• Samantha Fecich

Come Learn S’more at Camp Learn-A-Lot

Updated: Jan 3, 2019

Hi readers,


So I was scrolling through instagram and I saw this picture (posted below) and I just had to know more about this event! I reached out to Hannah Conklin of UPJ who shared the message and she agreed to write this amazing post. Read on to learn more about camp learn a lot and the work that University of Pittsburgh in Johnstown, PA preservice teachers did to make this event possible for families and children in their area.


This semester the University of Pittsburgh (UPJ) in Johnstown Education Division along with our local ACRP (Alternative Community Resource Program) hosted a family workshop for children. Families from the local community were invited to come for a night full of fun at Camp Learn-A-Lot a camping theme that we came up with. Each of the families were provided with a free dinner, a free book for each child, a pamphlet of take-home activities created by the UPJ students and a camp themed treat-bag. This whole night was made possible through the donors in our local community and professors.


As a cohort of Early Childhood and Special Education preservice educators, we brought together all our strengths to make a beautiful and successful workshop.

There was a lot to be learned through this workshop. The interactive workshop took a full semester of planning, but we achieved the unthinkable. During this semester long project we learned:


  • How to work with our local resources by asking for donations in the community and accessing different programs like ACRP.

  • How to work with children’s families throughout the workshop by seeing how they respond and help their children.

  • How to collaborate, make decisions, plan ahead, and incorporate everyone’s innovative ideas to bring together a whole masterpiece.


The local children loved the workshop and all that encompassed the evening. They were so excited with the small details that all the preservice teachers took time to include such as: “Don’t feed the bears” signs, a light up fire, the photo booth and others.


Our workshop included four learning stations; literacy, science, social studies and math. Each station included separate literature for students ages; one for a Kindergarten through 1st Grade and another piece for students in 2nd through 4th Grade. The stations were well-designed and marked with bright color decoration so that the students knew where to go.


Each station included hands on learning activities. The literacy station had a fishing vocabulary game that included upper and lowercase letters for beginning learners. The science station was a lesson about the five senses including naturalistic materials like the smell of pine or of burnt wood. The social studies station had a map-making activity, with a short mini-lesson on maps. The math station had an equation fire building activity that incorporated addition and subtraction and multiplication and division for older students.


The children enjoyed each center, while also learning essential concepts. We believe the children really loved the activities that were planned and hopefully were able to learn useful information from the activities as well!


Although the interactive workshop is over, as future educators, we are taking time to reflect and brainstorm ideas for possible workshops in the future.


Now that's creating some EduMagic in the community! How do you impact the community in your teacher prep program? Respond in the comments below.

This camp learn a lot would not have been possible without the following amazing preservice teachers and their dedication to impact learners in their community:


Katie Capell - Early Elementary and Special Education, University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown- Spring 2020

Holly Chappie - Early Elementary and Special Education, University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown- Spring 2020

Hannah Conklin - Early Elementary and Special Education, University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown- Spring 2020

Morgan Cronauer - Early Elementary and Special Education, University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown- Spring 2020

Bernadette Dunegan - Early Elementary Education, University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown- Fall 2019, Bachelor Degrees: Psychology, Criminology, and Secondary Education from Saint Francis University.

Zoey Gailey - Early Elementary and Special Education, University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown- Spring 2020

Elizabeth Gardjulis - Early Elementary and Special Education, University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown- Spring 2020

Alayna Hammond - Early Elementary Education, University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown- Fall 2019

Alyssa Klein - Early Elementary and Special Education, University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown- Spring 2020

Taylor Kunsman - Early Elementary and Special Education, University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown- Spring 2020

Marissa Maher - Early Elementary and Special Education, University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown- Spring 2020

Amanda McMonagle - Early Elementary and Special Education, University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown- Spring 2020

Josette Saunders - Early Elementary and Special Education, University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown- Spring 2020

Carly Turgeon - Middle Level English and Special Education, University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown



Now what? Now it's time to act. Comment below how you plan to impact your community just like these aspiring educators did! What are some ways that you can reach out to those in need in your backyard or across the globe?


Remember friends, you have the EduMagic in YOU!

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