Students mix summer & science at Elliott YMCA Community Learning Center

The Elliott Community Learning Center (CLC), a site of the Lincoln CLC initiative, is a partnership between the YMCA of Lincoln and Elliott Elementary School. Together with families, community residents, and numerous community based organizations, partnerships are developed that provide opportunities and supportive services that lead to improved student learning, thriving families, and stronger neighborhoods. The Elliott CLC provides afterschool and summer ELO programs to students who attend Elliott Elementary School. Earlier this summer, Lincoln Public School highlighted the summer STEM programming at Elliott CLC through an online article:

“In one classroom, students were learning about solids, liquids and gases by actually mixing ingredients to create solids and liquids. Later this month, students will get a hands-on view on more science projects. And in yet another room at Elliott Elementary School, students were learning about careers in science. And that’s the point of this summer school program hosted by the YMCA.

‘Specifically, we see that kids are getting really excited about science and seeing science as a career,’ said Kristi Chambers of the YMCA. ‘This instructional approach is more instruction based than people might realize,’ Chambers said. ‘I think when people hear project- or problem based learning they have a picture in their head, and it’s probably not as intensive as what we are doing,’ she said.

Project- or problem-based learning involves students using multiple steps or thoughts to solve real-world problems. It allows students to explore possible solutions on their own, sometimes through trial and error, and lets them learn about how things work. The staff members receive specific training in the method, allowing them to share extra opportunities for students. Each project has a driving question, designed to ensure students understand the key take-aways for the lesson.

“There are also social components to this program.” Chambers said. “Swimming lessons for the students provide a chance for these students to learn something new. If students attend school three out of four days each week, they get to go on the Friday field trip in Lincoln. At the end of the month-long program, the entire group goes to Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo.”

For students to reinforce their learning to other staff at Elliott, the young learners give presentations on what they have learned, and how they want to improve their community.

A waiting list of students who want to attend remains lengthy. Current funds only allow for so many students, which is why attendance is stressed for those already in the program,

Visit Lincoln Public School’s website at to read the full article about Elliott’s CLC Summer Program. For more information about the Lincoln CLC initiative, including Elliott’s CLC program and other sites, please visit the Lincoln CLC website


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