GLASGOW — After working on their math, literacy and writing skills in a classroom, students spent some time on the playground during a summer program Thursday at Glasgow Preschool Academy.
As Kimberly Zacarias, a preschool student, and Victoria Capps, a GPA instructional assistant, swung back and forth on swings, they counted numbers, recited the alphabet and sang educational songs together, using hand gestures that accompanied the tunes.
“I love that I get to spend extra time with the children,” Capps said, adding that this eight-week summer program is a great opportunity for the students to improve various skills. “Even during the summer, it’s very important to have academic work.”
Yvonne Wilkinson, preschool supervisor at GPA, said this program allows for students to have a lot more one-on-one time with instructors.
“In this setting, we can offer them more individual instruction,” she said, and that if instructors identify any areas of weakness, they have an easier time addressing them.
“They’re thriving,” Wilkinson said of the students. “They’re happy to come to school. They’re excited, and that probably is my favorite thing, that they’re excited to come here.”
The preschool supervisor said while some of the students attending the summer program will be enrolled at GPA in the fall, a majority of them will be heading into kindergarten.
“This summer camp is giving our children a chance and the opportunity to start kindergarten ‘ready,’” Wilkinson said. “Research will tell you that those who start behind have a difficult time catching up, much less getting ahead, which is what we want for all of our students and for our community.”
Deb Roberts, a GPA instructional assistant, said she likes how this summer program gives students an extra push to help them be successful in kindergarten.
“It gives them that extra boost to help them where they don’t start out behind,” she added.
Jennifer Fudge, a GPA teacher, said this program definitely helps prevent a summer slide.
“Sometimes, over the summer, the kids have difficulty retaining all the things they’ve learned,” she said. “So, it just kind of gives them a little extra review and keeps that information fresh.
“The children are able to get more individualized attention because we don’t have an extremely large group like we do in the school year.”
Wilkinson said “80% of our time is focused on instruction” during this summer program.
“They are fed breakfast and lunch, which is great, but the intention of this camp is to ensure these children are kindergarten-ready or ahead so they aren’t playing catch-up,” she said, adding that they want to thank members of the Glasgow Independent Schools Board of Education and GIS Superintendent Keith Hale for making this summer program possible. “They truly have the children, and quite frankly, our community’s best interest at heart by doing things like this.
“I certainly think the community, these children and our school system are going to reap the benefits down the road.”