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266 kids sees new horizons at New Canaan program

Photo by Contributed Photo, Contributed

Horizons' Student Enrichment Summer Program is underway at New Canaan Country School. Above, Matthew Parillon helps Angelli Oliva-Reyes with the computer.

This summer, 266 children in kindergarten through grade 8 from Stamford and Norwalk will participate in the Horizons Student Enrichment Summer Program.

Founded more than 50 years ago, Horizons provides low-income public school students use of the 75-acre campus for a blend of academics and enrichment.

Horizons offers students the opportunity to develop their academic skills through project-based, experiential activities, such as rocket-building and filmmaking. Horizons complements the academic components of its summer program with a broad range of enrichment opportunities -- from woodshop, studio art and dance to weekly field trips and several overnight campouts. Students have formal swim instruction at least twice a week and every afternoon, all Horizons students go swimming, either on campus or at the many private pools donated by local residents.

"There is a wonderful spirit and sense of camaraderie during these summer weeks that is truly magical," says Interim Executive Director Kerry Stevens. "Horizons provides not only educational enrichment opportunities, but also a safe, nurturing community which helps children develop confidence and makes learning fun."

Summer learning loss contributes to the achievement gap putting low-income students as much as three years behind by fifth grade, according to a news release from Horizons. Connecticut ranks last nationally with the highest achievement gap in the country. Horizons provides up to nine consecutive summers of learning, and also year-round support for students continuing all the way through high school.