A free children’s reading curriculum combined with opportunities to experience visual and performing arts, field trips, history and community service will be offered this summer at UCF’s Public History Center in Sanford in partnership with the Freedom School of the Central Florida Children’s Defense Fund. The literacy-based program is for children grades 1-12.

In support of the Public History Center’s mission to provide hands-on educational experiences for students of all ages, UCF history majors also will have the opportunity to help younger students expand their research and critical-thinking skills. UCF students will facilitate hands-on learning and develop program activities that connect the past to present-day issues.

This is the nonprofit Freedom School’s 10th year and the first time to be held at the Public History Center.

“This program shares our goals of providing innovative educational programming that immerses students in the stories of their own communities,” said Rosalind Beiler, UCF’s director of Public History.

The program will run Monday through Friday, June 16 to July 25, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Spaces are first come, first serve, and registration forms are available at the Public History Center, 301 W. 7th St.  An open-house registration will be held 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. June 11-13. For more information about the program, contact Gail Choice at 407-687-7185.

The Freedom Schools operate in nearly 90 cities around the nation and this summer hope to serve 12,500 children. The program’s goals are to boost student motivation to read, generate a more positive attitude toward learning, and connect the needs of children and families to the resources of their communities.

UCF’s Public History Center serves as a focal point of cultural heritage for the region. The former school building now contains many educational exhibits and is a partnership of the University of Central Florida and Seminole County Public Schools.