By Diana Whittle
Even though it’s only March, the Kyrene district is already thinking of summer fun and is open for registration to its summer programs.
“It’s the best place to beat the heat and keep kids safe, while having fun and learning,” said Program Manager Pete Flocken, in the Community Education and Outreach Services department.
Families also can registration for Early Learning Programs, Kids Club, Adventure Tours, Summer Academy, After Hours and Summer Theatre.
Kyrene is continuing to expand its options for Early Learners, and this summer at the traditional Early Learning Centers, at Brisas and Milenio schools, teachers will incorporate age-appropriate activities that help children reach their full potential cognitively, emotionally, physically and socially.
“We also have our ‘Early Learner Discovery Classes’ that includes Tinkering for Tots, Have a Ball!, Music Makers and Fairy Tale Fun,” said Flocken. “Our approach is hands-on and child-centered, and encourages children to learn at their own pace.”
The Early Learners program is designed to capture the minds and interests of children early on to mold them into life-long learners. Classes are developmentally appropriate and geared to help challenge children as they explore topics ranging from music, yoga, science discovery and storytelling. The lesson plans are created by the teaching staff and are aligned to state standards.
“We base our developmentally appropriate activities for early learners on a philosophy of learning through guided play as we help prepare children for Kindergarten in Kyrene.”
A new dual-language camp will be offered at Norte, which uses instruction in both English and Spanish. This unique early learning option supports the individual discovery and learning styles of young students through hands-on activities and is designed for children already proficient in English.
“In addition, our Summer Academy is filled with some of the best and brightest teachers in our District,” said Flocken, “so the classrooms will be buzzing with students learning new things.”
Flocken says that the summer learning loss, commonly referred to as ‘brain drain,’ is a real concern.
“Students need to keep their minds and bodies active over summer so they don’t take any steps back over the break.
“We also have a strong variety of academic classes to help students sharpen skills in all areas over the summer. Even our enrichment classes have educational components mixed in.”
For instance, the cooking classes reinforce math concepts, while the LEGO engineering classes have a heavy emphasis on the scientific design process.
Other classes include:
STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math); Maker classes where students can build mini-robots; technology classes where students will learn to code; and one for the popular game Minecraft.
“We also have a great slate of Fine Arts classes taught by our school year art teachers,” said Flocken. “Classes like ‘Fiber Art,, where students will learn the intricacies of creative arts like basketry, lacework and felting, can turn into lifelong hobbies and career interests for students.”
Naturally there are some classes for children to sharpen their academic skills, like Principles of Algebra.
“We support continuous academic achievement and personal growth for every student over the summer,” said Flocken.
“Every day at Summer Academy, and in all of our Community Education programs, is an opportunity to inspire students and introduce them to new concepts, interests and lifelong hobbies.”
For more information or to register for the classes, call 480-541-1510 or visit the district’s website at www.kyrene.org to download the brochure on Summer Programs.