This summer we rolled out a new initiative at ICT: Creating all craft projects with reusable or recyclable materials.
Our founder Mandy, along with speech therapist Jacki Rubin, was inspired to weave environmentally-conscious thinking into our programs after we brought our community together for a beach clean-up in May. “The kids and their families were so enthusiastic about getting rid of the trash on the beach,” she said. “I realized that we could go further with the idea of taking care of the earth.”
Crafts were a perfect place to start, because they’re a bedrock of our intensive programs (camps). We do them every day, because they offer so many opportunities for children to not only practice language skills, but also have rich sensory experiences. On the language side, crafts teach following directions, sequencing steps, taking turns, asking for help, sharing materials and tools, collaborating, and learning vocabulary and concepts. Sensorially, children experience a variety of textures and smells, and practice self-regulation as they focus on completing crafts.
Not only are the crafts themselves great teaching activities, the idea of creating them with reusable or recyclable materials is, too. “It’s an opportunity to expand children’s social-emotional thinking and vocabulary,” Mandy said. “It helps them focus on compassion, awareness, appreciation, and gratitude.”
Above all, Mandy says, it encourages the idea of “collaborating for the benefit of something that’s important to all of us.”