Summer learning keeps students sharp

11:10 AM, Apr 26, 2019

Students think of the summer as an escape from responsibility and school. While this vacation from scholastic concerns can be relaxing, recharging and a lot of fun, it can also hold students back from reaching the heights of their scholastic potential.

One report describes this as “summer learning loss.” Summer learning loss occurs when students report to school in the fall at or below the academic skill level they had achieved before summer recess.

According to the Wallace Foundation and Rand Education, “summer learning programs have the potential to help children and youth improve their academic and other outcomes. However, summer learning programs are often an afterthought of school districts or not offered at all, especially in restrictive funding environments.”

There are many options for parents who want to keep their students learning this summer, and they might be a lot more fun for students than one would think. Camps, classes and activities offered through community organizations feature a wealth of options for parents looking to boost their child’s ability for next fall.

The Lansing Community College (LCC) Youth Program is an authority on summer learning in the mid-Michigan. Utilizing GATE, A+ and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math)-focused learning opportunities, LCC’s youth program promotes literacy, activity and “serious fun” during the summer.

Teresa Price, LCC’s youth programs coordinator, oversees a diverse summer curriculum. “We have a great variety of classes that we’re offering, and we’re sure to have something to interest any student, grades 2-12,” Price said. “From advanced robotics to science wizards to digital photography and exploring painting, our professional instructors have students covered this summer.”

Of particular note is LCC’s Youth Fire Academy, which runs June 24-28 at LCC’s West Campus. Open to students grades 7-12, the Youth Fire Academy gives students an appreciation for our first responders and exposes them to an exciting and lucrative future career path.

“The week-long course is taught by a certified firefighter who supervises students use of fire hoses and other genuine equipment in fighting real fires in a controlled burn,” Price said. “Students take field trips to a couple local fire stations and get an excellent idea of what firefighting – and EMT – is about.”

Parents, too, can benefit from summer education programs. While childcare for younger kids can be prohibitively expensive, and while older kids can become listless and unfocused without supervision during the summer months, summer education opportunities offer the dual benefits of professional care and academic instruction over the summer.

At LCC, parents can even count on before and after care for their youth program students.

“All of our summer camps feature before and after care, which is very convenient for parents,” Price said. “Parents can drop kids off an hour before the camp starts, and pick them up an hour after. This is completely free, and makes it possible for a lot of parents to get their kids involved with us this summer.”

While the summer weather and vacation are great for kids, it is important to remember they are students who need year-round practice to keep their learning skills sharp. Summer camps, courses and education are an accessible means for parents to keep their students on track this summer.

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