Summer learning programs are rich with benefits in a multitude of ways. From providing continuing education in a fresh environment, preventing students from falling behind, providing ongoing nutrition and activity, and even cementing parent’s involvement in their children’s education — there are plenty of reasons they can be a great choice.
In an article originally published in California Schools Magazine titled, Diving Into Summer Learning Programs, writer Corrie Jacobs explores how programs such as the Family Engagement Summer Academy and the Summer Matters program can offer structure, fun, and wellbeing.
“In a sense, it’s a missed opportunity if we don’t figure out a way to invite our adults in to learn alongside the kids,” so says Linda Burkholder in Diving Into Summer Learning Programs. Burkholder is the director of support services and family engagement at Folsom Cordova USD. The associated program, the Family Engagement Summer Academy, takes an unconventional approach by requiring parents (or caretakers) to join their children for at least two out of four camp days per week. In exchange, children receive access to the free, STEM based program.
Parents begin their day in a group with other parents where they discuss parenting techniques and the California School Dashboard. Later, they join their children for STEM classes. Burkholder believes that this parent participation is strengthening the relationship between the community and school district. Furthermore, it offers the chance for parents to become more active participants in their child’s education and learning process.
Programs such as these are ultimately most beneficial for the children enrolled. One of the most obvious examples is preventing what is called “summer learning loss” — a period when children lose progress that they’ve made and experience setbacks in learning. For example, students may lose months worth of math skills over the summer. Notably, it is low-income students who receive the most losses, while higher income students, with more financial opportunities for enrichment camps, can retain or even gain knowledge over the summer.
Vernon M. Billy, CSBA CEO & Executive Director, says “summer learning programs are one of the most effective tools for closing equity and achievement gaps.”
In addition, the curriculum is designed to be much more free-form, and allow both educators and students to explore fresh, new models of learning. Students can explore their individual interests with creativity and a fun, camp-focused culture.
The benefits of these programs do not end there however, as another important aspect is covered — health. Many children depend on free school lunches for adequate nutrition throughout the year, and summertime can mean a decrease in meals. Summer learning programs avoid that drop off by providing students with good, healthy meals during the day. The programs also focus on physical wellbeing with at least 30–60 minutes of physical activity a day recommended by experts, meaning students are less likely to spend their summers sedentary while playing video games. What’s more, students gain valuable opportunities to improve their social skills by spending each day in group settings. Together, these aspects of the program encourage a summer experience that is healthier and happier.
Summer learning programs are benefiting students in numerous ways throughout summer break; expanding their horizons and preventing gaps in both education and well-being. For students who love to learn and socialize, they are a great opportunity to consider. If you are in the Minneapolis–Saint Paul area, read on below for more information about our summer camp offerings and how to register:
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Are you looking for something amazing for your child to do this summer in Minneapolis that will be fun and excite their creativity? Mind Foundry is providing Summer Camp sessions at sites throughout Minneapolis. Our engaging camps this summer include Robotix, Wings Academy, Intelligent Cities, Deep Sea Explorers, and Computing Cafe. To read more details, please check out our Summer course catalog.
Camps run Monday — Friday 9am — 3pm at a cost of $250 per week. Before and after care available. Discounts available for siblings as well as for multiple weeks.
Mind Foundry is committed to providing accessible, high-quality 21st century learning to all. Limited scholarships and sliding scale pricing available to those that qualify. Register your child, using this link, and get started with Mind Foundry summer camps, today!