The Mosaic Project
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Wise BPN parents, do any of you have experience with The Mosaic Project? I need some frank advice
and opinions from anyone who has recently sent their 5th grader on this trip. I understand that
many bay area schools pulled out of this program because their students had negative experiences
-our school has stuck with it- so I'm curious to hear from those whose children attended in the
last few years. Thank you.
Concerned Berkeley Momma
I have known both campers and counselors at Mosaic and they all love it. They find
it transformative and enriching. It may be difficult for kids to deal with the
serious issues of discrimination but the message is positive and based on love and
--Wish all kids could go
My daughter went on this trip a few years ago, when she was in fifth grade. I
wouldn't say that she had a bad experience but I wasn't terribly impressed either.
The attitude of the place was kind of preachy and seemed aimed at younger kids. My
daughter made fun of it (especially the songs) and she wasn't the only one to do
so. On the other hand, she had some really positive interactions with kids that
she wouldn't have met otherwise and I was glad about that. Also, getting the kids
out of doors (and away from electronics) for a few days was a good thing. Maybe
the school could find an equally diverse camp that isn't so heavy-handed on a
message that most Berkeley kids already accept?
My daughter attended the Mosaic camp with her class a few years ago, and she really
got a lot out of it. It spoke to her core values and stuck with her. At the time,
the class she was in had a less-than-stellar teacher, and the kids hadn't had much
work on the topics covered in Mosaic, but it still was a very positive experience
for my daughter. I didn't personally hear anything negative from other parents in
the class - I did hear positives from some other families. I'm glad my daughter's
class went, and that she got that experience. A Berkeley public school mom
I was pretty skeptical of this program after hearing a couple of complaints from
parents of children who'd gone to camp in prior years. However, my child absolutely
loved it and I believe he got a lot out of it. He's a pretty buttoned-up kid who
doesn't talk much about feelings and emotions, and this was a safe setting to
explore more emotional territory with lots of new kids. I appreciated that he was
given the chance to explore the differences between families in a safe and positive
way. Mosaic has a CD of songs which reinforce the lessons learned, and he played
the cd constantly and sang along with the lyrics. I will definitely send my
younger child when it's his turn.
Of the complaints I'd heard from other parents, I understood that some of the kids
got cold at night (didn't bring warm enough clothes or bedding). Some parents were
concerned that their kids were not required to take baths or showers during the
week. (Hey, it's camp! I'm okay with dirt!) Some kids who have poor social skills
will face the same challenges socializing at camp as they do in school (although I
think they do a LOT to work on effective social skills). Other kids were
frustrated with the way the school sorted which kids were going to attend during
which weeks. Those were the extent of the complaints I heard about. Personally,
I'm very glad we sent our child.
My daughter has attended Mosaic several times in the last few years as a returning
cabin leader. I know you are looking for responses of parents of 5th graders, but
I've heard a lot about the program from my daughter and how it has affected her and
the younger kids who have been in her cabin. When my daughter attended as a 5th
grader, I didn't realize until years later how much and how positively that first
week at Mosaic had influenced her. I'm not sure if she herself knew. Looking back,
I think it took a couple of years for the experience to sink in and understand how
much she had learned about herself and her communication with others. That amazing
experience led her, and many other former participants, to come back as a cabin
leader. I hope your child's school continues to participate in the program. I only
I was wondering about current thoughts about the Mosaic Project as the archived reviews
are 5 years old. I know that certain schools have opted out, and I was wondering if
anyone knew why. My child's current school still attends, but I'm hearing mixed things
about the program from current parents. I would love to know how your kids did on the
trip or if you opted out then what were your reasons. Thank you!
Mosaic is awesome. I can't say it any plainer than that. My son went in October
as a 5th grader, but many schools send 4th graders in the spring, which I believe
our school will start doing soon. I am pretty sure that every single 5th grader
at our school attended, except for one girl. We are a Title I school, so for some
families it was a stretch financially, but in the spirit of inclusivity, wealthier
families contributed anonymously so that all children could attend. My son had an
amazing time there, loving his counselors and having fun at regular camp
activities, like swimming. He also absorbed many of the Mosaic lessons. His
teacher emailed nightly updates with photos, which we enjoyed hugely. I wish every
single kid in Oakland could participate in Mosaic--I believe it could make a
Wise BPN moms,
Do any of you have experience with The Mosaic Project? I
need some frank advice and opinions from anyone who has sent
their 4th or 5th grader on this trip.
