The YMCA’s Kid Zone PLUS program not only promotes the core values of caring, honesty, respect, and responsibility, it provides a resource rich environment for kids to acquire new skills and thrive in a positive learning environment. And this spring, students attending the Y’s Kid Zone PLUS program at The Salvation Army Joliet Corps Community Center had the chance to participate in an exciting Computer Coding Program.
Made possible thanks to a wonderful partnership with After the Peanut, this free eight-week program provided students in grades 5-8 with an opportunity to learn basic coding skills and build apps, games, and digital stories using Samsung tablets. Instruction was provided by computer science majors from Lewis University, and students who attended all eight sessions were able to keep their tablets after completing the program.
“We were thrilled to partner with After the Peanut for this computer coding program,” Galowich Family YMCA Youth and Family Director Stephen Franklin said. “Giving kids meaningful learning experiences is one of the most important aspects of our Kid Zone program. We know that this group of students have learned some really important life skills over the last few months.”
After the Peanut promotes education in the STEAM fields (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) and CEO Natalie Coleman said partnering with the Y has helped expand the imagination and skill set of students in the program.
“Whether or not these students end up going into computer science, engineering or a related field, the important thing is they now have an understanding of where the technology they use every day comes from,” Coleman said. “Computer literacy is now necessary no matter what line of work you go into. This also gave students an opportunity to come together as a group, work as a team, and problem solve. Critical thinking, communication, and collaboration are skills you need no matter what.”
Plans are already in the works to offer this program to more Kid Zone students this fall. The Y is also looking forward to working with After the Peanut this summer to introduce new educational activities to it’s summer day camp program.
“We’ve worked with the Y for a couple years across different programs, and the partnership has gone very well,” Coleman added.
Special thanks to our partners at After the Peanut and Lewis University for supporting our Kid Zone students this spring!
Registration for the Y’s Kid Zone Before and After School Care program for the 2021-22 school year is underway. To learn more or sign up today, click here.