DATE: March 5, 2012
Students at Franklin Neighborhood Park receive guided study skills as part of the after school program.
MEDIA CONTACT: Michael Mills
Broward County Parks and Recreation
It’s not all sports and picnics at Broward County parks. Staff at three County neighborhood parks and four nature centers is providing programs that help kids learn. Through a variety of tutoring and educational nature programs, students participate in learning that meets the standards of Broward County Schools. The goal is to help them succeed academically and ultimately improve quality of life.
At Franklin and Lafayette Hart neighborhood parks, located in unincorporated Broward County, students are engaged in the Russell Life Skills and Reading Foundation program, and at Roosevelt Gardens, students participate in the A-Plus to Dream tutoring program. The programs at these three neighborhood parks, especially convenient to residents who live and work in Fort Lauderdale, help further reading, writing and study skills. Nearly 75 students between the ages of 6 and 15 are enrolled in the programs.
Valeria Wolberg, who oversees the Neighborhood Parks, explains how the Neighborhood Parks programs contribute to the educational success of the students. “These programs bring in state-licensed teachers who quickly establish a rapport with students to keep them engaged and excited in their academic program. This has certainly helped them achieve excellence in their testing and graduation rates,” Wolberg said.
At the Parks’ nature centers -- Anne Kolb in Hollywood, Fern Forest in Coconut Creek, Long Key Natural Area in Davie and Secret Woods in Dania Beach -- park naturalists offer programs that meet specific science curriculum objectives for kindergarten through 12th grade. The nature centers’ programs support Broward County School’s Common Core State Standards, which identifies learning expectations for students, so teachers and parents can effectively enhance the process.
Nikki Hochberg, park naturalist at Fern Forest Nature Center, offers three nature programs: Living and Nonliving, for grades kindergarten and first grade; A Circle of Life, first and second grades; and Exploring Florida’s Wetlands, fourth and fifth grades. “All of these programs support and complement what is taking place in the classroom,” Hochberg said. “We truly bring science to life for these kids.”
At Secret Woods Nature Center, Molly Taylor, naturalist, says the nature center offers three programs, Wonderful Reptiles, Butterflies are Free and Discovering the New River. Last year, more than 1,500 children participated.
“Parks provide a perfect environment for learning, so it just makes sense to work with the schools to ensure that their standards are met,” says Parks Director Dan West. “Whether it’s a neighborhood park or a nature center, we’re glad to be able to promote the academic development of our communities’ children. It’s another way we contribute to the quality of life in Broward County.”
For more information on these programs, call the park or nature center of your choice. All phone numbers can be found at broward.org/Parks.