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Winter camp encourages children to think for themselves

Concordia PhD candidate fosters philosophical thinking among youngsters through Brila camp
February 7, 2014
By James Gibbons

“Kids are natural philosophers,” says Natalie Fletcher, PhD candidate at Concordia’s Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies in Society and Culture. She is the director of Brila Youth Projects, a registered charity that offers unique camps encouraging kids to think in creative ways.

Brila’s Winter Creativity Camp — from March 3 to 7 at Loyola Campus — invites curious 8- to 13-year-olds to develop creative expression through fun projects.

“It’s the first of its kind in Montreal and one of only two philosophy-based camps in Canada,” says Fletcher, of the five-year-old camp, modeled on UNESCO’s Philosophy for Children (P4C) movement.

Concordia alumna Rachel Lau reports on Brila’s Summer Creativity Camp in action.

“I’ve seen how well P4C programs work in other countries, so I wanted to bring them here. Children can think for themselves and we respect and encourage them in that capacity,” Fletcher says.

The winter camp’s theme is communication. “We’ll explore what it means to be lost in translation and ways of translating ideas through words, images, body language and even sign language.”

Daily creative workshops will be held in English and French, though bilingualism is not a requirement.

Brila lets kids “interact with practicing professionals and experts who will make special guest appearances,” says Fletcher.

Fletcher-620px Brila camp director Natalie Fletcher | Courtesy of Brila Youth Projects

This winter, they’ll include an oral storyteller, a slam poet, a performance artist, a circus artist and a playwright/photographer, Concordia alumna Elise Newman, MA 08.

Creative output from the camp — writing, photography, illustration, recorded performance and multimedia — will be collected in a digital magazine that will appear on Brila’s website.

Fletcher’s passion for engaging the imaginative and intellectual capacity of children is part of the practical component of her PhD work. “I’m committed to holding these camps through Concordia because of the university’s spirit of curiosity and creativity,” she says.

  • Brila offers a 10 per cent discount to Concordia alumni, faculty, staff and students who register their kids. Register online online or call 438-338-5956. Brila’s summer 2014 camps at Loyola Campus run July 14 to 18 and July 21 to 25.

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