CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — Hamilton County Schools Summer REACH program is in full swing.
"We've made s'mores from the sun!" said Geremiah Woods who is an upcoming 5th grader participating in the HCS program.
Hundreds of kids like him are learning through a different lens this summer.
"Everything we learn in the school year, we review, but it's more fun," said Woods.
Math and literacy are all in a days work.
But Stephanie Beard who is leading the program at East Brainerd Elementary says making up for pandemic learning loss isn't the only goal.
"Just giving them those opportunities to express themselves differently than you would in a regular school setting, but also giving them more time to play and get that energy out," said Beard.
The emphasis is on learning, but they're trying to make it feel more like camp, rather than school.
Denise Pope who is a Senior Lecturer at the Stanford Graduate School of Education says that kind of out-of-the-box learning is key to keeping kids engaged.
"Well, the most important thing is we don't want school to feel like punishment," said Pope.
Pope suggests having kids read for pleasure instead of a grade as well as incorporating more outdoor activities and games.
"Instead of calling it 3rd grade, have them come up with their name of their camp group. Incorporate songs at the beginning of the day, and the end of the day, kind of like they do at camp," said Pope.
Otherwise, Pope says schools could be taking a step in the wrong direction.
That's something Beard says she's avoiding at all costs.
"Yes, you have your academic piece of course, but we want them to come back and the way to get kids to come back is to have fun," said Beard.
He may only be two days in, but Summer REACH already has Geremiah's stamp of approval.
"People should have their kids some here, it is very very fun," said Geremiah.
That attitude is something experts hope kids carry on into the Fall.