Peace Connections' Summer Enrichment Activities for Kids (SEAK), a free educational program for children ages 6 through 10, is already underway and will continue from June 5 to July 20. The program runs four days a week, from 9 to 11:30 a.m. Monday through Thursday.
This year's SEAK program has been moved from its usual spot at Sunset Elementary to Slate Creek Elementary, so Program Coordinator for SEAK Sue Elder said it has had a limit of serving 40 children.
That change is due to a technology upgrade at Sunset.
Elder added that the list for children participating in SEAK this year is currently full and that there are already some children on the waiting list.
As in past years, SEAK offers a diverse series of interactive learning activities for children. Elder said this year's theme is animal classifications.
In that vein, Elder said children are going to hatch butterfly larva, study fish, see how cows are milked with a mobile dairy unit, learn about mammals by seeing a miniature therapy horse, learn about mammals and bones from a Kauffman Museum representative and learn about all manner of bugs with Carrie Tiemeyer, the Wichita "Bug Lady."
Harvey County Director of Parks Kass Miller will also be bringing an owl to show children.
On June 6, Elder said a gentleman (Marc Murrell) came from Great Plains Nature Center, and brought a barred tiger salamander and a black rat snake. In addition, Elder said she brought ringneck snakes that she had caught.
The last week of June, Elder said children will also participate in a safety unit – right before the Fourth of July.
During that time, Elder said people from the Newton Community Pool usually come and talk about water safety, Newton Fire/EMS comes and teaches children about fire safety and Newton Police Officer Tony Hawpe shows children the Newton Police K-9.
Also, Elder said County Extension Agent for Family and Consumer Science Anne Pitts be will coming from the K-State Extension office to teach children about hand washing and germs.
Throughout SEAK, children will additionally be making animals out of fruits and vegetables and making animals out of pretzels (which will be made from scratch).
With money that was donated for books, Elder said that each child attending will be given at least four books, and that reading is a daily part of the SEAK festivities.
Executive Director for Peace Connections Jennifer Rose thanked SEAK's donors this year, who she said made the program possible.
"They have really come through as a community," Rose said.
According to Rose, top donors for this year's SEAK included White Eagle Credit Union, Jim and Susie Wickiser, Book ReViews, a grant from the North Newton Community Foundation, the Kiwanis Club of Newton, Gary and Gloria Rediger, Midland Bank, First Bank, Citizens State Bank, Vern and Helen Jantz, Salem Red Bird UMW and Evelyn Quiring.
"We just want to thank everybody," Rose said, "because the financial revenue has been above and beyond this year, which is fantastic... We hope to make good use of it in educating these kids and keeping their passion for learning going over the summer."