Nearly 300 children have been getting a head start on the new school year through the Colonial Summer Academy.
This year, Colonial School District offered the free academy to all students entering first through sixth grade and welcomed the children back in the classroom for two hours, four days a week, for three weeks.
"I learn more stuff, like more math and more reading and more writing," said Charlie Giovanisci, a rising third grader. "It's fun that it's helping me get smarter."
The children participate in small groups and attend the program either in-person or online.
"They're here, because they want to learn more things," said Baily Young, who teaches one of the afternoon groups virtually. "Every time I ask who wants to read, all five hands go up. They all are just very excited."
Lessons cover reading, writing, and word study in English Language Arts, as well as number sense, computation, and word problems in Math.
"My favorite part is Math, because I just learned so much," said rising sixth grader Grayson Jackowski. "I've kind of been struggling with fractions, but now I'm really good."
For some children, their favorite part of the Colonial Summer Academy is seeing friends or making new ones from another school.
"Ian's in my same class, and we used to live in the same neighborhood. Now he's not living in the same neighborhood, so he goes to a different school," said rising second grader Mackenzie Fisher. "I like that you can meet new people, and you get to know about them."
The Colonial Summer Academy was developed by the Colonial School District Curriculum Department and coordinated by Whitemarsh Elementary School's Master Teacher Jordan Kapel. The cost of the program was covered by a grant from the federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund.