JumpStart Expands Beyond Summer Break

Big things are happening in the world of JumpStart! Since this past Monday, the first ever JumpStart camp during students´ mid-year school break (July 1st - 12th) has been underway. The camp, which will last a total of two weeks and include 30 hours of instruction, is being hosted by Reserva Los Coyotes, a nonprofit organization located on a tract of protected forest only a short distance by car from downtown San José. Through its Aula en el Bosque (Classroom in the Forest) program, Reserva Los Coyotes provides elementary students from nearby communities with supplementary instruction in the science topics they learn about in school using hands-on, experiential activities in the outdoors. Like us, they´re committed to dynamic teaching strategies that keep student´s out of their seats and engaged The perfect project partner!

JumpStart Los Coyotes is being facilitated by three volunteers -- Stewart from England, Sima from New York City, and Chelsea from New Jersey – who we managed to recruit through the invaluable support of volunteer organization Maximo Nivel. With assistance from Los Coyotes staff, they´ve spent the last three days reviewing topics such as greetings, basic conversation, and how to describe physical appearance with their 19 students. Starting tomorrow, the curriculum will transition to lessons designed to apply students´ existing English knowledge to topics in science. For instance, instead of describing people, students will be describing animals and leaves. What is the difference between a mammal and an amphibian? What is the difference between a simple leaf and a compound leaf? By the end of this week, our sixth-grade camp participants will be able to answer these questions – in English! At the end of next week, after reviewing prepositions and learning to give directions for navigating the Los Coyotes trails, students will face the camp´s cumulative final project: to devise and complete scavenger hunts involving various landmarks around the Reserve.

JumpStart Reserva Los Coyotes represents substantial progress towards two of our main goals for the JumpStart program: 1) adding more opportunities to reach students, and 2) moving toward a model whereby students learn English in the context of other academic disciplines. As the camp progresses, we´ll be adding more updates to keep our supporters informed, including stories from our volunteer facilitators. Stay tuned!