COLUMBIA, Md (WMAR) — Counties across Maryland continue to adapt to help students and working families during virtual learning. Now Howard County has launched a new in-person learning program to give kids a place to go to socialize and complete their asynchronous learning.
The Department of Recreation and Parks only offers it on Wednesdays when kids are participating in asynchronous learning and time for school work is built into the schedule for each program.
Activities are geared predominantly towards elementary aged students.
"That could include a hike through our woods. We have over a mile worth of trails here at the nature center. We have stream habitat. We have meadow habitat. They do bird watching and natural journaling," Katie Peet, director of the Robinson Nature Center.
The Robinson Nature Center is one of the locations, but if nature isn’t your thing, they have programs going on at other county owned buildings too, including North Laurel, Gary J. Arthur and Roger Carter community centers; Kiwanis-Wallas Hall; Schooley Mill and Cedar Lane Parks’ activity rooms; and Pfeiffers Corner School House, as well as at Pump It Up of Elkridge and the Drama Learning Center.
"At those facilities, kids also have the opportunity to do drama learning. They have a fun LGEO day. There's art and cooking classes," said Peet.
The cost per class varies and all COVID-19 safety protocols are enforced, including groups of 15 or less, temperature checks upon arrival, self-screening questionnaires and cleaning procedures.
They hope to provide students with a balance as virtual learning continues this fall.
"We recognize the need and importance for school work but we also recognize the need and importance for social interaction and unfortunately right now with schools going virtual, that’s just something that kids don’t have as much access to so our hope is that this program can bridge those two things," said Peet.
Space is limited because of COVID so Recreation and Parks recommends registering in advance. For a list of these special, Wednesday programs and/or to register, visit Recreation & Parks and search "asynchronous." You can also register by calling Recreation & Parks’ Program Info and Registration line at 410-313-PARK (7275).