More youth are enrolling in summer learning programs

Recent poll indicates more young people are participating in summer learning programs.

Earlier this spring, Afterschool Alliance contracted with Shugoll Research to collect data for the America After 3PM report, a national poll that assessed afterschool programs in America.  Although the full report will not be released until October 2014, early findings were released in July. These results speak to changes of how parents and young people are seeking involvement in summer programming opportunities compared to just five years ago.  According to the preliminary report:

  • Thirty-three percent of families indicated at least one child participated in a summer learning program in the summer of 2013.   This is 8 percent higher compared to data collected in 2009.
  • Fifty-one percent of families surveyed in the spring of 2014 say they want their children to participate in a summer learning program this summer.

One reason cited for the increased interest in summer learning programs is to help young students stay sharp and be able to hit the ground running when school starts again in the fall.  Having a few months off and away from engaged learning can potentially set students back from peers that are engaged in summer learning programs. Some research indicates if youth are not actively engaged in learning during the summer, they could lose up to one month of learning.  This could put them behind when school begins in the fall and hinder their ability to be academically successful throughout the year.

Organizations such as Michigan State University (MSU) Extension 4-H Youth Development offer a number of programs and activities throughout the summer that can greatly counteract this summer time learning loss. These activities will keep young people learning and exploring through fun, age-appropriate, hands-on activities.  Some involve residential camps, including Exploration Days and 4-H Renewable Energy Camp, where youth stay overnight to learn a variety of different concepts and skills.  Other summer programs include weekend workshops, evening programs and extended learning through 4-H clubs where young people meet together and explore what interests them most. 

Summer programs are designed to connect inschool learning with real world experiences.  Activities keep young people engaged in learning and on the path for academic success. If you are interested in fun youth development programs to help keep your children engaged throughout the summer, contact your county MSU Extension office for programs and opportunities nearest you.

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