This is the first in a series of articles focusing on strategies to promote student learning and wellness during the summer break from school. This installment presents an overview of the topic and the importance of effective summer programs in helping to close the achievement gap.
Summer Learning Loss
I propose that we retool the old summer school model into summer enrichment camps that focus on 21st century skills. These summer programs would employ teachers who have expertise in applying instructional strategies that foster critical thinking, collaboration, creativity and communication skills in our students. They would work in partnership with nonprofit and other youth-serving organizations, public libraries and others to provide full-day learning and enrichment camps.
This video, produced by The Campaign for Grade Level Reading, highlights the challenges students from under resourced communities face, including due to a lack of summer learning opportunities.
On August 25, 2016, The Institute of Medicine/National Academy of Science hosted a panel on summertime opportunities in Washington DC. The workshop validated the value of a summer learning approach not only for student academic achievement, but also for students’ health outcomes. A report outlining the workshop was just published.
It has been an amazing year for summer learning. Superintendents and districts across the state have been taking up the mantle to ensure their students have access to high quality summer learning programs. With such momentum and so many people standing up for summer, we are awarding three superheroes this year.
For many of our children, June is still that month of transition. School ends and books get put away. Clothes now too tight and too short get discarded, and, in advance of summer camp, shopping lists get finalized and bags get packed.
Summer Matters spoke with a representative from School on Wheels about their summer program. School on Wheels was founded in 1993 by a retired school teacher who saw first hand how homelessness affects children’s learning. The following is an excerpt from that interview.
Summer doesn’t have to mean learning loss. It can be a time of powerful learning for children if we ensure that there are many learning activities to engage them in. With or without a formal school based summer learning program or summer camp, the ideas below are simple yet important experiences that can lead to a love of learning and a growing vocabulary, both crucial for academic success.
Why does Summer Matter to you? Post a video explaining why summer matters to you and use the hashtag #WhySummerMatters. We’ll be sharing videos we receive from kids, programs, and families, and highlighting great summer learning opportunities throughout the state.
The New York Times published a great piece about the difficulties of working families finding quality summer programs for kids, and the impact lack of access to those programs has on kids.