With school out, many kids believe they don't have to pick up a book or do any math while they are on summer break.
But with the Telford YMCA's summer program, the Power Scholar Academy, kids are getting to enjoy their summer while still learning.
The Power Scholars Academy, which has been ongoing for three years in Madison County, is a free five-week program that is filled with learning and summer fun. Through a partnership with Building Educated Leaders for Life (BELL) and with the help of a $15,000 grant through YUSA, the program provides a curriculum to help kids prevent reading and math loss, according to program manager for the summer camp Calvetta Winstead.
"BELL has put together this curriculum to help kids prevent summer learning loss. So we do an hour and a half of math and an hour and a half of reading in the morning," Winstead said. "In the afternoon, they do three rotations -- a physical activity, a STEM activity and a craft."
The students are tested at the beginning of the Power Scholar Academy and at the end to see if they made progress, stayed on track or fell behind. Winstead said over the past two years, the students in Madison County have either stayed on level or moved up, a clear indication that what the teachers are doing is working. The test results are also shared with the student's school, so that the educators there can work more with that child.
YMCA child care director Chelsea Whitson said the program is taught by certified teachers from Madison County who try to make the learning as fun as possible. She said they try to do less book work and more hands-on activities to make it seem less like learning.
"They love it. We try to make it more like a game and less like work," Whitson said. "We are reminded that it is their summer and we don't want to take that away from them."
The curriculum materials are provided as part of the grant, as well, she noted. The schools also ensure that each student gets a breakfast, lunch and snack.
The program runs Monday through Thursday, and on Fridays, students go on educational field trips pertaining to the theme of the week, which is covered by the grant. They go to places like Morehead Planetarium or the Kentucky Reptile Zoo.
"They get to go to a lot of cool places that they might not otherwise get to," Whitson said.
While enrollment for the Power Scholars Academy is over, kids can still join the YMCA's summer camp. To learn more, visit ymcatelford.org.
Reach Kaitlyn Brooks at 624-6608; follow her on Twitter @kaitlynsbrooks.