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Coding, Cooking, and Adventure at Santa Clara Unified Camps

September 2019

Camp S.P.A.R.K — where Successful, Passionate, Ambitious, Rockin’ Kids spend their summer! The Family-Child Education (FCE) department’s summer camp is growing year by year. After last year’s successful launch of the “Tech Titans Camp,” this summer, our Family-Child Education (FCE) department added coding with Minecraft to the already popular coding camp — and it sold out. 

Using drag and drop Java, JavaScript, and Lua code, the children learned basic fundamental coding concepts of algorithms, data types, variables, and loops as they created mods and games within the Minecraft and Roblox worlds. During the week-long camps, students were able to apply their coding skills and customize their own unique games. 

“When you walk into the computer lab students are actively engaged in learning,” said Program Manager Jennifer Marfia. “You observe collaboration, discussions using coding language, excitement when games are successfully coded, and perseverance through challenges.” 

At the end of the week, parents were invited to view first hand what their child had created. Children were proud to share their experiences and likewise, parents were impressed with their children’s use and knowledge of coding. 

According to Marfia, the culinary camp “Simmer, Stew, & Bake It Too!” was deemed a huge success by parents and students. During the week-long culinary camp, the aspiring chefs made a full menu of recipes from scratch and learned a wide range of cooking techniques, including safe food handling, measurements, terminology, knife cuts, and etiquette. 

“Upon entering the food lab children can be observed confidently prepping ingredients, successfully handling kitchen tools, collaborating on the next steps in a recipe, and organizing their kitchens,” said Marfia. 

At the end of the week, parents were invited to a luncheon that included a menu of foods made from scratch including macaroni and cheese, chef salad, chicken parmesan with fresh pasta, breadsticks, cheesecake with lemon curd, and lemon cookies. The young chefs were provided with a recipe book to continue their learning at home!

At the FCE Kidventure Camp, children embark on week-long unique adventure where campers explore the local community through field trips, discover new possibilities and interests through onsite special visitors, and select activities that promote new learning experiences. The focus is to foster collaboration, creativity, critical thinking, accomplishment, and a sense of belonging. The camps are intentionally designed with mixed-age, K-5th grade groups to encourage the development of the life-long learning skills of problem-solving, negotiation, and conflict resolution. 

A day in the life of a camper can include hands-on learning through art and science experiences, water and sensory play, large group games, sports, board games, dramatic play, sewing, technology, and cooking. Marfia said that the students can be seen reading a favorite book, hanging out with friends, working in teams, and supporting and learning from their peers.

The summer programs at FCE continue to successfully grow year after year and we are proud to serve the Santa Clara community with fun, educational summer experiences for children.

Students cooking