Summer Learning Program a big success

Summer Learning Program a big success
Posted on 09/28/2021
This is the image for the news article titled Summer Learning Program a big successA student shows off his tin foil boat which was tested to see how many coins it could float with

The Kenora Catholic Summer Learning Program is being hailed as a big success despite the limitations of being completely virtual.

“We planned based on the fact that the students had already been through a few months of the schools being closed. So we organized activities that would engage the students and we integrated faith into daily activities and made sure there were opportunities for movement away from their computer screens,” said Jared Ralko, the Summer Learning Program Acting Administrator.

Ralko said they had always planned to run the program virtually so when the government mandated it to be virtual a few weeks prior to the start there was no pivoting needed. During his presentation to the board, he said parents were very happy with how engaged their children were.

“We had a lot of feedback that they weren’t sure what to expect because it would be virtual learning, but that students were awake and ready to hop on to their summer learning Google classroom each day,” he said.

“One family sent a message to all the teachers that said, ‘We know it’s not easy, it was a great job. We hope it’s on person next year and we will join you again.’ All together [it was] a huge success.”

A student holds up a measuring stick to his radish plantThere were three different levels offered for three weeks throughout the month of July, Kindergarten to Grade 3, Grade 4-6 and Grade 7 and 8. Kindergarten to Grade 3 had 16 students and focused primarily on literacy, Grade 4-6 had 15 students and also focused on literacy, while Grade 7 and 8 had 13 students and focused on math and preparing students for the now de-streamed Grade 9 math course. 

Ralko said a big part of the program was planning activities that would engage students.

“We were able to provide students with a lot of building materials. We had birdhouse building kits, craft kits and a bunch of different building challenges that went home in packages to students each week. There were connections to science, outdoor learning, baking activities and a lot of creative art activities.”

One example of an activity that involved both gardening, science and math was the growing of radishes. Students planted radish seeds and then kept a journal of their growth using measurements to keep track. Another big hit with the students was the Science North programming.

“On Wednesday mornings we had live animal encounters where scientists would come to our virtual classes and share with our student information about turtles, tarantulas, geckos, snakes, and a variety of rodents that are found in our region and the province,” he said.

“We had blue coat coding lessons, so coding with one of the Science North scientists. The coding focused on financial literacy. They also got to participate in ‘Ask a Scientist’ Sessions. They used their time throughout the week to brainstorm some of the things they wonder about and then presented their questions and had discussions with scientists about what they were interested in.”

Parents were also pleased that this summer’s program was able to offer instruction in both English and French. Overall, Ralko was very happy with how the program went and thanked all of the teachers who led the classes and staff who supported registration.
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