Back for a third year to prevent summer learning loss for the children of Eeyou Istchee, the Frontier College and Cree School Board Summer Literacy Camps have even stronger results to present after a summer of reading, writing and fun-based learning for kids in nine of the Cree communities.
According to Melanie Valcin, the Quebec Manager for Frontier College, attendance jumped by 25 students to a total of 425 this summer. But what really stood out are the 184 parents who visited the camps at least once over the summer.
Parental involvement, Valcin noted, has a significant impact on a child’s learning success.
“This shows that parents are really supportive of this summer learning program for their children. They wanted to witness the activities going on in that camp and also take part in it,” said Valcin.
“From year one to year three we now see a real increase in the interest of parents; they now really want to know what we are trying to do and want to get involved in it.”
According to a survey of parents, 93% said that their child had improved literacy skills as a result of the camp, 85% said that their child reads more and 98% said that their child was more prepared for school. On top of that, 97% of parents said their children were able to maintain their skills over the summer.
Going into a third year of the program also came with its own advantages as many camp counsellors were coming with the experience of previous years.
“The way we have our camp counsellors intervening with the children has improved with every year because we have been able to train and support them a lot better,” said Valcin. “We have been learning every year and we pass this knowledge on to the new counsellors who we hire every year.”
With 18 Crees out of the 40 counsellors hired this year, Valcin said that more Cree was spoken within the camps as an alternative to English or French.
“The parents are very pleased with this program and this has been consistent every year. They like that their children have access to a day camp where they are having fun in an environment that is safe and nurturing and on top of that they are learning and practicing their reading and writing,” said Valcin.