While designing our brand new Camp Invention® curriculum each year, our team of education experts begins from a place of empathy in order to address the needs, interests and aspirations of all students. A key component of this approach is to champion the importance of inclusion to ensure that each camp experience is engaging and effective for students with diverse needs.
For Alaina Rutledge, Vice President of Education Research and Development at the National Inventors Hall of Fame® (NIHF), this means creating programs that are accessible and supportive. “The Camp Invention program values diversity and is committed to providing a platform for all children to explore, make and create,” Rutledge said. “Our curriculum designers have consulted with experts in the fields of neurodiversity and accessibility, and have made concerted efforts to ensure the overall program experience is accessible, supportive and allows the participation of all children.”
At the Maryland School for the Deaf, for example, students from Maryland and states across the country enjoy the same interactive Camp Invention activities experienced by children nationwide. In addition to providing closed captioning on all video content, NIHF supplies both materials and step-by-step instructions to accompany each module, so the school did not need to make extensive modifications to the curriculum.
Kamilla Jakubowyc, a teacher at the Maryland School for the Deaf, has been a Camp Invention Director at her school for six years and appreciates how campers are able to build important communication skills during their one-week experience. Because all Instructors at her camp are fluent in American Sign Language, they can accomplish just that.
“Camp Invention provides our students with the opportunity to develop their socialization skills by encouraging them to interact with each other directly, Jakubowyc said in an interview with NIHF. “It’s inspiring because they will return to school in September and share what they learned with the other kids.”
Because the jobs of the future likely do not yet exist, developing STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) skills is one way to prepare today’s young innovators for whatever comes next. Jakubowyc agrees and cites the importance of STEM education as one of the reasons she became a Camp Invention Director.
“I set up Camp Invention at my school to provide opportunities for our children and to help them have potential careers in STEM,” Jakubowyc said. “It’s an opportunity to learn more through fun activities instead of traditional academics.”
Research shows that children must have exposure to innovators with whom an emotional connection will resonate. Because of this, our education team makes sure to incorporate a diverse group of innovators directly into the activities students participate in each day.
For her part, Jakubowyc plans to continue running Camp Invention at her school in order to provide her students with essential STEM skills and help them develop an innovative mindset.
“This is my sixth summer running camp, and the students really enjoy every moment of every day — I’m very proud of it and hope it continues forever,” Jakubowyc said.
Learn More About Camp Invention
This year, summer learning opportunities are more important than ever. Because of this, we remain optimistic and intend to run Camp Invention throughout the country. To learn more about our flagship STEM program, we invite you to visit our website.