Families can take learning on-the-go this summer with a new app for Camp Wonderopolis®, a free, fun, online education program. For children, the digital camp fuels curiosity and engages their interest in the ‘why’ behind everyday things. Meanwhile, parents can see how the program combats summer learning loss. While Camp Wonderopolis is available online, the addition of the app means, once downloaded, families can take Camp Wonderopolis with them on road trips, to the grocery store, or anywhere they want to tap into learning. Created by the National Center for Families Learning (NCFL) with support from Better World Books, Camp Wonderopolis is full of interactive STEM and literacy-building topics. This year’s theme, Symphony of Wonders, allows children to work at their own pace to investigate music-related topics such as: Why Do Pianos Have 88 Keys?; Why Do You Get Goosebumps When Someone Sings Beautifully?; or, How Are Echoes Created? There are 42 lessons available and six Maker activities. “Camp Wonderopolis was created to help fight summer learning loss by engaging children with relevant, high-interest content to build reading comprehension, critical thinking, and vocabulary skills,” said John MacLeod, NCFL community manager. “Some children will fly through all the lessons in a few days, while others may go at a slower pace. Together, parents and children can spend time creating the Maker activities suggested.” Maker activities are low-cost projects meant to bring learning to life by having parents and children work together to create the end product. Everyday items, often found in the home or for low cost at the store, are used as materials. Projects include: maracas made from plastic eggs, popcorn, or rice, spoons and tape; and a harmonica made from straws, popsicle sticks, and rubber bands. According to Oxford Learning, children can lose up to three months of academic gains after taking long breaks from school. Summer learning loss is cumulative, and, over time, can create a gap of two to five years by the time students reach high school. “We’ve participated in Camp Wonderopolis for the past couple of years and the lessons not only keep my children engaged, they have fun learning,” said Cris Howard, parent. “We love doing the Maker activities together. I can see their brains working!” Now in its fifth year, Camp Wonderopolis has attracted more than 45,000+ registered Campers across all Camps — resulting in 160,000 vocabulary words mastered and 60,000 informational text quizzes passed. In addition, more than 10,000 hours of learning has been logged by Camp users. Students, parents, and program staff can register to participate in Camp Wonderopolis for free at Camp.Wonderopolis.org. Families and organizations may opt to enhance their Camp experience by purchasing a Campsite Kit. Family Kits are packed with a family guide, supplies for two Maker activities, Wonder Cards®, a Wonder Journal and fun ways for families to learn together. Program Kits (for organizations) provide online training and support materials to implement Camp Wonderopolis programming. Campsite Kits can be purchased at the Wonder Store, Store.Wonderopolis.org.
Toyota Family Learning Program
Toyota, one of the nation's most successful corporations, began a partnership with NCFL in 1991. In addition to a commitment of more than $35 million, Toyota has also contributed a wealth of in-kind support — including advertising, planning and management expertise — to form one of the most progressive corporate/nonprofit partnerships in the nation.
Three major programs have been developed through the Toyota partnership based on the family literacy model of parents and children learning together. These models have influenced federal and state legislation, leveraged local dollars to support family literacy and led to successful programs being replicated across the country.Read More about Toyota and NCFL
Dollar General Literacy Foundation
The Dollar General Literacy Foundation began partnering with NCFL in 2006. A signature effort of this partnership is the National Literacy Directory, a resource that launched in 2010 and strives to reach the 35.7 million adults ages 18-64 who do not have a high school diploma by guiding them to better-paying, more stable jobs.
The National Literacy Directory contains over 10,000 educational agencies located across the United States and has a dedicated toll-free number to help support those wanting to pursue educational opportunities in their communities.
Dollar General also provides support for development of NCFL’s innovative family learning resources centered on financial literacy and Parent and Child Together (PACT) Time®.Go to Dollar General Literacy Foundation's website
PNC Grow Up Great
PNC Grow Up Great believes deeply in the power of high-quality early childhood education and provides innovative opportunities that assist families, educators and community organizations to enhance children's learning and development.
PNC Grow Up Great has partnered with NCFL since 1994 to advance early literacy and learning resources for vulnerable families. Current efforts supported by PNC include a collaborative initiative in two at-risk Detroit communities that engages families to support vocabulary development for children under age 5.
NCFL's work is also featured on the PNC Grow Up Great Lesson Center website. The Lesson Center includes over 100 free, high-quality preschool lesson plans and research-based instructional techniques and strategies. All lesson plans contain Home/School Connections printouts, in English and Spanish, to help families extend and reinforce the learning at home.PNC Grow Up Great
W.K. Kellogg Foundation
NCFL has partnered with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation since January 2016. The Foundation is currently supporting a dynamic two-generation family engagement initiative that expands NCFL's Family Learning model into select Head Start programs nationwide. NCFL's model presents an innovative way to support Head Start programs in meeting outcomes aligned with the Parent, Family, and Community Engagement Framework.Visit the Foundation website
Better World Books
Better World Books selected NCFL as its domestic literacy partner in 2005 and has raised more than $1 million to support NCFL’s work and donated more than $15 million to support literacy and education efforts worldwide. Better World Books is a triple-bottom-line online bookstore, working equally for people, planet and profit. Each book purchased powers literacy across the world.
Better World Books’ support of NCFL has provided books and workshops to families after Hurricane Katrina, donated large book donations to literacy programs and families nationwide and fueled innovative family literacy and learning programs and resources in libraries, schools and community-based organizations. In addition to their work for literacy and education, Better World Books diverts books from landfills and offers carbon-balanced shipping.Better World Books
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
In 2013, NCFL began a partnership with the Gates Foundation to ensure that our network of students, teachers, and families thrive among recent shifts in standards-based education. NCFL will leverage the unique strengths of our award-winning Wonderopolis® platform to build upon the growing teacher network that uses the resource for core daily instruction and as a basis for professional growth.Foundation Website
NCFL has partnered with the Goodling Institute for Research and Family Literacy at Penn State University since 2001, working collaboratively to further research, professional development, and policy efforts for family literacy and intergenerational learning.
The work of this partnership includes, but is not limited to, a strong research strand at NCFL's national annual convening, the Families Learning Summit; advocacy for family literacy and learning to further support for and inclusion of family-focused education in new and ongoing legislation; and dissemination of the latest research, resources, information, and professional development opportunities for literacy and learning practitioners and advocates, including the Certificate in Family Literacy provided by the Goodling Institute.Goodling Institute for Research and Family Literacy at Penn State University