School-age kids in Hollywood are spending the summer having fun while keeping their academic skills sharp at the same time. They are part of the Maximizing Out of School Time program. About 400 children attend one of four camp sites in Hollywood on weekdays during the summer months, including the Kay Gaither Community Center. A favorite activity for the campers is working on an art project.
“This year is a pilot program, in which the children do project-based learning instead of focusing on learning from books,” said Joaquin Arellano, parks manager for Recreation and Aquatics in Hollywood. “For example, they will work with plants to learn about math and science.”
The young people spend time working on math, science and reading so they don’t fall behind during the summer months. They also spend time playing games that require some exercise for physical fitness. And they participate in a behavior program so they can learn how to make good choices when faced with personal difficulties and temptations. The goal is to help the children develop positive life skills.
The campers receive breakfast, lunch and a snack, and take field trips to museums and other points of interest. Maximizing Out of School Time is funded by a grant, allowing children from low-income families to pay for the program on a sliding scale.
Shannon McClain, a recreation leader at the Kay Gaither Community Center, loves to help children. “It’s important for me to be able the help these children. We want to provide a safe and fun environment for them,” said McClain.
Arellano said he sees that the children are learning more effectively through the project-based approach. “They are more engaged and enjoy learning by actually working on projects” he said.