They’re up and moving out of their seats, as students learn through creativity and movement. From learning by counting with feet to dancing a Zumba routine, the students in the Riverbend Summer Academic Camp were interacting with teachers and friends and soaking up information
By counting floor tiles with their feet in one classroom, students were learning math and calculating dimensions. Parents and important visitors were treated to a Zumba routine in the cafeteria. Still other students joined with their teacher in a circle on the floor with personal dry erase boards as they sounded out words and wrote down the letters.
It’s all part of a program conceived by the Rosemary and Randy Ewing Foundation to address the academic needs of at-risk children. The program is sponsored by the city of West Monroe, the Ewing Foundation, Entergy, Leon Miletello, Sidney Wilhite and the United Way.
The Riverbend Summer Learing Camp is staffed by certified teachers from within the Ouachita Parish School System and trained volunteers with AmeriCorps.
“This has been an eye-opener for me,” volunteer and Louisiana Tech University education major Caroline Hughes said. “These kids are all a lot stronger than me. If I wasn’t sure that I wanted to be a teacher before, this convinced me even more.”
About 130 students from Riverbend, Swayze, Crosley and Shady Grove elementaries participated in the program, which introduced and reinforced math and reading skills in creative ways.
A’Miracle White, a second-grader in the program, said she’s had a great summer at Riverbend. “I learned about spelling, and reading and science,” she said.
This is the third year of the program. It initially started with only students from Riverbend Elementary but has since expanded to include the two other schools.In addition to academics, students also were given access to the West Monroe Community Center for physical activity in the afternoon.