New preschool programs being offered this summer

This summer, children who are too young to start school can learn to cook, speak Spanish and conduct science experiments.

The goal is to give parents an educational option for their preschooler, since most other summer programs are geared toward school-age children, said Dawn Underwood, executive director of the Early Learning Community, an early childhood preschool program in Franklin. In addition, the camps will also prepare preschoolers for heading into kindergarten in the future.

Beginning this summer, the Early Learning Community is offering six, one-week camps for children ages 3 to 6. The organization had not offered summer camps before, but wanted to provide classes for younger children whose older siblings are attending camps, Underwood said. For example, the annual summer program Kids on Campus, where students in grades one through eight can take educational courses at Franklin College, is available for older students. But families with younger children who have not entered school yet often don’t have an educational program for them, Underwood said.

The classes were chosen based on topics families had expressed an interest in during the school year, Underwood said.

Children will be able to learn about one topic per week, including art, Spanish, cooking, science, dancing and kindergarten preparation. Each class will have room for 20 children, and cost $100 per week.

When Underwood’s children were younger, she signed them up for seasons of every sport she could. That way, they could find out early on if they loved or hated the activity, she said. The classes are designed as a way for children to be exposed to unique activities, without committing to a long-term or costly program or investment, Underwood said.

Students or families have expressed an interest in the different topics, and the Early Learning Community hasn’t had time during the school year to teach those subjects, Underwood said.

“These are our teacher’s passions as well,” she said.

For the first four days of the class each week, children will be doing hands-on activities. But on Friday, the students will show off what they have learned through a show or project for parents, Underwood said.

Parents also will have a chance to meet other local families through play dates on Tuesdays and Thursdays, which Underwood expects to be popular on rainy or extremely hot days, she said.

Children can also join ninja training classes, which will be run by employees from Wright’s FUNdamentals gymnastics in Greenwood, and includes obstacle course training, gymnastics, street dance and martial arts.

At a glance

Children ages 3 to 6 can participate in enrichment classes at Early Learning Community, in the Earlywood Education Center, 500 Earlywood Drive, Franklin. Each class is $100 per week, and will run on weekdays from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Here’s a look at the weekly classes which will be offered this summer:

  • Art-rageous, for lessons in art, June 6-10
  • Hola Amigos!, learning to speak Spanish, June 13-17
  • Cooking with kids, June 20-25
  • Mad scientists, June 27-July1
  • Movin’ and Groovin’, dancing, July 4-8
  • Kindergarten rocks!, a preparation of what skills and activities are done in the classroom, July 11-15

Play dates will also be scheduled every Tuesday and Thursday from 12:30 to 2 p.m. at $12 per child, and 2 to 4 p.m. at $10 per child. During the 12:30 to 2 p.m. sessions, the children will be supervised by preschool teachers. Parents must supervise their children during the 2 to 4 p.m. sessions.

Ninja training program classes will be every Tuesday from 2 to 2:30 p.m. and 6 to 6:30 p.m. from June 7 through 12.

To register for the enrichment camps or ninja classes, email by June 1. To sign up for play dates, call 317-738-0055 each week.