Perfect Balance of Summer Learning and Summer Fun


At the end of any summer camp or summer program, participants leave with bittersweet feelings – from saying goodbye to new friends to a change in routine. At the end of July, students at E.K. Powe and Eno Valley will wrap up their summer program but leave with an eclectic summer memories.

Communities In Schools of Durham engaged 100 students at E.K. Powe and Eno Valley Elementary Schools through a 21st Century Community Learning Centers program. This summer, CIS students did a wealth of activities to keep them engaged and stimulated, including field trips, constructing, and reading. Students did a variety of activities to keep students engaged and learning about science, literacy, and culture.

Lead teacher of the summer program at E.K. Powe, Shaunte Briggs elatedly spoke about working with students from all the various grades and seeing students actively engage in the summer activities. One of the largest focuses of the summer program focused around STEM activities. Students did a variety of activities such as a BeatsLab, bubble-making lab, and inventing. “We had STEM lessons every week,” Shaunte says. “Last week the students did a force motions exercise with ramps. Students had boxes and given materials to make a ramp and different sized balls. [Students] then had to figure out which ones would go the fastest.”

This summer, students had the opportunity to venture outside the school. Students at E.K. Powe and Eno Valley took field trips to the North Carolina Zoo and Marbles Kid Museum.

“I liked the field trips,” says Laura, a student in the summer program. “ We went to zoo and got to see the animals.”

Although kids had the opportunity to explore at the zoo, leading up to the field trip students learned about different animals they would find at the zoo. Not only that, students at the zoo had to do a scavenger hunt for the names of animals with certain characteristics and record them in a journal. The activities focus on balancing summer engagement with learning, so that students leave each workshop with new information and learn something new.

Student interests in the summer program varied tremendously. Some students found activities at the school as their favorite part of the summer.

“I really liked the crafts and all the fun we got to do,” says Emily, an elementary student at E.K. Powe. “We got to make a basket out of Popsicle sticks, painting, and macula.”

As part of a week focusing on foreign cultures, students learned about board games around the world. For instance, students learned about Chinese checkers, and macula. Students had the opportunity to create their own macula boards out of recyclable material such as egg cartons. The week allowed students to learn about cultures different from their own.

Although summer is coming to an end, CIS of Durham gearing up to bring these fun activities to its 4 elementary school sites during the school year!

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