For many kids, virtual classes, masking and cancelled activities meant it’s been a hard time to start school.

School’s Cool, a free tutoring program aimed at kindergarten and pre-kindergarten learners, aims to provide a fun space to catch up on learning this summer.

In 2021, 93 kids took part from across Haliburton County, Kawartha Lakes and Muskoka.

The six-week program, administered by SIRCH Community Services, runs from July 11 to Aug. 18 at Stuart W. Baker Elementary School.

“School’s Cool is a play-based program that increases developmental skills by nearly one year over a six-week period,” said SIRCH executive director Gena Robertson in a media release. “Research shows that those gains are sustainable, resulting in higher Grade 3 testing scores. Past graduates and their parents still talk about the impact that the School’s Cool program had on their school success.”

SIRCH reports that last year, Schools Cool instructors saw kids develop social development skills, learn how to stick to routines and build confidence.

Last year, School’s Cool instructors saw vast improvements with many of the children in the program, which focused on social development, routines, and confidence-building.

“I was nervous how he would adjust to school because he hasn’t left home since COVID. So, he didn’t get any preschool/ daycare exposure,” said Leanne Young, who sent her sons Asher and Isaiah to the program. “Isaiah was really struggling with not having school since April (2021). So, I thought the routine would be good for him,” she told SIRCH.

“Isaiah’s behaviour drastically improved. He was really missing socializing with other kids and having a routine of in-school activity. He hated virtual school. Asher’s vocabulary improved and he was so excited to tell me what they did every day.”

Parents can register their kids for the program at SIRCH or find out more by calling 705-457-1742 or emailing