Summer camp helps students improve English

Published 3:49 pm Wednesday, May 10, 2017

By JOYANNA LOVE/ Senior Staff Writer

For some students in Chilton County, English is their second language and, as with any school subject, some of what they have learned during the school year may be forgotten over the summer.

The English Language Learner Summer Camp directed by Sherri Calhoun and Kay Hilyer serves as a resource to students and parents to reinforce the language skills that were learned.

The camp is open to students who are a part of ESL classes during the school year. Students received an invitation to the camp and were required to register by May 11 in order to participate in the free language camp. Forms are to be returned to the school counselor at the child’s school.

“When they attend our camps, it does help them to retain their skills that they have learned during the year. They are given books and supplies that they can take home, where they can continue working at home for the rest of the summer,” Calhoun said. “It is nice to see them have a little bit of fun with their learning and what they retain and remember the next year.”

Each year the camp is tailored to meet the needs of the children and parents involved.

“We look at our levels per grade level … We make our curriculum on those numbers,” Hilyer said.

Books are selected and then activities are developed around the book’s theme. Teachers also incorporate math activities into the classes. Hilyer said this could include graphs, shapes and telling time.

The camps have been offered annually for at least eight years. This year the classes will be offered from June 5 to June 15 each Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. until noon.

The classes for elementary school students will be offered at Jemison and Clanton elementary schools. The classes for preschool age children will be held at LeCroy Career Technical Center.

“They focus on language acquisition … they go to different centers. They will work on their math skills. They will work on their reading skills, just overall social language,” Calhoun said.

Hilyer will be teaching the adult portion of the class.

“We focus on conversational English and with helping the parents learn how to help their own children with homework,” Hilyer said.

The parent classes are offered while the children are in a separate class.

Calhoun said each camp has three teachers.

Hilyer said the Mommy and Me program not only helps parents and young children with learning English, but also gives the children a feel for what school will be like.

The camps average 30 participants per site.