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Summer camp for preschoolers gets interest

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A new program started this summer to fill a need for parents searching for a day camp for their preschooler.

The Boys and Girls Club, area parks departments and other organizations have summer camps for students in elementary school and higher grades, but it’s difficult to find summer-long camps or activities around the county for 3-, 4- and 5-year-olds, Johnson County Learning Centers executive director Dawn Underwood said.

The learning centers created a new summer camp after hearing from parents who couldn’t find programs for their preschoolers in June and July. A total of 15 children spent up to 10 hours each day at Northwood Elementary completing arts and crafts, conducting science experiments and playing games with sand and water.

“It’s been wonderful,” Underwood said. “The kids are having a blast, as are the teachers.”

Underwood think creating the camp helped fill a need of parents in the community. And if the need continues, the learning centers should be able to provide the program again next year, she said.

“As long as the school system has space, and there’s a need, we’ll continue,” Underwood said.

The preschool camp, which will run through the end of this week, was open to any family in Johnson County, but couldn’t enroll more than 20 kids. Fifteen families signed their children up for the program, which cost $145 per week, Underwood said.

Franklin schools and the learning centers already run a preschool together during the school year at Webb Elementary to help children prepare for reading and counting lessons in kindergarten.

The new preschool camp isn’t intended to prepare students for kindergarten, but children can learn or improve skills, such as following directions and sharing with others, Underwood said.

“Just being able to separate from mom and following directions from teachers and walking in a line and sharing toys and all of those tools that you need when going to kindergarten to be successful.”

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