NEW HAVEN, Conn (WTNH) – It is a hidden gem of summer learning in New Haven. The Horizons program has quietly been helping school kids thrive during the summer months.
Now, it is expanding and accepting new students.
Students who have just finished Kindergarten to eighth grade come to the Foote School during the summer for weeks of fun activities. Just don’t call it camp.
“It’s not really like a summer camp,” explained 13-year-old Elissa Matthews. “It’s kind of like a school, but it’s also really fun. They do so many different things just to encourage you to learn.”
“Like sometimes we would do games, but still be learning,” said 12-year-old Sajiah Hay.
Elissa and Sajiah have been coming since Horizons at the Foote School began 6 years ago. Officially, Horizons is a summer enrichment program.
“Closing opportunity gaps for New Haven Public School students,” said Executive Director Kelonda Maull. “Making sure they have opportunities, healthy meals. Making sure that they are continuously learning in the summer.”
It’s not all learning. There is plenty of time for the playground, and for the pool. Many first-timers had never been in a swimming pool until they came to Horizons.
The Foote School does not have a pool, so for all 7 summers, they’ve been using the pool at nearby Albertus Magnus College. This year, Albertus Magnus is starting its own Horizons program. It’s the same program, and it starts next week, and there are still openings available.
“They are taking students who just graduated from first, second, third and fourth grades, so rising first, second, third and fourth-grade students,” Maul said.
The idea behind Horizons was to stop the “summer slide” where kids forget some of what they learned during the school year over summer vacation. But the whole last year and a half has been all too slippery for many students.
“It’s been kind of boring because I haven’t been able to see people in person. I’ve been online,” Hay said.
“For my school year, I started online and that was really hard for me to participate because a lot of my friends were in-person and I was online, so that was really hard,” Matthews said.
One more thing parents should know about Horizons, and that is the price.
“It’s free. It’s free,” Maull said with a big smile.
So, unlike the actual horizon, this one is easy to reach.
To apply, click here.