For the last ten years, ACLAMO Family Centers has offered a Summer Bridge Program which is open to preschool through middle school children in the Norristown community.
The summer 2010 program enrolled 50 children, including 15 pre-kindergarten students who completed our early childhood education program, and 35 who were entering 2nd through 8th grades. Students could practice the academic skills they learned during the school year, and participate in enrichment activities to help support their efforts to reach grade-level performance. Local college and high school student volunteers helped with the activities, but also were role models to children who would otherwise never consider higher education in their futures. All these factors contribute toward an excellent record of attendance. Students in the Summer Bridge Program maintain, enrich and support their academic skills, while participating in fun activities, so they are better prepared to meet the challenges of the new school year.
Each year ACLAMO’s Summer Bridge works within a theme. This year’s theme is Around the World. Each of the continents was studied including its geography, what originated there as well as the languages, songs music, dance, and cultures found. The students discussed not only the differences, but also the similarities, between themselves and the children of the world.
Discussions about the various continents exposed the many misconceptions held by our students. At the beginning of each continent’s study, the students were asked what they already knew and what they would like to learn about a particular place. They learned many facts about each of the continents, as well as what other children in the world do for fun, what they eat and how they live. The students’ fascination and eagerness to learn is inspiring and gratifying.
We believe that our Summer Bridge Program not only helps low-income, at-risk children academically, but it provides a safe, fun, personally enriching environment. Negative influences often found during unstructured vacation time can be redirected to help guide children to stay on the path of excellence and success.