Georgian Court Summer Camp Helps Kindergarteners Improve Literacy

Georgian Court University’s School of Education has teamed with the Lakewood School District to provide a literacy based summer camp in a fun summer environment for rising first graders as part of the Lakewood Together program. The partnership, which covers a range of focused, smaller efforts as well, is entering its third year.

In 2013, more than 40 kindergartners with non-English speaking backgrounds attended camp at GCU in order to improve their literacy skills through small group-based learning. Due to the success of the program, it was doubled this summer to nearly 80 students from Lakewood’s Spruce Street School. The program is designed for general education students who need additional services.

Dr. Timothy Briles, an assistant professor in the GCU School of Education, is the project manager for Lakewood Together’s Parent’s Academy.

“The whole idea is to have us share our resources and come together in a mutually beneficial true partnership,” Briles said. “We want to be good neighbors.” Dr. Briles also added that Jill Kreutzer, a teacher at Bradley Beach Elementary, has also been instrumental in the program. As the camp director, Ms. Kreutzer has put together the entire curriculum. The five-week ESL camp is designed to provide instructional time, plus two meals and a brief recess.

However, Dr. Briles explained it is an enjoyable literacy program that features fun teaching games and incorporates technology. Students are broken up into small groups and matched with a teacher, paraprofessional and student from Lakewood High School.

“For me, it’s like coming home again,” said Cathy Taft ’87, one of the teachers at the camp. “The children love what they’re learning, and from an educator’s perspective, it’s great to see them immersed in English and enriching experiences.”

“Working with the children isn’t just about sitting and listening,” Dr. Tim Briles told the Asbury Park Press (Aug. 8). “It’s the furthest thing from that,” he said. Read the full story at http://on.app.com/1sm9273

Mrs. Taft and her assistants—paraprofessional Emelia Cuzco and 16-year-old Miguel Yepes—put the kids’ English skills to work, covering lessons like animal habitats and animal eating habits. Related art projects, picture books, puppets and other tools reinforced what they learned in class.

“We were walking on campus one day and they saw a hawk perched in a tree,” Ms. Taft recalled. “They couldn’t stop talking about its hooked bill and how it helps the hawk eat. They really are making important connections.”

While much of last year’s success was based on feedback from parents and first grade teachers, GCU added another component this year: Dr. Stephanie Rahill, a GCU assistant professor of psychology, and a group of GCU psychology students are conducting before and after testing of the students to analyze 2014 data.

“It’s a great opportunity for our students to get hands-on research,” Dr. Briles said. Lakewood Together’s ESL camp benefits the kindergartners and the University’s students and staff. The younger students also applied real-life scenarios on field trips to Jenkinson’s Aquarium in Point Pleasant and the Cape May Zoo. “The academic-based trips allowed students to embed vocabulary in the context of animals and how to order properly when in Point Pleasant,” Dr. Briles said.

Story by Nicole Bitette/Photos courtesy of Lakewood Together


Read more about GCU and Lakewood Together, which addresses additional issues ranging from parent involvement, college readiness, drug, alcohol and gang awareness. Click here to read media coverage of the partnership. 

Georgian Court University’s School of Education has teamed with the Lakewood School District to provide a literacy based summer camp in a fun summer environment for rising first graders as part of the Lakewood Together program. The partnership, which covers a range of focused, smaller efforts as well, is entering its third year.

In 2013, more than 40 kindergartners with non-English speaking backgrounds attended camp at GCU in order to improve their literacy skills through small group-based learning. Due to the success of the program, it was doubled this summer to nearly 80 students from Lakewood’s Spruce Street School. The program is designed for general education students who need additional services.

Dr. Timothy Briles, an assistant professor in the GCU School of Education, is the project manager for Lakewood Together’s Parent’s Academy.

“The whole idea is to have us share our resources and come together in a mutually beneficial true partnership,” Briles said. “We want to be good neighbors.” Dr. Briles also added that Jill Kreutzer, a teacher at Bradley Beach Elementary, has also been instrumental in the program. As the camp director, Ms. Kreutzer has put together the entire curriculum. The five-week ESL camp is designed to provide instructional time, plus two meals and a brief recess.

However, Dr. Briles explained it is an enjoyable literacy program that features fun teaching games and incorporates technology. Students are broken up into small groups and matched with a teacher, paraprofessional and student from Lakewood High School.

“For me, it’s like coming home again,” said Cathy Taft ’87, one of the teachers at the camp. “The children love what they’re learning, and from an educator’s perspective, it’s great to see them immersed in English and enriching experiences.”

“Working with the children isn’t just about sitting and listening,” Dr. Tim Briles told the Asbury Park Press (Aug. 8). “It’s the furthest thing from that,” he said. Read the full story at http://on.app.com/1sm9273

Mrs. Taft and her assistants—paraprofessional Emelia Cuzco and 16-year-old Miguel Yepes—put the kids’ English skills to work, covering lessons like animal habitats and animal eating habits. Related art projects, picture books, puppets and other tools reinforced what they learned in class.

“We were walking on campus one day and they saw a hawk perched in a tree,” Ms. Taft recalled. “They couldn’t stop talking about its hooked bill and how it helps the hawk eat. They really are making important connections.”

While much of last year’s success was based on feedback from parents and first grade teachers, GCU added another component this year: Dr. Stephanie Rahill, a GCU assistant professor of psychology, and a group of GCU psychology students are conducting before and after testing of the students to analyze 2014 data.

“It’s a great opportunity for our students to get hands-on research,” Dr. Briles said. Lakewood Together’s ESL camp benefits the kindergartners and the University’s students and staff. The younger students also applied real-life scenarios on field trips to Jenkinson’s Aquarium in Point Pleasant and the Cape May Zoo. “The academic-based trips allowed students to embed vocabulary in the context of animals and how to order properly when in Point Pleasant,” Dr. Briles said.

Story by Nicole Bitette/Photos courtesy of Lakewood Together


Read more about GCU and Lakewood Together, which addresses additional issues ranging from parent involvement, college readiness, drug, alcohol and gang awareness. Click here to read media coverage of the partnership. 

Related posts