Local YMCA selected for pilot summer learning program

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This summer, the YMCA of Beaufort County will offer a learning loss prevention program for children entering first and second grade who are most at risk of falling behind in their reading skills over the summer. The program is one of three pilot programs being tested by YMCA of the USA, the resource office for the nation’s Ys, as part of the nonprofit’s efforts to address gaps in academic achievement among the nation’s most disadvantaged youth. The Y will work with Whale Branch Elementary School to identify students who would benefit from the summer learning loss prevention pilot program.

The Y’s summer learning loss prevention pilot program will provide literacy instruction by certified teachers, as well as enrichment through art, music and physical activity. Studies show that without access to summer learning activities such as camp, travel, and visits to libraries and museums, children from low-income environments can experience more significant learning loss than their more economically stable peers. Over time, these children continue to lose ground and by the fifth grade, many are two to three school years behind their middle and high-income peers. The goal of the Y’s pilot program is to help children read at grade level by the third grade – a key educational milestone that is important to children’s ongoing knowledge retention and academic performance.

“At the YMCA of Beaufort County, we know that the combination of extended learning and enrichment activities is essential to increasing children’s success in school, and we are dedicated to helping more kids achieve their potential,” said Kaylin Garst, operations director, YMCA of Beaufort County. “This program will help ensure children at Whale Branch Elementary School have the opportunity to stay on track over the summer and read at or above grade level when the new school year begins.”

The summer learning loss prevention pilot program is modeled after a literacy program from the YMCA of Greater Charlotte that is designed for children in first through second grade who are currently reading below grade level. Results from the Charlotte YMCA model and the Y’s early pilot testing show average reading gains of two months by participants in the program.

As a leading non-profit focused on youth development, the Y nurtures the potential of every child and teen. The YMCA of Beaufort County is one of 43 Ys across the country offering the summer learning loss prevention pilot program this year, which complements the Y’s other educational programming, including our traditional camp programs that are located on site at the Wardle Family YMCA (1801 Richmond Ave.) serving over 200 children ages 3-15 years old. For more information, contact the YMCA at 843-522-9622 or visit www.ymcabeaufortcounty.com.