As was mentioned in Part 1 of this series, summer learning loss is a real worry for students. Kids can lose one to three months of learning over summer vacation. Many parents worry that they might not be up to the task of helping their children continue to grow and learn - or at leat not back-slide- over the summer months. After all, not all parents are teachers, and most don't get a summer break like the kids do. Parents also struggle with recalcitrant kids who don't want to go to school over the summer. Cost is often a concern as well in the current economic climate.
Summer learning doesn't have to be boring or expensive. There are many place here in Nashville that offer fun programs that are free (or very cheap). Kids will end up learning without even realizing they are doing so.
One of the great local educational resources here in Nashville are the four nature centers scattered throughout the city: Beaman Park Nature Center, Bells Bend Outdoor Center, Shelby Bottoms Nature Center, and Warner Park Nature Center.
The Warner Park Nature Center offers many programs, and serves as a great starting place to explore the 2,684 acres of Percy Warner and Edwin Warner Parks. This summer, Warner Park Nature Center will offer a wide variety of free programs that are great opportunities for fostering summer learning. For more information, you can contact the park at (615)352-6299. The official summer schedule will be out on the park's website around the 2nd week of May.
Programs at the Warner Park Nature Center this summer will include:
- 6 to 12 year olds can participate in the Nature Center's topic programs from 10:00a.m. - 12:00p.m. on Wednesdays this summer. The programs are free, but preregistration is required.
- Themed Saturdays will provide come-anytime impromptu activities focused around a common theme for the day.
- Family Friday Nights will provide great opportunities for family fun. Insects of the Night is a popular yearly event that features activities and a costume parade. This year it will take place Friday, July 13th.
- This June and July, Warner Park Nature Center will be working with the Frist Center for the Visual Arts. More details about this exciting partnership are forthcoming.
- The Nature Center's year-long attractions will of course be available this summer as well. They include a teaching pond, organic garden, natural history museum, nature play area, and self-guided trails. Activity Packs (commonly known around the Nature Center as Purple Packs) are available for checkout as well.
The Warner Park Nature Center is open Tuesday - Saturday, 9 a.m. - 4 p.m and is closed on Sunday and Monday.