Turn the Page
For the second time in as many summers, Turn the Page Children's Center for Academic Success, 244 Main St., Emmaus, will offer a summer camp with a popular computer game at its center and Kim Clinchy, program director, is excited.
Students in second through eighth grades will have the chance to enroll in Minecraft Camp.
"It was a huge hit last year and the kids love it," Clinchy said in the front room of the house where Turn the Page now makes its home.
Thomas McNeal, a seventh grader in the East Penn School District, provides tech support for the various tech devices Minecraft campers use, including iPads and laptops.
The Minecraft Camp grew organically. Students enthusiatically talked about Minecraft while at Turn the Page, Clinchy said.
The students started teaching Clinchy about the game and the game drew her in. Clinchy saw potential in the elements of history, math and social studies woven into the game. Plus the game engaged the students.
"I didn't realize until they started teaching me," Clinchy said of the game.
Clive Thompson writing for Wired magazine in October described Minecraft as "genuinely educational," helping students hone skills in "spatial reasoning, math and logic" as well as reading and writing.
Each player creates his or her own experience, "digging" virtual holes to collect blocks used to build an environment.
Students learn about historical tools, encounter new vocabulary and learn how to work together as they build the Minecraft environment. The students discuss ideas about the virtual world they are building together. The older students help the younger students and students hone creative thinking and planning skills.
"Its a great, great thing," Clinchy said.
Minecraft is just one of a variety of summer and other offerings available at Turn The Page. Tutoring is offered throughout the school year. Students can improve reading, comprehension and social skills through programs and camps offered. There are book clubs. And there has been the occasional themed birthday party at the center. A tea modeled on the Fancy Nancy book series helped students with social skills.
The staff includes reading specialists and teachers. A new website is being updated at ttpsuccess.com. There is a tution fee for the camps.
Those using the center include students from Quakertown, Parkland, Salisbury, East Penn, Southern Lehigh, Saucon Valley and Whitehall, Clinchy said.
"I wanted a place where kids could come and have the opportunity to better themselves," Clinchy said.