Kyrene Academy a happy (and productive) alternative to boredom

In addition to swimming, swimming and more swimming, how about adding a little intellectual pampering to your child’s summer?

It’s definitely available and, like the pool, it’s right in our own back yards.

Currently in its eighth year, the Kyrene School District’s Summer Academy includes a four-week curriculum that’s bound to stimulate, challenge and entertain your little one, whether just starting out as a pre-kindergartner or returning as a veteran middle-schooler.

Sharon Andress, who directs the Academy program, says the June 7 to July 1 series is designed either to reinforce skills learned during the rest of the school year or to get students excited about next year’s curriculum.

Summer Academy classes attract incoming children from preschool to eighth grade, offering what Andress describes as a kaleidoscope of interactive academic and enrichment classes.

So, whether your child dreams of becoming a future diva, thespian, technology wizard, muse, scientist or jazz musician, there’s a plethora of classes available to challenge, engage and stimulate young minds. 

Andress says she is particularly excited about the district’s second year of the Summer Links Program, a specially designed class for Native American children entering grades K-5, held at Kyrene del Milenio school.

“This is a grant-funded, free program with small classes of about 15 children each,” she says. “We offer the class because a lot of the kids don’t always get a lot of cultural information in their homes,” Andress says.

The class links the students’ past knowledge with new concepts of Native cultures. Each day, says Andress, students study academics and explore culture and traditions of regional tribes. If children need reinforcement of skills, this is where to get it.

There are also terrific opportunities for children at the Academy to engage their tactile skills, as in the case of clay creations, a class that has been delighting children for eight years, Andress says.  Targeted for grades 2-3, the class teaches the basics of glazing and firing, in addition to building a variety of projects using various hand-building materials.

Who knows what your junior artist will bring home? Some possibilities include a colorful face mask, jewelry, pot or animal.

Do you yearn for a luxuriating morning in bed where your children bring you breakfast in bed (or even lunch?) 

Academy cooking class “classics” such as Junior Chefs (grades 2-3) or Breakfast Club (grades 6-8) might provide them with just the inspiration. In the latter, students cultivate skills to whip up such delicacies as scrambled eggs, omelets, Belgian waffles, French toast, pancakes and other delectable yummies.  

“A really fun class for the kids,” says Andress, “is Critter Care Club, where the kids research information on a pet they might be interested in. They find the answers to questions about how often you walk hermit crabs or keeping a pony inside the house.” (Raise your hand if you’ve heard that one before.)

Other tried-and-true courses, according to Andress, are computer technology classes and hip hop dance, where students learn basic dance steps and how to put movement to basic/intermediate hip hop steps, turns, jumps, as well as music.

Kyrene Corridor resident Stacey Cummings has been sending her son Scotty, a fifth grader, to the Academy for the past five years and thinks it’s great.

“I feel this is a wonderful program, as well as a learning opportunity,” she says.

“Let’s face it; with summer being so long, children tend to get bored and also rusty with their skills. The Summer Academy program helped to cure those problems for my son by keeping him busy and challenged.

While all the classes are enrichment based, Cummings says she likes the fact that some are more academic while others are just fun.

“Over the years my son has been exposed to Spanish, art and cooking, to name a few classes. He likes the program because the subjects are different, and I like it because I know he’s in a safe and enriching environment.”

Middle-school students also can take a vacation from summer boredom with the STAR program, an innovative four-week program for students who require a highly structured, teacher-directed environment.

Kids are not the only ones getting enriched through Summer Academy. Parents can take advantage of courses such as Intro to Quickbooks, Intro to Microsoft PowerPoint, Start and Operate your own Home-based Business, Digital Photography, Web Design, Career Development, Languages, Finance, Law and Writing Courses, to name a few.

Call (480) 783-4040 for more detailed information on Summer Academy visit www.kyrene/org/eservices.

Kyrene Corridor classes are offered at C.I. Waggoner and Kyrene del Pueblo middle schools. Classes held on the west side of town are at Kyrene de la Estrella and Centennial middle schools.

Tuition fees for one class are $60 and cover the cost of four weeks, Monday through Thursday. Some classes also require a $10 materials fee. Each class is an hour long, with the exception of some academic classes that cover two hours.

Participants do not have to live within the Kyrene district to apply. Typically, classes are designed and offered to multi-age groups of students in the following grade-level groups: K1, 2-3, 4-5, and 6-8.

A new feature of the Academy is “Athletic Clinics”, which run from noon to 2:30 p.m. Call for more info.