For the last 25 years, the staff of Our Lady of Fatima School, Jackson Heights, has been providing two summer fun and learning centers during June, July and August. The Early Childhood Center provides care and activities for children ages 3 to 6, and the upper program accepts registrations for 6- to 11-year olds. On most days, more than 100 children attend from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. The programs are open until Aug. 15. Each day, breakfast and lunch are provided by New York City.
Daily activities for early childhood include literacy, music and movement, playground, sprinklers, arts and crafts, cooking, nap time and trips to the parish’s children’s garden to see all the vegetables that are being harvested and to visit the garden chicken, Pablita.
The upper program offers the children computer activities; academic competitions in math, writing, social studies and spelling; arts and crafts; playground; board games; library classes and research; video games; cooking; gardening; sports and sprinklers.
The children’s garden is a school-wide project that spans over 2,000 square feet. It was planted by students in April. Last week, they picked tomatoes, basil, peppers and onions and then made individual pizzas during the summer program. Cucumbers, strawberries, snap peas, spinach, lettuce and cilantro, also have been picked. In late August and September, the potatoes, pumpkins, cabbage, sweet potatoes and watermelons will be ready.
One of the chickens that hatched in the early childhood classes during the spring has become the garden pet. The students visit the chicken, named Pablita, in the garden daily. The eggs in the incubator are ready to hatch. The students in the “Fatima Fun” summer program are anxiously awaiting the birth of the new chicks!