The St. Clair Catholic Summer Learning Camp is contributing to student success by reducing summer learning loss, helping students build friendships and connections with students from other schools in the community and creating a range of tremendous experiences, both inside and outside the classroom.
"This three week camp makes a difference in our students' lives," says Brenda Corchis, Elementary Curriculum Coordinator for St. Clair Catholic. "We are not only supporting student learning; but we’re also supporting wellness, by connecting students and parents to a wide range of activities and community partners."
The camps began in 2014 with three classrooms and 60 students at Georges P. Vanier Catholic School in Chatham. This year there are 10 classrooms at four locations in Chatham, Blenheim, Wallaceburg and Sarnia, with an enrolment of about 270 students.
New this year is the addition of junior division camp called Young Minds Making Change, which focuses on local needs such physical health and wellbeing and emotional wellness – what they are and what students need to do to keep healthy. The students will be encouraged to join the wellness teams at their schools in September.
"The goal is to have these students take what they have learned back to their schools," says Mrs. Corchis. "This summer camp is helping them develop leadership skills and contribute to the overall wellness plan for their school as they enter Grade 7."
The primary division students focus on literacy and numeracy activities as part of each school day; and then participate in a range of other experiences, both inside and outside the classroom, including swimming, bowling, golf, visits to museums and public libraries, activities led by Indigenous partners and visual arts. There is also a STEAM Team (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math), which is led by secondary and post-secondary students from UCC and St. Patrick’s Catholic High School.
Math and literacy diagnostics are completed at the beginning and at the end of camp for each student. In 2017, the data showed that 85 percent of students showed some improvement in assessments over the three week camp
"We are seeing real and measureable progress," says Mrs. Corchis. "We are grateful for the partnership we have built with parents and community members over the past five years. The range of resources and experiences they provide for our students is invaluable."
St. Clair Catholic Summer Learning Camp runs for three weeks from July 9 to 27 from 9:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. at St. Anne Catholic School, Blenheim; Georges P. Vanier Catholic School, Chatham; St. Elizabeth Catholic School, Wallaceburg; and Holy Trinity Catholic School Sarnia. Healthy snacks are provided to the students through funding from the Ontario Student Nutrition Programs of Chatham-Kent and Sarnia-Lambton.
The camp is funded through a grant from the Ministry of Education with support from the Ontario Council of Directors of Education.
In the photos are students at Summer Learning Camp (top left) working with computers at St. Anne, Blenheim; (above right) strengthening reading skills at Georges P. Vanier, Chatham; (below left) eating healthy snacks prepared by the students at St. Elizabeth, Wallaceburg; and (below right) a 'Bricks for Kids' lego activity at Holy Trinity, Sarnia.