Samantha Buss has attended preschool programs since she was 2 years old.

Now, with her fifth birthday on Thursday and the anticipation of kindergarten in the fall, Samantha is working on learning her address and phone number — two things she and her mom, Jenny Buss, started working on together.

Jenny Buss said she's worked with her daughter to continue during the summer where preschool left off. As part of that, the mother-daughter duo attended a mobile learning lab at the Strand-Capitol Performing Arts Center, a free event that gives kids a chance to reinforce skills that will be expected in kindergarten.

The "Ready for School & Life Mobile Learning Adventure: The Learning is All Around Me" event is hosted by the United Way of York County and by PNC's Grow up Great program. The two-day program will run Wednesday from 12 - 3 p.m.

On Tuesday and Wednesday mornings from 10 a.m. until noon, about 500 preschool students will filter through the stations, too.

Organizers have said parents are welcome to come through the stations with their children, because the stations also give ideas about how to boost skills at home.

Reinforce skills: Springfield Township mother of two Lindy Ness said she took her children to reinforce basic skills. Her children are older — one is entering third grade and the other will start first grade — but the summer "slump" is something she's definitely noticed, Ness said.

"It happens every summer," she said.

Her kids are slower at math assignments and they forget "word wall words" over the summer months, Ness said. To counteract that, she's taken them to the library more often this summer and to programs that encourage summer learning — including the mobile lab.

The kiosks at the free event will include educational topics in the form of games, said Nicole Shaffer, director of marketing and communications for York County's United Way. She said the activities have children matching colors, identifying letters and recognizing patterns, among other things.

Other stations have students think about what they'd like to be when they grow up, and talk about the difference between "wants" and "needs."

And one of PNC's newest initiatives is to have a word of the day — with a word a step above what many people might think a preschooler can understand. Tuesday's word was "unique," for example.

The program is for all skill levels, and can serve as a resource for parents whose children aren't in a preschool program but would like information about those programs or skills their children can practice, organizers have said.

The program is set up in the lobby and theater area of the Strand, located at 50 N. George St. in York.

— Reach Nikelle Snader at