Our programs are fun and engaging while also educational. We provide games, activities, tours, and guest speakers to help campers realized the philosophical in the everyday, all while providing solid stimuli for the cornerstone method of each of our camps: initiating dialogue with other campers about interesting ideas. As research has shown, inquiry with peers is one of the most effective ways to develop critical, yet caring, thinking abilities. Indeed, taking part in inquiry has shown to be beneficial for the development of math and and English skills as well. The capacity to think carefully and critically about ideas, whether our own or others', is crucial especially with the glut of information (some true and some false) which can often be overwhelming and contradictory.
Thus, the essence of all the programs we offer is captured in the name of the camp, the tagline, and the balloon girl silhouette. If you want to understand what we're about then these three things are really all you need.
To bring this essence to life we ground our general approach to camp program design in the inquiry based methodology pioneered in the 1970's under Mathew Lipman and
Anne Margaret Sharp through the Institute for the Advancement of the Philosophy for Children (IAPC). While this program remains a crucial inspiration, we
substitute activities, games, tours, and guest speakers. Regardless, our goal remains the same: recognizing the philosophical in the everyday and engaging with those
issues as a way of developing habits for creative, community-based inquiry.
Broadly speaking, every activity is built with the following progression in mind: 1) Stimulus; 2) Question Building; 3) Discussion; 4) Reflection. Please understand that this process changes from instance to instance to fit the abilities and needs of the participants and in practice pieces regularly get skipped or happen out of order: there is no point in expecting 5 year-olds to hold a discussion at the level of 14 year-olds (although we've seen it happen!), sometimes it is just asking the question that really matters, and sometimes everyone just needs to run around, laugh, and have fun. Still, these four stages ground us and the programming.
Stimulus. The stimulus is nearly always a collaborative activity such as a project, game, or tour. Because each of these is designed to be interactive, it keeps campers involved, thinking, and interested. They are also designed to raise questions. From exclamations--That's not fair! --to ponderings--Can humans be pets?--we specialize making people go Hmmmmm...? While we have questions in mind when we design an activity we're never bound by these. A big part of staying true to camper directed programming is realizing that what comes up, comes up, and going with it when it does. And sometimes, just sometimes, nothing sticks for an activity and that's ok too.
Question Building. When questions do arise it is important to know just what they mean before trying to answers them. Every question may deserve an answer but not every question is good for the sort of community based inquiry that we are particularly interested in. It's also not much use to answer the question that was asked rather than the question that was meant to be asked. So, when a question does arise we always take a moment to be clear about just what the question is and to help the campers consider what to do with it.
Discussion. When we arrive at a question that is of interest to the group and of the sort that can be answered by discussing with others then we'll take time to have that discussion. When this happens the goal is for the participants to arrive at a consensus about what is most reasonable to believe. With this goal in mind the counsellors operate as 'facilitators' rather than 'experts', ensuring that the rules, fair play, and good reasoning established by the campers at the start of the week are respected.
Reflection We care a lot about thinking. We care so much that we take time every day to make sure that everyone has thought about their thinking and the other activities that happened throughout the day. With directed questions such as "Was everyone included?", "Did we listen to others who were speaking?", and "Did we think in new and interesting ways about the topic?" participants are given another opportunity to be the authors of their own camp experience by allowing them to reflect as a group and take action based on what they discover.
Founded in summer 2009, Eurekamp provides adventures in ideas. We do this by providing a series of week-long summer day camps at the
University of Alberta with the support of the Faculty of Arts and
Philosophy for Children Alberta. Each program is developed as a collaboration between students, faculty, staff, and professional educators from across
campus and the community at large, with the goal of getting participants excited about exploring ideas - big and small - through active exploration, discovery, and
Our first camp was a proof-of-concept: a single week with 26 campers and 8 volunteers. From this we learned was that there was an unanswered demand in the community for educational programming it reached across disciplines rather than confining itself within one narrow theme or topic. We are all about big ideas and regularly have our campers reaching across the boundaries of math, science, language, drama, art, music, ecology, and philosophy to grab hold of them and try them on. Once they've got them our team helps campers wrestle with them through experiments, games, adventures, presentations, and camper-led discussions.
Since that first week we have grown each year, offering four weeks of programming and reaching 180 campers in 2012, and 250 in 2013. This year we are offering 9 programs across the age range of 5 to 14 years over six weeks. And what programs they are! Each is a one-of-a-kind event that both campers and parents repeatedly tell us has been their best camp experience
Our counsellors have a range of backgrounds. We're Edmonton area teachers; PhD holders; Master's and PhD students in Philosophy, Education, and Occupational Therapy;
parents; children; and lovers of fun and critical thinking. We're always looking for new counsellors, activities and ideas, so if you have something to offer us.
Don't hesitate to contact us to see how you can get involved!
Curious to know a little about the newest members of our 2017 team? Check back later when we know who will join us for fun and inquiry!
Eurekamp! - 2017 Important Details
If you have any questions that are not answered by checking the list below or elsewhere on this website then please call (780) 492-3307 and choose option #4; email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Or, visit the Philosophy for Children Alberta website for more information.
Click the topic you are interested in for further information.
When the early registration fee expires the fee becomes $250.
There are two ways to take advantage of this offer. First, you can pay each registration by credit card online and in full, and then send us an email with the first and last names of the campers you registered. Within a week our staff will issue a refund for the difference directly back to the card. Second, you may complete the online form but choose to pay by cheque for each registration and simply deliver the payment for the proper amount to our office (Remember, registration is not complete until payment is received and processed in full).
Please note that this discount is intended to help families by reducing the duplication of costs (where sensible). For example, if the same child registers for more than one camp and takes advantage of the bursary then they will only receive one camp t-shirt. Other acts of duplication prevention will be taken as deemed reasonable by the camp director. Our camp is run entirely off of registration fees and donations.
Please indicate any and all special abilities and special needs clearly during the registration process so that our programming staff can do as much as reasonably possible in advance to ensure that every camper has the camp experience that every child deserves. If you have any questions about what is possible the contact us directly.
c/o Department of Philosophy
University of Alberta
These are suggestions only and you are welcome to sign up campers for other camps, however we strongly recommend that you recognize that doing so can significantly impact the experience of everyone involved. Even if the camper is able to keep pace with the program generally there are typically many social skills, interests, and physical abilities that will not be on the same level with other campers in the program. We will always help such campers to fit in and have a great time, but at some point lines need to be drawn. This said, we often do have campers participate in other age ranges and difficulties rarely arise. If you're unsure then ask and we'll help you choose.
Please send a healthy and nutritious lunch so that your camper will have the energy needed to participate in the program.
As a last resort campers can purchase food from the vending machines or cafeterias on campus. Campers may eat lunch unsupervised if this has been indicated on their consent form by a parent or guardian. In order to minimize any allergic reactions, we are a nut free camp. Please refrain from providing a lunch containing these allergens.
Roughly two weeks before the start of camp a welcome package will be emailed to each camper. It will contain important instructions and reminders to make camp an enjoyable experience for each camper. Please read and follow these instructions carefully.
No personal information of any kind is being passed between sites. Your registration information stays with us and your credit card information stays with Moneris (The merchant that handles all the online payments for the university). What gets transfered is a long string of digits that identifies which registration a payment is attached to. All that Moneris receives is this set of digits and that is all that they pass back to us as a way of confirming payment. If someone were to intercept this transfer it would appear as a bunch of junk text because that's exactly what it would be to them.