What are you doing for summer?

Published 12:00 am Sunday, May 17, 2009

NATCHEZ — The school days are winding down, but that doesn’t mean school children are left to fill their summer with television and video games.

Summer in the Miss-Lou is packed full of activities meant to engage children during the months without the school. One such activity is the summer reading program hosted by the Armstrong Library in Natchez.

Children’s librarian Janet Echols Minor said this year’s program, “Be creative at your library,” is full of events that will give children the chance to explore topics they might not otherwise be exposed to.

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“Some children might not like science

right now but maybe someone will touch on something that will arouse a curiosity in them,” Echols Minor said.

The summer program starts at 9 a.m. on June 2 when NASA will host the annual kick off party. The afternoon kick-off party will start at 1 p.m.

“Usually our kick off is just an hour long ,but NASA wanted more time because they have several things they want to do,” Echols Minor said. “We are really exciting about what they are bringing.”

But the kick-off is just the first of many things Echols Minor said she is excited about.

The summer program, for children from pre-kindergarten to sixth grade will also have guest presenters including a speaker from the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science, a music teacher and art teachers.

Echols Minor said the program is meant to make coming to the library and reading fun.

“We don’t want our students to fall down on their reading skills during the summer,” she said. “We want to maintain them and open doors for the children to learn about things they might not have thought about before.

“If you can do that at an early age, you don’t have to push children so hard as they grow up.”

Children in first through sixth grade will meet from 10 to 11:30 a.m. or 2 to 3:30 p.m. each Tuesday from June 9 through July 7 at the library. Pre-kindergarten and kindergarten students will meet from 10 to 10:30 a.m. each Wednesday from June 3 though July 8.

There is also a teen summer reading program that will meet at 3 p.m. each Wednesday for crafts, games, snacks and books

Registration for the free summer reading program will continue through the second week in June. But even children not registered for the program are welcome to come to any of the programs, Echols Minor said.

But reading isn’t the only thing that can fill the long summer days. The Natchez Recreation Department has also planned a variety of summer programs for children.

Swimming lessons will begin June 8 for children 6 to 13 years old. Lessons are $30 per week and classes are open to 20 students. Registration will be from 5 to 6 p.m. on June 4 at the Natchez Senior Citizens Center.

There will also be a youth golf program that offers golf academies each Monday from June 8 though June 29. The program requires a $5 registration deposit that is returned when students show up for class.

Classes are open to children from 9 to 17 years old with the younger children meeting from 9 to 10 and the older children meeting from 10:30 a.m. until noon.

The classes will be at the Duncan Park Golf Course.

Children will also have the chance to learn a little music this summer with summer music camp at the Children Prep Music Studio. The camp will be June 22 – 26 with registration currently under way.

Kathleen Mackey King, director of the Children’s Prep Music Studio said summer is an excellent time to expose children to music.

“There are intro classes and most of my summer students are people who are experiencing the classes for the first time,” King said. “They do it to try it out to see if this is something they want to pursue.”

Natchez Ballet Academy is also offering a summer dance classes from June 22 through July 3. Registration is from 4-6 on June 18.

Natchez Little Theatre will have their summer youth workshop from 1 p.m. until 5 p.m. every Tuesday to Thursday from June 10 through July 30. The workshop will break from June 26 through July 6.

Registration forms are available online at www.natcheztheatre.com or by calling the theater at 601-442-2233.

Auditions will be at noon on June 8 and 9 at the theater at 319 Linton Ave. The workshop is open to 30 students.