My child just attended the Mosaic Project, and I thought I would
respond to your post, since the archives have only glowing
reports. I would say that her experience wasn't harmful, but she
actually came back with more negative comments about kids from
different backgrounds than I have ever heard from her before.
Maybe the mix of schools wasn't great, or it was a bad week, but
overall she could have skipped the experience.
I'm very interested in understanding from those who said it was a
life-changing experience what was so special. Was it your child's
first time at a sleep-away camp? First time with kids from
different backgrounds? Something else? My child hasn't been to
sleep away camp, although she's eager to go when the opportunity
presents itself, but is pretty independent and likes to travel.
I think the goals of the Mosaic project are good, and was eager to
have my child participate. I even worked to convice other
skeptical parents that they should have their child attend. I
just wasn't impressed with the result. Maybe the expectations are
too high for what can be accomplished in just a few days. I do
think, however, that if the whole grade is attending, those
children who don't attend will be challenged to understand the
class discussion after the fact.
I'm looking for any information or experiences with the Mosaic Project in
Santa Rosa. This is being offered for the first time in my son's fifth
grade class this year and we have not been able to find much about it.
I teach 5th grade and have been lucky enough to bring my class the last
six years to Mosiac. I think it is an amazing program that is very well
run. The students come away with a much greather understanding of
diversity, community, and conflict resolution. I am always extremely
impressed with the staff at Mosaic. They recruit this incredibly gifted,
diverse group of people with whom the kids really connect. It is a
poweful experience for the students that I think is wonderful.
Our school's 5th grade classes go every year and it was life changing for
my son. he felt heard, and came back a much more empathetic person. In
fact it started to change our family dynamic too. cannot recommend it
highly enough. they are caring, careful and purposful and it is a very
another parent for empathy!
My daughter went to Mosaic last year in 4th grade. From what I gathered
form her and from her teachers who were there, it was a great experience.
I believe that at Mosaic kids focused on the fact that everyone is
different (and in that way they are the same), and that differences should
be respeceted and not put down. Kids learned to work together in groups
with other kids and solve problems. Perhaps a bit like team-building
excercises that some of us have seen in the work place, but for many of
our kids, these are new. Often Mosaic will bring together kids from 3
schools representing a range of income levels, so kids can get to know
other kids from very different backgrounds and abilities and become more
comfortable with them. I believe the hope is also to break down
stereotypes. It also gave our school's kids a common language to use when
talking about tolerance.
The kids at our school had a great time. Even the kids who had not done
sleep away camps or many sleep overs before. The staff, counselors and
cabin leaders were professional and warm to all the children. They
themselves were from diverse backgrounds. Some of them were student's in
our own distric't public high school.
Parents are only allowed to drop off and pick up and are not allowed into
the camp proper. This is fine with me. It is a space for the kids to
learn a bit of navigation on their own, in a very safe and supportive
environment. Their teachers were there with them.
One thing I would have liked to be done differently, is for our school to
have incorporated more of the Mosaic stuff into the curriculum the rest of
the year. They did some, perhaps more than I know, but it would have been
good for the school to highlight it more so the parents could see even
more worth in sending our kids.
