The Learning Zone
is a holistic educational program offered by
The Salvation Army – Easton Corps Community Center, focused on
developing reading proficiency, life-long learning skills,
and spiritual, physical, and social health
among grade-school students.
A Holistic Approach
The Salvation Army Learning Zone supports not just the academic aspect of our students' lives. We rally around the whole person and endeavor to lift each child to a plain at which he or she can achieve, just like other kids.
We appreciate the spiritual dimension of life and believe that a good student is not necessarily a good person if deeper strengths are absent. We appreciate the social aspect of life and know that we need not only to support the individual's learning but also to teach the individual how to live in community.
We understand that malnutrition is a physical concern that affects academic performance. We know that humans are multifaceted, and that's why the Learning Zone has this defining statement:
Reading proficiency - We have a simple approach to reinforcing each student's progress in reading proficiency, and it has been developed and endorsed by professional educators. We see reading as the gateway to most other learning and find that kids who love reading and who read the most achieve the most success at every aspect of school. We provide an environment where a love for reading is cultivated and where kids are encouraged to read at their own pace. We regularly assess each child and build our library to make sure that we are offering students materials that stimulate further development. Trained tutors guide and monitor each child's reading.
Life-Long Learning Skills - Getting homework done and developing good work disciplines are two different things. A point will come when the students' success will depend on their ability to work without the guidance and prodding of teachers, parents, and tutors. We try to equip them with the skills and the desire to work and learn independently. All students are encouraged to accomplish the daily goal of completing their homework. As they work on this, trained tutors guide them in good learning habits - reading the text of books, using manipulatable classroom aids, evaluating information sources, teaching how to use a computer, and asking questions that help the child think differently about a tough question.
Spiritual Health - Focusing on the deeper dimensions of human existence is a specialty of The Salvation Army. Every program day begins with Bible story time - a period in which children have the freedom to explore and discover matters of faith and understanding the world. Lessons about the meaning and role of faith and how faith impacts daily life are shared at a level that helps the children to grasp the concepts and discern their value for themselves.
Physical Health - A strong mind cannot function at its best on the foundation of an undernourished or infirm body, so we pay attention to the physical health concerns of many children who live in poverty. Every day they are with us, the students receive a nutritious meal; and when they go home every Thursday, we give each child a supply of nutritious food for the weekend. Kids who rely on state-funded school lunch programs for much of their nourishment benefit greatly from this provision.
Social Health - Being a good citizen and a complete human means being able to live courteously and productively in community. Recognizing their place in the world and that they have something to offer it are identity-shaping notions that many kids who live in poverty are rarely encouraged to assert. We encourage a sense of community in our program by visiting the homes of each student, sitting down family-style for the dinner, and demonstrating and teaching respect for others.