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Sooke’s Play and Learn Club could morph into a year-round program

Funding is the main stumbling block to the concept
Children in the Play and Learn Summer Literacy Camp are presented with a $2,000 donation from the Sooke Rotary Club. More funding could allow the program to operate year-round. (Contributed)

The Sooke Play and Learn Summer Literacy Camp, a program designed to help six- to nine-year-old children improve their literacy and numeracy skills, may lead Sooke School District to create a “homework club” that would continue the learning effort during the school year.

But it comes down to funding.

“Children fall behind [in reading and math)] for a myriad of reasons,” Anne Bell, Sooke School District’s community school Coordinator said.

“Some have been sick and missed a lot of school, others have otherwise fallen through the cracks. That’s why we started the summer literacy camp nine years ago.”

The program immerses 25 children, chosen by school principals, in literacy and numeracy activities and has resulted in a greater improvement in self-confidence and enjoyment of the subject areas for the children, Bell said.

“They go back to school and they are actually ahead a bit,” she said.

ALSO READ: Literacy transcends just learning to read

But as valuable as the four-week program is, Bell said the school district has considered how it could be carried over to operate during the school year.

“It all comes down to funding,” said Bell.

To that end, the Edward Milne Community School Society is inviting the community to donate by calling the society at 250-642-6371. Funds will go to both help children attend next year’s literacy camp and potentially create a year-round homework club for students.

This year, the summer program was funded by the Rotary Club of Sooke, the Pacific Institute for the Mathematical Sciences, Excellence in Literacy Foundation, Decoda Literacy Solutions and the Sooke Region Literacy Task Group, Canada Summer Jobs (HRSDC), Sooke Harbourside Lions, as well as local support and donations from the T’Sou-ke Nation, EMCS Society, Cathy’s Corner Café, Andy’s 2-for-1 Pizza, and the school district.

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