Commissioner Chester and Vice Chair Morton See Outdoor Learning Come to Life at YMCA Camp Ponkapoag

IMG_0635Nestled in the Blue Hills, YMCA’s summer program at Camp Ponkapoag provides students a unique learning experience that blends rigorous academic instruction with exciting enrichment opportunities.

This week Mitchell Chester, Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education; James Morton, Vice-Chair of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education; and Cliff Chuang, Senior Associate Commissioner for Educational Options donned their camping gear to witness outdoor learning come to life at this longtime Summer Learning Project site.

IMG_0630The natural backdrop of Blue Hills Reservation, a 6,000-acre state park, provides a perfect setting for linking academics and enrichment. Boston Public School teachers at the Camp Ponkapoag site utilize the pavilions to deliver project-based learning curricula focused on the essential question, “How do water and land forms affect the habitats of living things?”

The 60 participating students also learn about the environment during nature and hiking explorations with their teachers and enrichment staff, and participate in ropes challenges, free swim, archery, and arts and crafts. The summer culminates with presentations to families and friends in the form of a public service announcement to showcase what students have learned about water and simple machines.

IMG_0640The site serves rising 4th and 5th grade students from five Boston Public Schools: the Edward Everett, John Winthrop, Mendell, Martin Luther King Jr. K-8, and the Trotter. For more information about how YMCA Camp Ponkapoag advances hands-on outdoor learning, please check out their program profile here.

Many thanks to YMCA staff Ali Dallaire, Patty Smith, and Ashley Cobb for their great leadership.

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