SIDNEY — In an effort to curb summer learning loss, the Sidney-Shelby County YMCA hosted its third annual Kindergarten Readiness Camp July 10 through 21.
The camp featured skills early learners should have solidified as they hopefully enter kindergarten ready to learn next month. Skills covered included reading readiness skills, letter and letter/sound recognition, counting, patterns, sorting and classifying, handwriting practice, and fine motor skills. Early learners also practiced important school conduct skills like taking turns, walking in line and sharing with others.
Educator Kelli Lopuch was this summer’s teacher and commented on the tremendous growth many of the participants experienced in the short window of time. Lopuch put together a workbook for each student and identified areas that needed additional attention. She then gave these workbooks to the parents so that they could work with their children at home during the rest of the summer.
Kindergarten readiness camp is part of the Y’s commitment to strengthening community.
“Without ongoing opportunities to learn and practice essential skills, kids fall behind on measures of academic achievement over the summer months, including early learners,” said Michele Dotson, Director of Child Development.
“This summer we have placed special emphasis on preventing the ‘summer slide’ in all summer camp programs. The summer slide statistic points to the up to two months of grade level skill loss learners experience in summer without exposure to learning opportunities,” noted Dotson.
School age children enrolled in summer camp have participated in weekly Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) experiences as well as weekly reading and writing activities.
And while these programs keep local children busy and engaged throughout the summer, kids can’t focus when they’re hungry. Children who rely on low-cost lunch plans during the school year are at risk of going hungry when school’s not in session. The Y’s Summer Food Program, sponsored in part by a grant from Walmart and the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP), along with donations from Freshway Foods (a division of U.S. Foods) helps fill that gap to make sure kids can enjoy healthy meals and snacks throughout the summer.
So far this summer, the Sidney YMCA has served 16,436 meals to 195 youth in the community.