WASHBURN, Maine — Washburn Elementary School’s 21st Century After-School Program and the Washburn Recreation Department are offering virtual learning activities in place of their usual in-person programming.
From July 6 to Aug. 13, SAD 45 and homeschooled students in kindergarten to grade eight will be able to take part in arts and crafts, science experiments, cooking and wellness activities, with materials provided by 21st Century and the recreation department.
The collaborators knew that they would offer a virtual program after SAD 45 decided to keep Washburn schools closed to the public this summer due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Thus far 29 children have signed up for the activities, noted Halina Herzog, coordinator of 21st Century.
Children will receive supply packages for each week’s activities in the mail. They will have many options to show that they’ve completed the packets, such as sending a photo, video or a copy of their work. The program will have its own YouTube channel that families can follow.
Though virtual meetings will be held daily so that program coordinators and families can keep in touch, families will have flexibility in how often they attend and in what activities they complete each day.
“Many of the activities are ones that kids can do outside. We don’t want them to be on the computer all day,” Herzog said. “They’re all projects people can do as a family.”
The six-week program will be divided into two-week modules with the themes of Dinosaurs, Plant and Animal Secrets and Under the Sea. Students who submit proof of completing their activities will become eligible for prizes throughout the summer.
Even with the change to a virtual format, Herzog hopes that the program offers children a chance to continue learning this summer while also having fun.
“We always want students to keep up their reading, counting and thinking skills,” Herzog said. “They’re not necessarily going to be learning new skills this summer but they’ll be learning, often without realizing that they are.”