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August 10, 2012


Summer activities help prepare youth for upcoming school year

Youth attending summer activities as part of the Child, Youth and School Services program at Fort McCoy participate in many activities, including many that help prepare them for going back to school in September.

Chelsey Smith, the Child Development Center (CDC) director, said the Strong Beginnings, Pre-kindergraten teachers continue to work with the children throughout the summer on skills needed to enter kindergarten. They have taken field trips to the Necedah Wildlife Refuge and the Deke Slayton Space Museum to broaden their learning horizons.

Eligible children who turn 4 years old on or before Sept. 1, can join the Strong Beginnings Pre-Kindergarten program, which will run during the 2012-2013 school year.

Strong Beginnings is designed to prepare children to be successful to enter school, Smith said.

The program is held Monday through Friday from 8:30-11:30 a.m. each day, with wrap-around child care provided for the children at the CDC during the rest of the day.

The curriculum focuses on the social, emotional, and physical development of children; and equips youth with basic academic and “kindergarten classroom etiquette” skills to enhance “school readiness,” Smith said.

Language and reading, mathematics, science, computers, social studies, and the arts are among the many areas covered in the Strong Beginnings program.

Some of the classroom management skills the children develop are: opening a milk carton, sharpening pencils, walking and waiting in line, raising their hand to speak, and carrying a lunch tray.

Each week, the CDC children also participate in activities with the School Age Center (SAC) youth to familiarize them with the SAC program activities as well, she said.

The CDC provides appropriate child care for children 6 weeks to 5 years old.

At the SAC, the Summer Camp program offers youth a fun-filled way to spend their vacation, with academics and the Army Values program woven into the schedule, said Cori Yahnke, School Age and Youth Center director.

Youth can maintain and improve academic skills through attendance in special clubs, such as a computer laboratory, technology clubs, and reading challenges.

Youth also participated in the Department of Defense reading program, which encouraged children to read books to earn prizes.

CHARACTER COUNTS! topics also are incorporated into the Summer Camp program, Yahnke said.

These help prepare the youth to succeed in school by teaching them to be respectful and responsible students.

Several events also are being held to help prepare youth to go back to school.

A college tour for teenagers in the CYS Services Youth Center program was held Aug. 2. Visits were made to Western Technical College, Viterbo University and the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse in La Crosse to explore the post-secondary educational opportunities available in the surrounding communities.

A back-to-school mixer will be held Wednesday, Aug. 22 at the South Post Housing Area so youth can meet their soon-to-be classmates and new Families can meet other Families in the area.

Anyone in the Fort McCoy community eligible to attend or use CYS Services is welcome to attend the free event, which will run from 4-7 p.m. The event will feature a potluck, games and free school supplies to be given away.

Reservations are requested by Wednesday, Aug. 15 and can be made by calling Parent Central Services at 608-388-8956.
For more information about CDC programs, call 608-388-2238.

For more information about SAC programs, call 608-388-4373.

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