Summer learning gets a new look
Yasmine Regester | 7/15/2013, 1:04 p.m.
BCDI-G has also added a mentorship component where the non-profit organizations of Wise Guys and Dreamgirls come in to mentor Level 3 students.
Foster also noted the growth she sees in the group of students each year. “I find it important that for the time we have them, they can be children. They gain self-awareness and confidence. I believe we do a good job,” said Foster.
Each morning the children gather in a circle for what is called “Harambee” which involves 30 minutes of energetic dancing and songs to get motivated for the day. Morning circle time also includes read aloud time where a special guest from the community comes to read to the children. Former read aloud guests at BCDI-G include Guilford County School Board Member Amos Quick and N.C. A&T State University Chancellor Harold Martin.
“We want the kids to see how reading takes place in every part of our daily lives,” said Foster.
Parents and family members are encouraged to volunteer at the Freedom Schools in order to be more engaged in their student’s education.
“The key issue here is that learning remains a yearlong process. Freedom School is allowing that learning to continue after school ends for the summer. And it allows our scholars the opportunity to express themselves in ways they can’t in a traditional classroom.” said Vernice Thomas, GCS Director of Support Services.
GCS officials say they will use this first year as a learning tool to determine how to successfully motivate the students to learn and replicate that success in the future.
“Our scholars are our future. We have to make sure their futures are bright and once they shine, they shine bright like a star. We want to get every student to be the best and brightest they can be,” said Thomas Moses, a Servant Intern Leader and N.C. A&T State University Secondary Mathematics Education graduate.
Historically, Freedom Schools were birthed out of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s to empower African Americans, who were required to pass a literacy test before being allowed to vote. During the summer of 1964, more than 30 Freedom Schools had been established across the South.
The CDF Freedom Schools use a model curriculum that supports children and families around five essential components: high quality academic enrichment; parent and family involvement; civic engagement and social action; intergenerational leadership development; and nutrition, health and mental health.
BCDI-G Executive Director Karen Thompson said, “This goes beyond just a literacy piece. It’s about self-empowerment and positive reinforcement that you can be strong because it comes from the inside.”
Photos by Charles Edgerton/Carolina Peacemaker
Dancing and motivational cheering start the day at BCDI-G’s Freedom School.
Servant Intern Leader India Perez sits with her level 1 class during reading time.