ESSEX, Conn. (WTNH) – Before the reading, writing, and arithmetic this school year, one classroom is focused on their hometown and nature’s backyard.

It is making the rope, shaving the wood, and drilling each hole. This is the Hometown Originals Summer Camp at the River Museum in Essex, and today is all about water travel.

“Today, we’re focusing on shipbuilding and what it was like to work in a shipyard,” said Lauren Bennett-Dionne, the assistant director of education at the River Museum.

Bennett and many others help seven to 10-year-olds spend summer camp learning about their backyard.

“We’ve been learning about compasses, and we went to Knot Island,” an Essex fourth grader said.

What’s great is on a day they’re learning to build a ship, the classroom is surrounded by water and all kinds of boats for inspiration.

When they’re not building boats, they’re exploring Essex, learning about the Connecticut River, and meeting kids who share their love for the great outdoors.

“I’ve been making friends for three weeks now,” Essex second grader Kelly Hand said.

The River Museum has six weeks of camp, each with a different theme for kids six to twelve years old from all over the state. Learn more about the camp here.