Summer break from school often causes academic regression for students who have spent all year learning reading, writing, and math. William R Davie Elementary School developed the Summer of Fun Learning Academy to fight that regression. By offering themed learning experiences while school is not in session, the camp is helping students become life-long learners.
Diane Ireland, one of the teachers involved in Summer of Fun Learning Academy, shared the story of three siblings who have been attending camp for many summers. The 2nd grade, 4th grade, and 5th grade students are sent to Summer of Fun Learning Academy by their mother who often expresses her appreciation for an engaging opportunity for her children to learn during the summer. The camp helps them work to meet grade level expectations, build comradery with their classmates, and experience structured, themed learning.
The 5th grader is in the self-contained class at William R Davie. Mom has seen the benefit of Summer of Fun Learning Academy and happily allowed her special needs student to attend without worry. Although they learn differently, this student was able to engage in a classroom environment and work alongside peers. Diane is proud that she and the other teachers involved have created Summer of Fun Learning Academy to be an inclusive experience.
Many Spanish speaking students are sent to Summer of Fun Learning Academy by parents who want their children to be exposed to the English language all summer long. Being around peers and teachers who speak English helps them to retain and improve their language skills when not in school.
Older students are involved in Summer of Fun Learning Academy too! High school and middle school students who attended the camp themselves, assist as volunteers. They pull students out for one-on-one work in reading and writing. The elementary students are attentive to the middle and high school students who were once in their shoes. One high school volunteer in particular helped at camp for the fourth year in a row this summer!
Each year, the theme for Summer of Fun Learning Academy changes. In the summer of 2019, it was “It’s A Splash!”. With this theme, students enjoyed reading, math, and writing activities where they learned about the ocean. They became investigators of the sea and utilized their critical thinking skills, collaboration, and creativity through a variety of hands-on activities.
“This is my second summer participating in the William R. Davie Summer of Fun Learning Academy as a teacher. I can say firsthand, it sure was a “splash!” Camp was highly successful in keeping students engaged in their learning so they did not regress in the skills they worked so hard to gain in the previous school year. I saw students across all grade levels maintaining their skills, and even advancing and mastering new skills, which ultimately supported their readiness for the upcoming school year in all academic areas. Summer of Fun Learning Academy is such a great way to make a difference beyond the other opportunities I have as an educator within the 180-day school year!”Alexis Callison, Kindergarten Teacher at William R. Davie Elementary School