GREENVILLE- Sixty area elementary students are spending a week down on the farm as part of DeColores Montessori School’s summer camp program.
The school offers three weeks of camp – Farm Fun, Green Thumb and Water Week. All three camps are held at the school’s farm location on Arcanum-Bear’s Mill Road.
During the school year, junior high-age students attend class at the farm and help with daily farm chores.
Camp activities offer similar adventures for the younger students, including feeding the farm’s chickens and sheep. Camp also includes plenty of educational activities — learning about Ohio’s native plants, insects and the water cycle, as well as visits from Darke County Park naturalists.
The camp also offers opportunities for kids to just be kids during summer break by experiencing outdoor play and activities.
“Kids get to use lots of imagination,” said Nancy Dean, DeColores Montessori School principal.
“It’s a great opportunity for us to bring the younger students out to the farm,” Dean said. “It’s a wonderful opportunity.”
While most of the day-campers are DeColores students, the camps are open to non-Montessori students as well.
Junior high students also get involved by volunteering during the camps, which offers them a chance to earn nine of the required summer community service hours, Dean said.
Michael McMahon, 10, is attending his second year of summer camp.
“I love it,” said the soon-to-be fifth-grader. “My favorite is gaga ball and being with my friends.”
On Wednesday, McMahon was helping volunteer Mya Conway feed the farm’s sheep.
“I asked (to help) and they said yes,” McMahon explained.
Conway, who will be an eighth-grader this fall at DeColores was pleased with McMahon’s eagerness to help.
“We tend to give him a little more responsibility,” she explained.
Conway said she believes the Montessori Farm Fun opportunities are good for younger students “because we live in a farming community. The fact that we get to talk about the care of our animals is cool. It’s really important they get to experience it and get these experiences.”
Besides feeding animals, children also help clean out the stalls in the barn and collect eggs, with preschool through kindergarten campers taking on the task of washing and packaging the eggs.
For more information about DeColores Montessori, visit their website at decoloresmontessori.org