Students spend summer learning at St. John Neumann
With summer in full swing, St. John Neumann’s Summer Academy Education and Recreation Program is back. The seven-week Summer Academy features weekly themes and programs including visits to the James V. Brown Library, Brandon Park and Reptiland.
The program is from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and began June 18 and runs through Aug. 3, at the Elementary Campus, 710 Franklin St. The Summer Academy serves children in entering pre-kindergarten through sixth grade this fall. Aftercare is available for a daily additional fee, from 3 to 5 p.m.
The weekly cost for the program includes daily snacks and drinks. Parents are responsible for their children’s lunch.
Some of the upcoming weekly themes include History Mysteries, Prehistoric Adventures, focusing on dinosaurs, and Animals All Around the World, where students will learn “about the different animals in the area,” said Kasey Uppling, long-term substitute teacher at St. John Neumann.
Earlier this summer, the students were Mad Scientists for a week, taught by Uppling and Lorraine Mertes, classroom aid at SJNRA. Each weekly theme is taught by a different teacher that they came up with, Uppling said.
That week, they made giant bubbles, elephant toothpaste and a solar oven where they baked s’mores in a pizza box lined with tin foil. Uppling’s Mad Scientist theme focused on STEM education.
STEM education is “such a collaboration of areas of learning,” Uppling said. Students can work with science while learning the math that goes behind it. At the end of a project, the students can see their work come together and can use their critical thinking skills. They can see what they did, think about what they could have done differently.
Critical thinking is “a beginning skill for a lot of things they’ll do as they grow older, too,” Uppling said.
Uppling also will teach Prehistoric Adventures, a hands-on week. The students will be making molds of fossils, she said.
Students in the higher and lower grades are combined due to enrollment size but the teachers tailor
the activities based on the students’ ages, Uppling said. For the younger students, teachers find an easier activity and something more challenging for the older students.
“I especially love this program because so many summer programs just revolve around one theme and that’s it, but this one has so many different ones, so you can pick and choose what’s interesting to your child,” Uppling said.
In addition to the weekly themes, the program also focuses on skill reinforcement and remedial instruction.
“We try to make it fun because it’s camp, but we incorporate a calendar time for the younger ones and counting and … playing math games,” Uppling said. “We want to incorporate learning, too, because a lot of it is lost over the summer, so if we just keep that going and incorporate it into all the fun stuff, too.”
Teachers also work with students who may have had a difficult school year and continue working on topics they’ve already learned about, Uppling said.
Although the program has already started, parents can still enroll their children in the program for one to several weeks, said Kathy Bahr, development director at SJNRA. Students that do not attend St. John Neumann also can be enrolled.
“It’s still so important to keep the structure of school but incorporate the fun over summer,” Uppling said. “So while it’s fun and there’s time to play and explore and color and things like that, you know, they are still learning and gaining new information.”
For more information or to enroll, call 570-326-3738.