Parents, you’re not alone … and we’ve got the resources to help you raise Savannah.
You can’t grow up in the Coastal Empire without making a splash—and Erin Shaw is here to make sure that splash is a safe one. The owner of Swimming to Erin teaches her no-nonsense approach to swimming in pools from Savannah to Hilton Head Island.
For a full range of swim programs and teams for all ages, check out the Chatham County Aquatic Center.
And Cathy Liberatori of East Coast Paddleboarding offers a summer camp to help your kids stay afloat. The master surfing and stand-up paddleboard instructor teaches beginners in the calm waters of the Back River until they master skills and can move to the surf. The most important lesson? “Don’t panic,” she advises her students. “Remain calm and think.”
Local history comes alive when Coastal Heritage Society Museum interpreter Ray Christie puts a child on a cannon crew or places a wooden musket in tiny hands for “training” as a soldier at Old Fort Jackson. Christie loves that moment, when his young visitors’ eyes light up with excitement. The fort offers daily cannon firings and special interactive history programs year-round.
Kids are captivated by the Georgia State Railroad Museum’s stately No. 30, a 100-plus-year-old steam locomotive. Emily Beck, the manager of interpretation at the Coastal Heritage Society, emboldens that interest even more with a popular Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) field trip activity: demonstrating Bernoulli’s principle with a leaf blower and toilet paper.
At the Tomochichi Monument in Wright Square, Rachel Bradshaw, a heritage specialist at Massie Heritage Center, likes to tell the story of Chief Tomochichi, Mary Musgrove and Gen. James Oglethorpe. In doing so, she teaches respect, trust and compassion to field trippers, summer camps and visiting scouts. “Children can touch and see the history in Savannah instead of just reading about it,” Bradshaw observes—and she’s here to help.
Love of Nature
On his Tybee Beach ecology trips, Dr. Joe Richardson has sparked many careers in marine biology. The retired Savannah State University professor of marine sciences provides shovels, buckets and bags for kids to fill with specimens for observation, and then he takes questions—mostly about what things eat, how they eat and what eats them.
As assistant park manager at Skidaway Island State Park, Katie Charron can be found leading a bat or frog program, or inspiring budding rangers in the park’s junior ranger summer camps. Charron believes “explore time” allows the children to think independently and focus on what they choose.
Every week at Oatland Island Wildlife Center’s Toddler Tuesdays, naturalist Michelle Kelly introduces a different action-oriented theme—complete with songs, animal calls, stories, scientific vocabulary words, sometimes even a puppet show. When kids meet one of Oatland’s animal residents, they won’t just pet it. They might make masks of the creature and then imitate the way it moves. It’s a great way to feel at home in the natural world.
Steps to Success
Dr. Carolyn Perry ignites students’ drive and ambition every summer at Georgia Tech Savannah’s Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics (STEAM) Summer Camps. “We have found, time and time again, that challenged children rise to the level of expectation and will challenge themselves, pushing past whatever level you have set for them,” she observes.
Becky Foxworth and Beverly Locklear of MathMasters are running the numbers: motivating kids to succeed in math via homeschool classes, clubs, summer camps, tutoring—even a free math family fun night. According to this pair of problem-solving pros, all students can succeed with the right help, even though they may not all have the same abilities.
At Royce Learning Center, a trained staff addresses learning differences with carefully tailored tutoring and innovative instruction.
What about college? At Savannah Educational Consultants, Laurel Brady and Helese Sandler offer admissions counseling, aptitude testing, learning disability coaching and more.
Karrie Henry, director and founder of Hoofs 4 Healing, knows firsthand the benefits of teaching teenagers to serve their community. A fifth-generation horseback rider, Henry trains volunteers 13 and older to assist people with special needs during riding therapy at the nonprofit program.
Meagan Wing, a child life specialist at The Children’s Hospital at Memorial University Medical Center, supervises volunteering teens on the hospitals Teen Advisory Board, which consists of Savannah-area high school students 16 and older. Board members help with hospital fundraising, volunteer at community events, and spend time with pediatric patients.
Health and Fitness
Variety is Paul Killgallon’s secret weapon for igniting kids’ interests in staying active. As a PGA teaching professional at The Club at Savannah Harbor, Killgallon balances junior golf lessons with hula hoops, jump ropes, healthy snacks and action-packed Kwik Golf—an aerobic game of golf that requires kids race to each shot. Killgallon’s summer golf camps also mix in tennis, swimming and Frisbee football.
Drew Edmonds, certified personal trainer and owner of Crowned Elite Athletics, keeps kids moving with Savannah Ninja Kids and Savannah Superhero Kids, All Star Cheerleading and tumbling classes. “Most our kids don’t even realize that they are exercising as they jump, swing, dodge, and duck through obstacles,” Edmonds observes.
Soccer players of all skill and age levels get their momentum from Storm Soccer Academy coach and Brad Nein. He gets kids in shape the fun way: with games that become increasing complex—like dribble freeze-tag challenge, where the only way to unfreeze a team member is by passing a ball between their legs. The skills progress from there.
Like sports or video games, music is fun to play. That’s the type of thinking Amy Drew teaches—along with piano, woodwind, brass, guitar, mandolin and banjo lessons for ages 3 to 73. At Ms. Amy’s School of Music, Drew encourages attending live music performances and selecting music that interests each child.
Scribble Art Studio owner Carrie Christian believes art isn’t just about technique—it’s creativity, imagination and individual expression. Christian offers inspiration to all ages via private and group classes, summer camps, adult art parties, open studios and children’s birthday parties.
The well-attended Savannah Children’s Theater isn’t the only show in town. Corinna Rezzelle, the lead drama teacher and founder of Rincon’s Jewel Conservatory Theatre, shares her love for the stage with students 3 and up. Her special programs include offerings for home-school students and Girl Scouts.
Good manners begin at home—but for a little extra polishing, local parents turn to Rowena Howells, owner of Pooler’s Blue Print School of Pageantry and Finishing, and Grace Merritt, director of Savannah’s chapter of the National League of Junior Cotillions.