A blog by the staff and participants of Al-Bustan, which is dedicated to teaching and presenting Arab culture through the arts and language. This provides a forum for us to regularly share the happenings and reflections on all things Al-Bustan-related.
My name is Mary Welsh, and I will be the science educator at Al-Bustan Camp this year. I have really enjoyed learning more about the climate and geography of Lebanon, and it has been so fun to think of ways for us to appreciate the traditions of Lebanon. The main theme of our science program will be the different ways people connect with their local environments, and we'll focus on Lebanon and Pennsylvania. We will read Nadine Touma's book The Color of the Sea, a story in which a group of Lebanese children travel to the sea because they are not sure of its color. After their visit, they creatively share their findings with their community. In this science class, the campers will similarly observe their surroundings and work to share with their friends and family.
We will be working locally in Wissahickon Park, literally the backyard of Springside School, where we will explore local wildlife, create field guides to show friends and family, and explore uses for local resources. I hope that the kids will look at the world around them with an appreciation for the way the local environment affects our lives everyday. See some of the kids from group Alif exploring the park below:
We will also have a strong focus on Lebanon and the way its people interact with its local resources. Inspired by the children's book Olives, Soap, Hammam, I have been researching ways to make olive oil soap. Next week, kids will work with me to create their own variations of the traditional soap by adding fragrance and molding it. We will also focus on other diverse uses of olive oil.