Lately I have heard a lot of talk about Summer Learning Loss and how it affects our children during the summer months. Summer Learning loss is an actual loss of academic skills and knowledge during summer vacation. The loss varies across subject matter, child’s grade level and family income. 100 years of research show that students typically score lower on standardized tests at the end of summer vacation than they do on the same tests at the beginning of the summer (White, 1906; Heyns, 1978; Entwisle & Alexander 1992; Cooper, 1996; Downey et al, 2004). All children experience learning loss when they do not engage in educational activities during the summer and due to the cost of summer programs, children that come from lower income families experience more of a loss (Alexander et al, 2007).
According to the National Summer Learning Association (NSLA), summer camp programs can help stem summer learning loss. Camp is the experiential classroom. It is a place where children learn how to solve everyday problems that relate to social situations and how to managing time. Camps also provide them with opportunities to take calculated risks such as participating in the High Ropes Course or sing a camp song in front of peers. Numerous studies show that camps positively affect children’s self esteem, confidence and motivation, all which lead to improved academic performance.
Finding the right summer program for your family can be challenging. Indicators of a quality program include: licensing or accreditation, age of counselor and camp leaders, counselor to camper ratio and site or facilities. Of course other factors to think about are location, price and hours of operation. For a complete list of currently licensed programs visit: http://www.ct.gov/dph/cwp/view.asp?a=3151&q=400928&dphNav=|&dphNav_GID=1863.
Of course with programs such as Mega Science, Rocketry Camp, Film Making and our Reading Program, YMCA Camp Ingersoll intentionally supplements its traditional camp experience with enriching and educational experiences. Our Open Doors program also ensures that no one is turned away base on their ability to pay. For more information about YMCA Camp Ingersoll and nearly 20 camp programs visit www.campingersoll.org.