The Link of Cullman County’s Summer Enrichment Program kicked off last week, and offers five weeks of fun and educational activities to help children retain their knowledge from the last school year and prepare for the next year.
The free program takes place each summer for students who have completed kindergarten up to fifth grade, and allows each child to get a hot meal and an enriching activity from one of the area’s community organizations, such as the North Alabama Agriplex or the Cullman County Cooperative Extension Office, said Literacy Coordinator Reginnia Roat.
“We try to make it something that’s both fun and educational,” she said.
Students also have the chance to receive one-on-one tutoring from volunteers who are part of The Link’s Volunteers in Public Schools program, Roat said.
“Their parents say which areas they need the most help in, and we match them with a tutor who spends some time working with them one-on-one,” she said.
The kids then have a Bible club with a volunteer and get a snack before they go home for the day, she said.
Roat said The Link works every year to get opinions from the children who are going through the summer enrichment program to make sure it’s enjoyable, and while there are always some who are not too excited about sitting still for the tutoring sessions, they have had good reactions so far.
“Most of them are saying that they enjoy everything,” she said.
The program runs every Tuesday and Thursday from noon until 3 p.m., and while this year’s summer enrichment program has already started, there may still be room for a few more children to join in, Roat said.
She said anyone interested in signing their child up for the program can call The Link at 256-775-0028 to see if there are any open slots.
There are also more programs in the works at The Link this summer, including its annual Kindergarten Readiness Camps that will be taking place in five locations around the county from July 19-30.
The readiness camp is for students preparing to enter kindergarten, and the curriculum was built with the input of local kindergarten teachers who have shared some of the things that students may not always be prepared for when they first enter school, Roat said.
Some of the topics covered for the students include making sure they are familiar with their letters and numbers, showing the proper way to hold a pencil or scissors or learning how to write their names.
The locations for this summer’s camps are First Baptist Church of Cullman, First Baptist Church of Fairview, Good Hope Baptist Church, Longview Church of God and Hanceville Elementary School. For more information about the camps or to register an incoming kindergartner, call Roat at 256-775-0028 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Roat said the kindergarten readiness camp is always popular among families in the area, and three of those locations are already using a waiting list because of the interest in this year’s camp.
With COVID-19 causing some students to miss out on preschool or having a much shorter year than usual, parents are looking to make sure their children are ready to enter kindergarten in the fall, she said.
“Parents are really seeing that they’re a little bit more behind than they have been in the past,” she said.