Program at Children’s Fresh Air Farm combatting ‘summer slide’

Local News

HOOVER, Ala. (WIAT) — Students at the Children’s Fresh Air Farm make gains of several months in reading and math in only six weeks.

The Fresh Air Farm provides a six-week learning program for rising third graders through rising sixth graders. Kids from the north Avondale community spend their Summer days in the program to brush up on their academics and prevent “summer slide.”

What is “summer slide?”

The summer slide is a decline in reading ability and other academic skills that can occur over the summer months when school isn’t in session.

“There’s a lot of research that shows that students who aren’t engaged in academics in the summer experience what’s called the summer slide,” Katherine Goudreau, director of the Children’s Fresh Air Farm, said. “Students can lose up to two to three months of academic work over the course of the Summer.”

During the first three hours of the camp, students spend their time reading and learning math skills. Then in the afternoon, students get to have a traditional camp experience including swimming lessons, drama, music, art, physical education, time to be in the garden and learn about healthy eating and nutrition.

This is the tenth year of the Children’s Fresh Air Farm Summer program. A collected group of teachers and volunteers lead the classes throughout the campus.

“That’s our big focus,” Maggie Michelson, a teacher at the Summer program said. “It’s really targeting what each student needs.”

This is Michelson’s sixth year at the camp. As much as the students get out of the program, she says as teachers, they take something away from the experience too.

“Just getting to see them enjoying camp and learning, and having fun, and getting to be a kid, that’s why I love doing this,” Michelson said.

The camp gives kids the opportunity to learn, have fun and gain the confidence they need to succeed in the upcoming school year. For more information about the Children’s Fresh Air Farm, click here.

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