend to shop, pick up the fruit and place it in the cart,” said Natalie. “This type of learning where you coordinate language and physical movement is called Total Physical Response (TPR), and it’s known to help children retain information faster and longer.”
Children who attend this camp do not need to have prior experience in theater or a foreign language.
The camp will take place the week of July 18-29 from 9 a.m. – Noon at the brand new Hub Studio, 1502 Sawyer, Studio #232, Houston, TX 77007. (Hub Studio’s Grand Opening and Silent Auction will take place July 8th. For tickets, to donate, or sponsor: www.hubstudiohouston.com) The cost for camp is $300 for the first camper, plus a $40 registration fee. Each additional sibling is only half price. To register, visit www.mosaic-hub.com.