Leisure Services has been an integral part of the Dubuque community’s summer programming for decades. Its playground program, which services 18 different locations throughout the city, is the most popular program they offer. Traditionally this program focused on physical activities, including kickball, knock hockey, arts and crafts and much more. In the most recent years, as a partner of Dubuque’s Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, Leisure Services has begun to integrate enrichment activities into its summer programming in an effort to help children avoid the summer learning slide.
In order to implement this addition to its summer programming, Leisure Services partnered with the AmeriCorps Partners in Learning program to develop a curriculum that was more education-based and could rotate amongst the park locations. In the four sites that this programming was implemented (Comiskey, Prescott, Marshall School and Lincoln School), Leisure Services saw an increase in attendance, compared to the sites that did not offer this programming.
In addition to working with the AmeriCorps staff, Leisure Services partnered with Carnegie-Stout Public Library who donated seven e-readers to the program. Books were downloaded that would meet the various reading levels of the children who attended the playground program and children were able to use them to read during their time at the program.
This summer, Leisure Services is partnering with Grade-Level Reading AmeriCorps VISTA Stacy Seyer to develop a more structured program, which will expand to eight of the city’s lowest income neighborhoods to encourage kids to keep learning and reading over the summer months. Seyer’s education-based program will incorporate STEAMM (science, technology, engineering, arts, music and math) related activities which will include team building, theme-based books and a learning activity, followed by games and sports activities.