Central Okanagan school summer literacy camps valued by parents

School district hopes to expand enrolment next summer

Central Okanagan Public Schools hopes to expand enrolment in literacy camp program next summer. (File photo)

More than 300 children spent part of this past summer vacation going back to school.

Specifically, they participated in one of 17 literacy summer camps held in seven regional hubs across the Central Okanagan School District with one to four classes per site for students, ranging from those who had just completed kindergarten up to those who had just completed Grade 4.

The school district initiative was a response to the COVID-19 interruption in school classes impacting some early learners in the area of literacy development.

In order to address the learning shortfall, the summer pilot program was created and the positive response and results have Central Okanagan deputy superintendent of schools Terry-Lee Beaudry recommending the board of education approve seven literacy campsites in 2022 with an expanded enrolment of up to 400 students.

It cost $225,822 to put on, with the Ministry of Education funding accounting for $108,811 and a further $117,011 from COVID-19 holdback funding.

The camps were held from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. from July 12 to 23, with the teachers checking in with summer camp participants at two different points in August to follow up on continuity and coherence in their literary learning.

“It is very difficult to quantify much of the results that were felt by children, support staff and teachers,” said Beaudry in her report to the education and student services committee last week.

“Overwhelmingly, the results were a sense of belonging and community, joy and an increased identity as a reader and writer.

“Our belief is that these are the ingredients needed to develop sustainable long-lasting results for children if they are to become confident readers, writers, thinkers, communicators and collaborators in a democratic society.”

The regional hubs were set for Peachland Elementary, Chief Tomat Elementary, A.S. Matheson Elementary, Raymer Elementary, Springvalley Elementary, Pearson Road Elementary and Peter Greer Elementary.

Neighbouring school program partners included Glenrosa Elementary, Hudson Road Elementary, Bankhead Elementary, Casorso Elementary, South Rutland Elementary, Belgo Elementary, Rutland Elementary and both Oyama Traditional and Davidson Road schools in Lake Country.

School district staff did invite survey responses from parents and students to offer feedback on the literacy program.

Some of the parent responses included:

•”We’re so grateful for this chance. After trying our best to teach them at home during the lock down, it has been really tough to know what they need and how to help them.”

•”Firstly, thank you very much for hosting the summer camp. I really appreciate that it was free as I don’t have a lot of extra money for summer camps. I appreciate my daughter getting professional teachers help with extra reading and writing activities.”

•”…the girls are loving it and it is just such a gift to our family. So much generosity and I have a ton of gratitude and am so proud of our school for showing such care…”

READ MORE: Summer literacy learning help for Central Okanagan students

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