End of Summer Wrap-up

School Age Children’s Program Summer Wrap-up!

For most adults, the end of the school year can be considered a dreaded event.

Despite our initial excitement about summer break, the multiple trips to the beach, the long hot days, and the complaints about boredom can leave many parents yearning for the start of the school year.

For School-Age staff, however, it signals the beginning of our busiest and most exciting time of the year-our summer program! We quickly transition from having only three short hours after school to learn, socialize, and grow, to eleven hours a day of nonstop fun and excitement!

What our goal is for the summer:

Our main goal for the summer is to provide a safe and exciting atmosphere in which children can form meaningful relationships and create memories to last a lifetime.

The School Age Summer Program provides children with the opportunity to learn and challenge themselves, work cooperatively with others, and to appreciate and celebrate cultural differences.

Each week of our programming revolves around a specific theme. During Mad Science week, we became chemists studying the periodic table and learning all about different chemical reactions.

We busted a move during Dance, Dance, Dance week, and used our teamwork and spy skills to make it through Mission Impossible. During Multicultural week we explored the cultures of our families, celebrated the amazing diversity of our center, and shared a massive feast of our favorite cultural dishes.

Whether we are learning to dance, conducting science experiments, competing in athletic challenges, or celebrating our heritage, our goal is to provide youth with a variety of meaningful experiences.

We want our children to say, “WOW. That was so much fun!” or “I didn’t know I could do that.” Our staff put their heart and souls into developing activities and themes which spark their children’s interest and give them the opportunity to both learn and grow.

If I’ve learned anything in my experience of working with children, it’s that a room full of bored and unchallenged kids is never a happy place. In School-Age, we strive to create a delicate balance of fun sprinkled with *gasp* learning! (Shh- don’t tell the children!)

We enjoy our time splish-splashing around in the sprinkler. We have a blast competing in our all-time favorite game of square ball, but there is so much more happening each day in our program.

Weekly nutrition classes were held where we learn all about making healthy choices courtesy of our friend Miss Mallory from Eat Smart NY.

We spend time each day reading and completing brain-boosting worksheets. We consistently participate in activities that involve improving our social skills, building self-esteem, teaching teamwork skills, and keeping our minds sharp and ready for September.

Field Trip Week!

If you were to ask most children enrolled in our program, they would say that Field Trip week is their favorite week of the year!

It serves as an excellent opportunity for our youth to leave the confines of the center and explore the outside world. It is the epitome of fun and something the children always look forward to. This year we took trips to the Rosamond Gifford Zoo, Water Safari, VIA Aquarium, Wonderworks, and PiNZ

Each year the endless laughter and joyful smiles on our children’s faces serve as a reminder to us all that we have a pretty amazing job.

As we made our way out of Water Safari this year, one of our older children and I chatted about the day. “This was a lot of fun,” she said. “I wish we didn’t have to leave so soon, but it’s cool we get to go on trips like this.

Some kids don’t get the opportunity to come here ever. It was quite a profound statement coming from such a young child, and quite honestly, I was not expecting her to say that.

It was a full-circle moment for me that put it all into perspective. Our program is all about providing youth with experiences and opportunities that they may not otherwise get the chance to participate in.

Summer is the most cherished time, especially in our youth. It’s all about having fun, creating experiences, building relationships, and making memories. I hope that when our Neighborhood Center children look back, they remember their time here fondly.

Goodbye summer. We’ll see you again next year!

 

By Ariana Deloach, Children’s Center Director & School Aged Child Care Program Director

Posted by Lauren Lottermoser