SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — A Springfield summer camp is helping children learn while class isn’t in session.
Ujima Summer Literacy Camp received a grant worth more than $12,000 to help kids, and some college students, for the next three years.
Since summer 2016, campers have been learning about letters and sounds, vocabulary and reading comprehension.
“My daughter, this is her second time attending camp,” parent Emily Hahn said.
Hahn’s 8-year-old studies with other 5 to 10-year-olds.
“She just is really excited about reading all the time,” Hahn said. “She is able to tell me the story in her own words.”
As Missouri State Bears basketball coach, Dana Ford is always looking for improvements in his players but this program has Ford seeing improvements in his kids, Carson and Charlie-Rose.
“Our children have always really liked to read, but just being way more advanced than their current grade level in regards to their literacy and their reading, we’ve really seen those improvements,” Ford said. “And that as a parent is what you hope for.”
Some teachers at the literacy camp are graduate students who are studying speech pathology at Missouri State University.
“You also want to be able to comprehend it the best,” Anne Baker a teacher at Ujima Summer Literacy Camp said.
Those like Baker are gaining clinical hours from teaching.
“I think the biggest thing to take away here is just learning how to teach language and also learning about classroom management because that’s going to be hugely relevant in the careers for speech path in the school,” Baker said.
A $12,294 grant from the Jeanette L. Musgrave Foundation will allow the camp to hire more staff.
“Staffing is important because it allows for us to give more children specialized attention, give them more individual attention also,” Shurita Thomas-Tate the Director and Founder of Ujima Language and Literacy said. “Managing a large number of kids requires lots of hands. Particularly if you want it to be done well. So we want to make sure that our kids are safe, and they’re having fun.”
The grant will also allow the camp to buy more materials, do more activities and pay high school students to be camp counselors.