| Tips from educators on great
summer activities for children
The Catholic Voice asked educators around the diocese for tips about summer activities for children.
Here are some of the answers:
Kelly Stevens, principal,
St. Patrick School, Rodeo
"I find that parents here need it because they continue to work in the summer."
The school responds by offering four two-week summer school sessions — eight weeks in all. Students can attend one session, or all four.
"Some come for all eight weeks," Stevens said.
Parents, she said, "want kids to stay busy."
While older children may be able to attend programs around the area, parents of younger students look to "the place where they are all year."
"My parents ask for it," she said.
Summer school can be especially rewarding for the incoming kindergartners, she said, who have the opportunity to get to know their teacher and their new classroom before the school bell rings in August.
The summer school staff includes three of the classroom teachers at St. Patrick School, supplemented by teachers from other Catholic schools, she said.
Principal, St. Paul School, San Pablo
St. Paul is one of the urban Catholic schools that participate in the 21st Century program with the University of California at Berkeley — five weeks of free summer school are available to program participants.
The morning is devoted to academics; the afternoon to enrichment activities. "We've been blessed to have this grant," said Principal Natalie Lenz-Acuña.
Her words of advice for the summer?
"Keep the academics going," Lenz- Acuña said.
This can be done by buying a workbook for the child to do a few pages a day in, such as the Summer Bridge series, she said.
There are many activities for children, Lenz-Acuña said, to help them develop academically as well as explore their talents. "If you can afford it, it's really good."
Summer is a good time "to explore enrichment if they can," she said. A two-week stint at a zoo camp, or an arts camp, may help a student discover talents and interests that might have gone unexplored.
Counselor, St. Isidore School, Danville
The time is right to think about summer. If a student needs academic support, it's time to check about the availability of summer classes. "Every district has something for elementary and middle school students," said Michelle Devine, counselor at St. Isidore School in Danville.
If a student needs some tutoring over the summer, you might check with your school to see if any of the teachers are available for some summer sessions with your child.
City recreation department guides can provide a close-to-home look at sports programs, camps and other enrichment activities for students.
Programs at the Y and libraries might spark interest. Those interested in pursuing training or work as a junior lifeguard might be able to complete the requirements for the post.
But summer provides another opportunity, Devine said. Check out volunteer opportunities for students as young as fifth grade, she said. Parish groups that involve senior citizens, for example, might welcome young helpers to serve lunch or call Bingo.
"It's great for students to give back," she said.
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