June 05, 2015

Summer Learning Loss

Summer is a wonderful time of year. The flowers are blooming, the days are long, and the weather is warm. One cannot help but be grateful for the longer days and warm weather that allows them the opportunity to spend time with their family. Warm summer nights bring movies in the park, neighborhood night games, and backyard camping.”

However, as many of you know, there are drawbacks to having children home all summer with nothing to do. Boredom starts to slowly creep in, time in front of the television increases, and the intellectual stimulation of your young ones begins to wane. In fact, research shows there is a significant decrease in academic and social skills over the course of the summer.[1] Students are not using their hard earned classroom knowledge nor are they getting their basic social needs met. School fills a need for social connection that is more difficult to find when students are at home during the summer months.[2] Not to mention, children’s activity levels drop and their community involvement suffers, to say the least.

How can you address these needs for your child and alleviate summer learning loss? Enroll them in a high quality out-of-school time program. High quality out-of-school time programs offer a solution to the summertime blues and boredom that is often present with your little (or big) ones. Whether the programs are community, religious, school or otherwise based, high quality out-of-school time programs are shown to offer positive effects for healthy youth development.[3] High Quality Afterschool programs offer opportunities to improve academic performance, learn new skills, enhance social skills and augment a sense of community.

To find a program near you, go to the Utah Afterschool Networks website at utahafterschool.org. For ideas of what you or your child’s out-of-school time program could do this summer, go to Utah State Universities Care about Childcare website and download their Summer Activity Guide at http://careaboutchildcare.usu.edu/.  Take advantage of your community resources this summer to save your child from the summer blues and boredom. Find a great out-of-school time for your child where they may learn, grow and remain engaged in their summer learning.

*This is a summarized version of an article recently published in Utah Family Magazine. To view the article in its entirety click here.

[1] The Wallace Foundation. (2011). Making Summer Count: How Summer Programs Can Boost Children’s Learning Santa Monica, CA: McCombs, Jennifer; Schwartz, Heather; & Lichter, Dahlia.

[2] Huggins, Gary (2013). The Promise of Summer Learning. Expanding Minds and Opportunities, 207-210. Washington, DC: Collaborative Communications Group.

[3] Expanded Learning and Afterschool: Opportunities for Student Success. (2014). The Achievement Gap is Real. Vandell, Deborah Lowe.