18 Apr Benefits of Summer Academic Programs for Elementary Students
Are Academic Summer Camps worth it for elementary school students? Parents often ask… What are the Benefits? Of course, they do help to beat the summer slide where some students may lose some of their school learning. Summer education programs for kids also provide some of the school-like structure that many kids thrive under, and yet they try to do it in a fun, engaging way. However, according to the research, the benefits run deeper than you might think.
Yes, Studies show that Camps Reinforce Academic Skills and Slow the Summer Slide for Elementary Kids
Educational summer school programs excel at keeping your child’s mind and body busy. This, in turn, can help slow the dreaded summer learning loss. These programs sometimes approach subjects in a different from traditional schools. This can help children integrate the things they learned in school the past year, and even build on that knowledge; instead of losing it. According to a Rand report “Rigorous studies have shown that strong summer programs can achieve several important goals: (1) reverse summer learning loss; (2) achieve learning gains; and (3) give low-performing students the chance to master material that they did not learn during the school year.” Other studies show, that especially with coronavirus-related learning loss, these programs can be even more important. *
Find a Summer School or Enrichment Program Near you that Allows your Child to Get Help with a Difficult Subject
Parents get brownie points if they can support their child in solving a problem they’re having. This approach can be challenging but can often reap huge rewards…talking with your child about what school subject they most struggle with. Then, find a program to help them learn that skill outside of traditional school settings. ALOHA’s summer Math and Reading and Writing skills classes can be a great match. See below for ways that educational camps may offer an environment that help some children learn more effectively.
2023 Summer School Classes and Camps Provide Structure to a Sometimes Chaotic, or “Boring” Three Months
Yes, children need free time to play, be active, and relax. However, this sometimes devolves into kids on the couch playing video games, watching TV, or moping around the house saying “I’m boooored.” Other times it can lead to constant battles with parents to get children to do something, anything! Some students, although they may not realize or admit it, thrive on structure, and tend to get lost in summertime. While a child’s summer doesn’t need to mimic the timed hourly setting that school gives, adding some structure, like a camp, can be helpful.
Many Summer Educational Camps Offer a Deep Dive into a Subject
Does your child show a deep of love Mathematics, or reading and books, or writng? The freedom to concentrate on one subject without distractions is something that summer camps also offer. Taking a deeper look into a topic or interest can help a student gain confidence and a greater foundational knowledge. It can also cement an interest or help them decide that something is not for them. My brother is a university biology professor specializing in plant genetics. When he was a teen, he attended a marine biology summer camp. He found that while biology still got a thumbs up, that the ocean wasn’t where his interests were going to flourish.
Academic Camps Can Help Children Build Social Skills During Summer
In addition to helping with school-type learning, summer educational programs help shuffle your child’s social groups, and grow their social skills, in a good way. Often children move through elementary school with the same other children in the classroom year after year. But summer camps often pull from a broader regional area and a broader demographic. That means your child gets to meet other students who are like them, who love to learn, yet who are different from their school peers; or those who are also struggling with a subject. Non-school programs may also let your child step out of their regular school persona and perhaps step into a leadership role or learn that participation in a group effort can also help them make friends. Some summer activities can be team-based, enabling kids to explore leadership, cooperation, and other social abilities.
Developing Greater Confidence is Another Benefit of the Focused Lessons in Summer Classes
In school, some kids in certain subjects get stuck in the middle, some excel, while others seem to lag behind. If your child is one who seems to be stuck in a rut with a particular subject at elementary school, having new kids in this summertime class, and a new instructor, can give them a fresh start. A child can reinvent him or herself in a new learning setting, while parents can watch their self-confidence soar.
Along with exploring the class subject, ALOHA’s Math and Reading/Writing programs teach crucial skills kids need these days: confidence, critical thinking and problem solving, not just rote memorization. At ALOHA we adapt our programs during the summer to give a more focused approach. We always group children by age: 3-5, 4-7, 7-12, rather than by specific grade level; which shifts kid’s peer groups. And our small group, instructor-led programs involve the whole child. Our learning model is interactive, we don’t just hand out worksheets, or sit your child in front of a computer terminal; we provide a targeted and engaging learning environment.
Summer Programs can Enrich your Child’s Life and have Lasting Benefits
In recent years, children are being asked to deal with more change than is usual for their age. From changing health environments, to changing school environments, and even changing climate. Today’s children need to learn resilience and independence. Summer sleep away camps can offer this to a high degree, but can be very expensive, and anxiety inducing for some kids. But, according to research, * a weekly local camp on a targeted subject can give kids a smaller taste that leads to more than just educational learning:
- Independence: Summer academic camp can allow your child to step outside of the family and school circle and try new things
- Passion: It can allow a child to gain a foothold in a new interest, with other kids who have the same curiosity
- Belief: It can offer a stronger foundation in a tough subject for a child who is struggling to believe in themselves
- Growth: it can allow children to leap to new heights in an advanced-topic program
Each of these benefits, along with the simple act of stepping into a different summer camp educational environment, is a ticket to less learning loss, a bit more independence, resilience, and maybe even some fun and new friends.
*Research from various sources all back up the statement that summer camps offer a variety of benefits for many different students with varying backgrounds. Research:
- Rand about the effectiveness of summer programs in combatting summer learning loss
- Harvard University about the social learning during summer camps
- The NIH – The Effects of Summertime Experiences on Children’s Development
Written by Cathy Larkin, a freelance writer, and social media coordinator, who has been a part of the ALOHA Mind Math team for several years.