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Q&A: Halifax Learning Summer Camp

Welcome to our newest blog – Q&A!  It’s a great chance for us to sit down with some of our favourite people, companies and  organizations to go in-depth on a topic, product or service.

Our first question-n-answer session is with the team from Halifax Learning to find out more about their summer camp. We knew it was a little different from other summer camps and wanted to get the details to share with you. Sounds like a great option for kids who need literacy help or who have been getting support throughout the school year and want to continue it during the summer as well.


How is your camp day broken down?
Camp runs from 8:30-4:30, Monday-Friday.  Campers take part in two hours of SpellRead instruction every morning, Monday to Thursday.  On Fridays camp activities start first thing.  (just changed punctuation)

After SpellRead, our camp breaks for lunch and prepares for afternoon activities that include arts and crafts, games and traditional camp fare. We also have weekly special guests to instruct and entertain our campers. Last year this included yoga, a reptile expert and a therapy dog!

When weather permits, we spend as much time outdoors as possible.  And because not all children are competitive or interested in sports, we make sure all of our active games are inclusive and fun for everyone.

Finally, our out trips around the peninsula are the best!  We make multple trips every week to destinations like the Discovery Centre, Citadel Hll, The Natural History Museum, Chocolate Lake and the Common Roots Urban Farm.  Did we forget to mention swimming?  There’s lots of swimming.

Museum of Natural History

How will your summer camp improve a child’s literacy skills?
Halifax Learning has been using the gold-standard SpellRead literacy program for almost 20 years.  We’ve helped over 3,000 Nova Scotians develop strong reading skills.  That translates into more confidence and more enjoyment.

We use a scaffolded approach, we isolate and repair students’ reading challenges while expanding their phonemic foundation.  We reinforce these new skills with a variety of phonemic activities and active reading and writing techniques.  This provides the vital connection between the individual sounds and the complex, fluid language we use every day.

How experienced are your camp leaders?
All of our instructors are qualified and experienced.  Our camp director has been coordinating summer programs since 2006 and has been working with youth since 2000.  Our instructors and volunteers all have up-to-date First Aid and CPR certifications. The safety of the children is our top priority.

How does the cost of the camp work and how can parents offset those costs?
The camp cost is broken down into two separate costs.  The cost for SpellRead is $55 per hour and campers receive 8 hours of SpellRead per week.  This means the total for SpellRead is $440.00 per week.

The cost for the day camp is $260 per week.  This brings the camp cost to $700 per week.

If campers sign up for one, two or three weeks of camp, the above cost applies.  If campers sign up for four, five or six weeks of camp, the weekly rate decreases to $500 per week. To receive this discount, students must sign up for a minimum of four weeks of camp.

The day camp cost must be paid within the months of July and August and families will receive a tax receipt for child care as the camp is a full-day program. The SpellRead cost can be divided into a payment plan as most students will cover SpellRead content in one week that usually takes 3-4 weeks in our after-school programs (September-June).

Common Roots 4

What happens at the end of camp?
First, we expect that your child will see marked improvement in his or her literacy skills, a noted improvement in self-confidence and self-esteem due to their literacy accomplishments over the summer and we expect them to be ready for the September start.  Just as important, we know they will have a super fun and positive experience throughout the day. Our camp activities are designed to engage all campers – to work on their social skills, creativity, hand-eye coordination, thoughtfulness, experiential learning and also physical activity.  We want to help them grow holistically over the summer months.

How would someone get started?
All of our students start with a free, in-depth reading skills assessment to determine their literacy needs.  This is set up by calling Eryn Steele at 902-225-1861 or by email: esteele@halifaxlearning.com.

The assessment is an excellent tool as it gives parents and children the chance to meet the staff, see the centre and have the information provided through the assessment with no obligation to enroll. At this time we can also talk about the summer schedule, payment plans and how to get things rolling if you choose to move forward.

At the end of the summer we will do a re-assessment of skills to monitor progress. Many students continue on into the after-school program in September, but if a child is only doing a summer camp program they do leave with a full maintenance package so that families can continue to work on skills through the school year.

About Urban Parent

Urban Parent (formally HRM Parent) is a an online community for families living, exploring and playing in the Halifax area. We connect local parents with events, information, services, products – and each other. Our online community of local parents is growing every day and we’re so grateful for all who are a part of it. Our Facebook and Twitter “inbox” questions have been known to cause some wild conversations, unite families with similar needs and most importantly let many parents know they are never alone! Urban Parent is run by local parents, for local parents. We know what a struggle it can be to find local information and resources, so we’ve done the work for you in the hope that it has made your day a little easier and maybe even given you some cool parent points with the kids! Have an idea for a blog? Need more information? Want to advertise with us? Just send us an email at info@urbanparent.ca we’d love to hear from you.


The views and opinions expressed in this content are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of haligonia.ca.


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