Schools are out for the summer throughout Ahwatukee, and the Kyrene School District is hosting its Kyrene Summer Academy at Kyrene de la Colina Elementary so students can be active throughout the break.

Kyrene Summer Academy is open to students from kindergarten through fifth grade, and offers nearly 52 classes to choose from, ranging from educational, physical to musical classes.

Chris Huch, who teaches the Math and Science Institute, said her class focused on exploring different properties of matter such as solids, liquids and gases.

Many of the activities Huch has her students participate in align with the Common Core Standards.

“It is fun with science and getting them hands-on experience with it,” Huch said. “They kind of forget that they are learning because they are having fun with the experiments. I get a chance to interact with each individual student more and we really dive deeper in why things happen.”

Coordinators for Kyrene Summer Academy also wanted to add more to the summer experience and created Early Learning Discovery classes, a summer experience for families who are new to the Kyrene experience.

The Early Learning Discovery is open to 3- and 4-year-olds, and give them a first-classroom experience, program manager Peterson Flocken said.

Incoming kindergarteners who attend the Early Learning Discovery classes are exposed to what they can expect when entering school, while learning the different formalities of school structures such as listening to the instructor, learning their letters and numbers and lining up in a single-filed line.

“It gives them that first-schooling experience with being in a classroom, being with a Kyrene teacher and learning what it’s going to be like when they go to kindergarten,” Flocken said. “It’s a program that gives the little guys a taste of school.”

Early Learning Discovery offers four different classes parents can choose from: Alphabet Soup where they learning different letters, indoor sports, mini-Picasso and a Spanish-time class.

“We have lots of options already for 3- and 4-year-olds, so we wanted to give an opportunity for those Kyrene families to meet those teachers, see what a Kyrene classroom looks like and just know that we are here in the community and we are a fantastic option once they are choosing a kindergarten class,” Flocken said.

The Early Learning Discovery experience also aids with the separation anxiety that students and parents go through during the first day of school. Each class runs about an hour long, and classes are in session from 8 a.m. to noon.

“It offers students the chance to take a variety of different courses, they get to build friendships with students and maybe gain some interest in things that they may want to do in the future,” Dave Leonard said, summer academy coordinator.

Currently, the first session of Kyrene Summer Academy is underway and will run until Thursday, June 26, and the second session will begin Monday, June 20 and end on Thursday, July 17.

Parents can sign their child up for the second session, and get more information about Kyrene Summer Academy at

• Contact writer: (480) 898-4903 or

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