PEA RIDGE — Enjoying summertime with the kids is part of the purpose for Space Camp, said Anne Martfeld, assistant school superintendent.
“Space Camp is a fun way for us to tie in some of those missing learning pieces,” she said, explaining that it offers an opportunity to address learning losses and skills from the past couple of years with covid restrictions. She said the school district is using federal Emergency Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund funds for the program.
“The first year was last year,” she said.
Space Camp was for kindergarten through sixth-grade students.
“It is a good midsummer experience so there’s not so much time between learning,” she said.
The camp is averaging 170 students attending. Last year, the program was held for five days for two weeks; this year there are four days for two weeks.
Teachers and instructional assistants were invited to participate and are being paid at the same rate as for tutoring.
“The relationships, the connections with the kiddos and the excitement they have seen … are always rewarding,” Martfeld said. “They can make personal connections.”
Space Camp has five stations through which the students rotate. The stations are literacy, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math), galaxy games, chill station and Milky Way cafe. There are tabletop games, snacks.
“They are getting some good academics, but they don’t realize that,” she said.
“We’re able to tie it in on either end of our summer feeding program, feeding them breakfast and lunch. We’re just so thankful of the teachers and instructional assistants and staff giving of their time to make it successful.
“We want to thank the cafeteria ladies who are working the summer program. They’ve just been amazing to have this increase,” Martfeld said. “We’re really grateful.”