The Zoom Zone combines fun activities with a learning environment to entertain students after their school day has been completed.
“It is just a wonderful program, and we are going to make learning fun. We just want the kids to know that learning can be fun,” said Erica Farmer, the site coordinator for the program. “We went from one application to 40 applications in one week. So it has really grown.”
Darlene Larkey, the achievement gap coordinator for the Harlan County School District and the Director of the 21st Century Grant, said the students receive more attention because they are in smaller groups than they would be in a classroom setting.
“We try to keep them in small groups so they almost get individualized attention. We interact with a lot of different agencies and bring in a lot of speakers. It is just a wonderful program,” Larkey said.
The Zoom Zone provides students in grades three through eight with many free activities, including arts and crafts, photography, dance, fitness, foreign language, scrapbooking, drama, computer lab and gardening among others.
“We are incorporating several different activities into the program. We rotate activities every 20 minutes so the students stay actively involved and engaged,” Larkey said.
“The teachers do so much, but this is more open. It’s not like school. They are learning, but they don’t realize it.”
Larkey added that fitness aspect of the program helps to keep the students energized.
“It sparks them up. They are dragging because it is the end of school, and this gives them a boost,” Larkey said when asked about the fitness activities.
The program is provided through the JACES 21st Century Learning Center and is available for students each week on Monday to Wednesday from 3 p.m. until 5:15 p.m. at JACES.
Any parents interested in registering their children for the program should contact Larkey at 573-4330, Ext. 2017, for more information. Transportation is provided at the end of each day.