A Summer Learning Program offered to students in Kindergarten to Grade 5 has given students a boost of academic confidence before they enter the new school year.
The program, which was made possible through the Council of Ontario Directors of Education, ran from July 3 to July 23 and was offered to 150 students selected from St. Marguerite d’Youville, St. Martin of Tours and St. Michael Catholic Elementary Schools.
“The main goal of the Summer Literacy Program is to reduce learning loss over summer by providing a literacy and numeracy boost,” said Superintendent of Education Toni Kovach.
“Active minds during summer sustain achievement made during the school year and promote further learning,” added Principal Adrian De Tullio.
To keep engagement levels high, the program involved students in various activities, including: Guided Reading, Guided Math, board games and arts and crafts.
A partnership with McMaster University allowed students to be engaged in STEAM activities (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) especially through robotics and coding, said De Tullio.
“Engagement in daily activities is key for student learning to be sustained or even boosted over summer.”
“The saying, ‘If you don’t use it, you will lose it,’ applies perfectly to learning over summer. Student engagement was maximized since learning was fun and matched to their current level.”
This year, with the guidance of Indigenous Lead Melissa Button and Rising Stars, a focus on promoting awareness and understanding of Indigenous culture was also integrated into the program.
“At St. Marguerite d’Youville, students celebrated the Indigenous theme by creating a special display which summarized the student learning of the Seven Grandfathers book series,” said De Tullio. These include: love, respect, honesty, bravery, humility, truth, and wisdom.
“Students at all sites created artistic responses to the Indigenous theme that made links to Catholic Virtues.”
With Rising Stars, students were introduced to “Life Skills through Indigenous Games,” giving them an opportunity to connect with a crucial part of Canadian history in the form of play or sport.
“Lacrosse skill development were certainly favourites of the students and the activities promoted awareness and celebration of Indigenous culture,” said De Tullio, who noted that learning a new sport improves physical literacy skills as well.
A final goal of the program aimed to engage parents in their child’s learning.
At St. Michael, students welcomed parent Patricia Harrison who helped enrich the Indigenous component of the program by sharing some of her Ojibwa traditions.
“Many thanks to the educators, family, and community partners who create exciting learning opportunities,” said Kovach.
As a take-away, parents were provided with supports and strategies to help their child continue learning for the rest of the summer and ensure a seamless start in September.