Here is their web site http://www.mosaicproject.org/index2.htm
Positive for Mosaic Parent
My daughter and her class went to Mosaic this year, and I can't say enough
wonderful things about her experience! She learned about herself, her
relationships with others, came home with a lot of skills for conflict
resolution, which I think is critical as our kids grow. She also
developed an ability to have insight. And, she uses it and shares her
awarenesses with us, and this is from a quiet girl!
very happy parent
Hello--I asked a similar question here earlier in the school year before
my son's grade in school was scheduled to participate in the Mosaic
Project...and saw very few responses, despite knowing that several schools
in this area participate in the camp every year. Before he was scheduled
to go, I felt somewhat wary of the benefits of the program--it seemed very
touchy-feely almost-brainwashy feel-good granola to me--but I let him go
anyway because I thought he'd enjoy the social aspects of the camp and
would feel left out if he were the only student in his grade not
participating. Anyway, he went for a week and had a very good time. It
will probably be one of the high points of his school year. He enjoyed
the youth counselor who led his cabin group; he had the opportunity to get
to know kids from other schools also participating in the program; he
appreciated being outside among the redwoods; and even he even initiated
discussions with me about empathy, teamwork, diversity, etc. in the weeks following his return from camp.
As to the
question of whether there are lasting effects to the kids' participation
in the Mosaic Project, I suppose there are (at least that's what his
teachers in school observe after having their students participate in the
camp for the past several years)--although I am somewhat amused that my
son and his friends have modified some of the lyrics to the Mosaic Songs
(''Let's break down the walls/So we can dance and be free/Let's start with
you and me--free!'') to suit their typical juvenile humor (Let's break
down the walls/So we can dance and go pee/Let's start with you and
Parent of Mosaic camper
I'm interested in hearing from parents whose children have
participated in the MOSAIC Project's week-long camp for 4th and
5th graders at Enchanted Hills Camp, Napa. Did your child have
fun? Was it effective in serving its purpose of promoting
self-esteem and anti-bullying? I'd particularly like to hear
from parents who opted for their child(ren) to not participate in
the camp--what were your reasons, and did your child feel like
he/she missed out socially or in any way for not being with
his/her peers for a week?
The BUSD school where my child attends has had the 4th grade
class participate in the MOSAIC camp for the past few years. We
incoming 4th grade parents just attended an informational meeting
about the camp. It sounds like a huge waste of time and money to
me. If it were up to me, I'd prefer for my child to go to a week
away-camp to learn outdoor skills, rather than spend a week
learning how to use ''I'' statements and talking about themselves.
It seems to me that if kids need to learn about community,
respect for others, overcoming prejudice, and self-worth, the
school should be engaging them in a week's worth of class-led
community service activities for the less fortunate, not singing
feel-good self-esteem songs around a campfire.
Of course, I've never experienced the camp myself, so my
perceptions could be wrong. I'm very interested in hearing what
other parents and former campers have to say about the MOSAIC
My kid loved mosaic. It was a great way to begin the 4th grade
year for the kids who went. I think they solidified some
freindships and mdenew ones. They got a lot from the high-chool
aged counselors who ere fabulous (my kid reported).
Mosaic gave them a common value set for the year. The kids all
worked with the same ideas of respect for and understanding of
differences. Now they might not all adhere to those behavior
ideals, but they sure all know what the expectations are.
I think mosaic gave the 4th graders a great anchor from which to
start their 4th grade year. I did not think it was a waste of
time at all. Also, it was a lot of fun for our maturing pre-
teen kids to spend time away from their families and work on
their budding independence. And don't underestimate the power
of sing alongs around a fire. Many of us have good warm
memories of such events in our own childhoods. It's great for
our kids to have thsoe memories, too.
The school did refer back to the mosaic curriculum during the
year. I think they could do a better job in letting the parents
know that they did so, and telling us specifically how and when.
Do you know of a better alternative? If you can find a better
one-week or similar camp experience for the 4th graders, why not
research and recommend it as a solid alternative now? Providing
a specific and positive alternative, and brining it forward for
an open discussion ASAP would be your best be if you don't think
Mosaic is the best fit. Although, you may be raising this
question a bit late for next year's calendar.
If that is the case, then you may want to look ahead to
activities your school does in older grades (5th and Middle
School), and see if you agree with those choices or not. If
not, can you provide positive alternatives early on?
I'd say, ''go for it''. Send your kid, and let them have fun and
learn about how to better get along with their peers (even if
they are great at it already). Maybe they have a lot to teach
the other kids, too.
Anonymous Mosaic fan
this page was last updated: Jul 30, 2013
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