Red Lake Nation News - Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

Summer program offers valuable learning opportunities for children


"Dream Big" was the theme for this year's school-age summer program. Each class created and displayed artwork for the program's art contest.

ADA, Okla. – Summer break has come and gone. School is back in session for yet another year. The halls are filled with children eagerly sharing their summer adventures with teachers and classmates. Students who participated in the Chickasaw Nation School-Age Summer Program have plenty of stories to share from the passing summer months.

Provided after school and during spring, summer, fall and Christmas breaks, the Chickasaw Nation School-Age Program provides countless learning experiences for children.

A total of 390 students enrolled for the summer program this year, up from 200 last year. Due to growth, the program expanded to the Glenwood Resource Center in Ada while still utilizing the Ada Head Start facility.

Through this program children, ages 4-12, attend exciting field trips and special events. Children have the chance to participate in arts and crafts, theater productions, storytelling, music and dance, community service projects, scientific exploration and much more.

The Chickasaw Cultural Center, Andy Alligator's Water Park, Frontier City and the Oklahoma City Zoo are just a few of the engaging field trips children enjoyed this year.

Implemented into all of the school-age programs is a "word of the week." The words are based on the Chickasaw Nation Core Values. Students are taught the meaning of the word and the Chickasaw translation; daily activities are focused around the word students are learning during that specific week.

The program emphasizes the importance of reading. The Chickasaw Nation School-Age Program partnered with Ada Public Library to help offer children the opportunity to participate in the summer reading program.

Children are encouraged to exercise their minds by reading during the summer break. As timed reading goals are met, participants receive incentives. The ultimate goal through offering this program is to eventually help each child obtain a library card, highlight the benefits of library use and to encourage families to use the library and read year-round.

"Reading is important year-round but it's especially important in the summer when kids are out of school. The summer reading program encourages kids to explore books and reading," Debbie Whelchel, Ada Public Library children's librarian, said. "Developing a lifelong love for reading begins with enjoying it at a young age and probably one of the most important things you can do to encourage children to be successful."

The reading program is only a portion of what children learn and enjoy during the summer. Staff from the Chickasaw Nation Science, Technology and Math Academy (STM Academy) take part in the fun and conduct experiments as well as demonstrations. Several different theme days are planned during the course of the summer, some of which include Rainbow Day, Fun Day with Clay, Ice Cream Day and many more.

To round out the program, the children participate in a "Variety Show." Throughout summer, students practice on their individual and group performances. Skits, dance and song routines, along with magic shows, are showcased during the event.

Enrollment for the school-age program is open to the public. Preference will be given to Chickasaw citizens and children of Chickasaw Nation employees.

For more information, contact Chris Johnson at (580) 421-7711 or visit



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