Summer school for elementary students is coming to the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows School District for the first time this July, and trustees expect it will grow into a popular program.
There will be no charge for the summer classes, which will run for three weeks, July 7-23, from 9 a.m. to noon.
The extra schooling will not be necessarily remedial in nature, and all interested students will be eligible to attend. It is simply aimed at being “a positive learning enrichment experience,” explained superintendent Sylvia Russell in her report to the school board on Wednesday.
Classes are designed to give students more time in a subject area, or offer them a preview of a subject area. A Grade 6 math class might include students who have already completed Grade 6 but would benefit from review, alongside Grade 5 students wanting to preview their upcoming year’s work.
There will be classrooms for math, reading and writing and fine arts. Students will also visit computer labs and be outdoors for science and physical education. There will also be a break outdoors each day.
Kim Bondi, the Riverside Centre principal who will oversee the new program, told trustees the summer school will have less emphasis on textbooks and work sheets, and more on principles such as buddy learning, hands-on exploration and teaching through games.
“Like summer camp,” suggested Trustee Dave Rempel.
“A learning camp,” Bondi responded.
The board is looking at four sites in regions of the community – east (Yennadon elementary); west (to be announced); central (Alouette); and a French Immersion site (Laity View). There will be a limit of 75 students per location, in three classes.
Trustee Eleanor Palis said the limited intake, just 300 students, could be a problem, expecting it will be a popular program with parents.
“I think this is going to be big.”
Russell said district staff considered waiting until next summer, to have the details better planned, but instead chose a small start.
“It’s going to be a bit of a pilot year,” she said.
As many as 5,000 kids sign up for summer elementary school in the Coquitlam school district each year.
“So this is a very modest start, but I believe it will have the same attraction here,” Russell said.
Bondi added that the program will be “scaleable,” to increase in size. The goal this summer is to create a positive experience for kids, and word-of-mouth advertising where parents at soccer fields and arenas tell their friends it was good for their child.
“We want to start small, create a bit of a buzz, and leave them wanting more,” he said.
Palis asked whether students will be recommended for the program by teachers, and Russell answered that registration will be taken on a first-come, first-served basis.
There is limited funding available from the education ministry for elementary summer school – just $206 per student, for a minimum of 40 hours of instruction
“There’s a way to make this break even, and it’s a great service to the community,” said Bondi.
The board approved elementary summer school, subject to sufficient enrolment.
• Registration will begin soon, and details will be available on the district website at www.sd42.ca.