Imaginations soar at La Grange summer camp
London Muscilino of La Grange uses a magnifying glass to look at insects at Kensington School. | Jon Durr~Sun-Times Media
Updated: September 10, 2012 12:32PM
LA GRANGE — Campers’ brains are getting a workout at Kensington School this summer, if learning comes best through play.
But that’s not necessarily why parents enroll their kids in the private school.
“Camp is awesome,” said Nevin Delong, 8, of Brookfield. “There’s a lot to do here, playing on computers, and they have cool snacks.”
Although organic foods are on the menu, Nevin says he’s partial to vanilla ice cream and sherbet for snacks occasionally.
Nevin said he also looks forward to field trips several days a week for the senior group of campers ages 5 to 10, such as the Bulls and Sox Training Academy, where they play video games while exercising.
The camp’s focus changes every week or two, said Amanda Derrico, who teaches kindergarten during the school year and leads the senior campers in the summer. For a theater-themed week, the senior campers put on 10 skits for the rest of the students at the school, who begin attending programs at age 2.
“I was very impressed with how well they did. They remembered their lines, and we taught them how to ad lib in case they forgot,” Derrico said. “They were all very confident and liked performing.”
Jack Amberg, 7, of Westchester, said one of his favorite activities was making slime.
“We formed this soft, smooshy foam stuff,” Jack said. “It was all gooey.”
Derrico explained her students mixed Borax, glue and water and got to take home their creations in a plastic bag.
“The hands-on, messy stuff they like,” she said. “We were scrubbing tables for a long time.”
Before heading out for a day at the Clarendon Hills pool or a tour or performance, students have Spanish and music lesson twice a week. Campers also have silent reading after lunch and bring games or books from home to share, Derrico said.
“We like to keep the academics going,” she said.
On days spent at the school at 125 N. Kensington Ave., campers can choose among activity toy centers featuring a kitchen and dolls, construction equipment, art supplies and an easel, and a math station with items to stack and count. Students also take time to work on an art project together, such as tie-dyeing or painting a robot, and once a week, they make a scrapbook page of the week’s activities.
Kensington School also offers themed sessions for 5-year-old and for children 2 to 4 years old, as well as enrichment classes for preschoolers ranging from science to a dinosaur dig, dance, Spanish and no-bake baking. The school also offers preschool and kindergarten classes at centers in LaGrange Highlands, Western Springs, St. Charles, Naperville, Geneva and Wheaton.
In addition to all the activities, London Muscalino, 5, of La Grange, cited one more reason for going to Kensington’s summer program.
“I like going to school, because I get to play with my friends,” she said.