Importance of Summer Learning
- Jun 10, 2015
Summer is here – and so are the long-cherished summer holidays! The very thought of summer vacations saturates the souls of students with vivid images of leisurely moments and an unlimited dosage of freedom. Every student eagerly waits for the commencement of a refreshing summer holiday-break. However, this seemingly rejuvenating summer vacation might prove to be a period of boredom for some pupils, being deprived of the company of their school classmates. There is more.
Concept of Summer Learning in a Nutshell
Summer holidays set in motion the great ‘summer slide’ among learners. Wondering what the summer slide actually implies? Well, it simply refers to the loss of learning that is prevalent in a majority of students when they are isolated from their academic institutions. The lack of a traditional learning environment during the summer vacations gives birth to an ever-widening crevice in terms of a student’s ability in Math, reading, and computational skills. Researchers have termed this knowledge gap as ‘summer learning loss’, in which the basic skills of a student start sliding backward.
During this time of the year, the essential information imbibed by learners during the year at schools tends to take a backseat in their memories. Now, this sort of a learning loss is generally observed among students belonging to low-income families. In order to enrich the students with infinite opportunities in the fields of academic, psychological, and personal growth throughout the year, numerous schools have designed diverse summer learning programs. These academic institutes have made the summer educational programs a mandatory part of the school curriculum. Generally, such unique academic sessions emphasize on boosting the language and Math skills of the students. Apart from that, students are also motivated to develop their leadership and personality skills in these summer training courses. Here is the best perk of summer learning programs: pupils of all ages are known to harness the immense potential of these summer classes. It inculcates a sense of responsibility in students to continue their learning processes.
Why Students love Summer Learning
Contrary to the belief of several students who feel that summer programs simply aim to aid learners who have missed out on a few normal classroom lectures, there is more than what meets the eye! Many students are attracted to summer learning since they boast of multiple benefits. Let me share a few goals of students who are keen to be a part of the exciting summer programs of their schools:
- Enhance their pre-existing skills and obtain new forms of knowledge
- Explore their areas of interests or expertise
- Connect with other learners with similar objectives
- Be receptive to a specialized learning experience that might not be available in traditional classrooms
- Get an idea of the college life in your school days
Examples of Summer Learning Programs
Do you know that summer learning options are not restricted to your schools? In fact, students can avail the golden opportunity of summer learning also at museums, colleges, centers that promote performing arts as well as at places of recreation. In addition, students are free to choose residential summer learning classes that offer housing facilities to their students. If you go for it, you would be capable of residing within the campus of the institute offering the program. This ensures that you will be able to interact more deeply with your fellow classmates. On the other hand, students might also choose to commute to their institute, as a day scholar.
Some of the most popular summer learning programs for high school students include:
- A creative writing workshop that generally spans over a period of five days and is normally held in a college campus
- A language class that might be conducted at a different school
- A 3-D game designing session at any computer camp with a duration of three weeks
- A six-week program held in a college that would impart lessons in subjects like Environmental Studies, Psychology, Engineering, and so on
- Last but not the least, summer learning programs might also involve Math sessions that are conducted at a community college.
Costs Incurred in Enjoying Summer Learning
While a large number of summer programs are exorbitantly priced, there exist certain summer educational events that offer financial assistance or scholarships. Why not speak to your school counselor regarding this issues? You might also go for the following summer learning programs that are comparatively more economical, as they are being funded federally:
- Upward Bound Summer Programs: These are basically summer learning programs that would groom you for your college. Students belonging to low-income households would be provided academic training and also psychological mentoring.
- Summer Programs of Governor’s Schools: Every year, such summer programs are offered to at least fifteen or twenty states. Students are selected on the basis of the recommendations of their teachers. And, students are also required to write an essay as a part of the application process.
How Summer Learning Helps Students
Let us now analyze the different ways in which summer learning empowers students.
#1. Triggers Cognitive Growth
Every classroom boasts of diverse learners. Some students struggle in certain subjects like Math or English. Now, there might be several other pupils who display exceptional dexterity in these subjects. The most important duty of summer learning courses is that their academic sessions are powerful enough to enable students to develop their cognitive skillsets. For instance, I have learnt about a few institutes that organize summer camps to enlighten kids on the basic concepts of Math. Similarly, you would come across schools that arrange different kinds of reading activities that enhance the cognitive growth of students. Therefore, students would get a chance to apply their knowledge and practice their newly imbibed skills during the vacations. You are already aware of the fact that practice brings in perfection in any field. So naturally, summer programs inspire youngsters to indulge in a generous amount of reading and other related activities that would help them grow their cognitive intelligence.
#2. Stimulates Personal Growth
Social interaction has been proven to be one of the most scientific processes of stimulating the personal growth of individuals, particularly students. The objectives of summer learning sessions vary between different institutions. You would find some programs that prioritize sports. Some others might highlight academics as its principle goal and a few others might even be based on leadership training. However, the common purpose of all these academic events is to help students transform into sociable creatures. Some of you might be contemplating about the role of summer learning activities in helping students grow into social beings. Let me explain. Summer programs generally provide a scope for a larger number of pupils to be involved in their learning techniques. They represent a heterogeneous population, belonging to different communities, religious, cultural or family backgrounds. Collaborating with such manifold personalities broaden the thought processes of students, thereby turning them into mature and responsible citizens. Furthermore, it assists pupils to unearth the secrets of effective communication and cooperation.
#3. Promotes Physical Activity
As I have already mentioned, summer vacation is a highly anticipated experience for every student. You must have noticed kids planning a lot of games and fun activities for their holidays. Obviously, these vacations are a welcome break in the life of every student and even teachers! But, summer holidays also mark a continuous period beyond the classroom environments of schools. So students often end up missing the company of their peers, games played at school, and interactions with their teachers and friends – when they are compelled to sit idle during their summer break. The loss of social interactions ushers in a kind of monotony for the kids. Consequently, they exhibit signs of aggressiveness, irritation, and even depression. When learners are engaged in receiving education during their summer holidays, the element of boredom is automatically eliminated. Sports activities or academic lessons would address these behavioral complications of students and offer them a healthy atmosphere where they can nurture their abilities. The presence of a proper routine similar to the class schedule of their schools would prevent an emotional trauma among students.
#4. Bridges Knowledge Gaps
Learning is a constant process. And when there is a break in this process, even for a couple of days, the quality of the knowledge that you have already gained starts deteriorating. Just imagine the plight of students who are absent from their schools for over a month! It is true. They do lose out on a considerable amount of wisdom during this period. This is an important reason why most educators recommend summer learning to students. It bridges every kind of knowledge gap beautifully. When you attend a summer learning program, you should also remember this – make sure that you attend the programs for at least two consecutive summer vacations. It creates an ideal learning environment for students wherein they are free to revise their lessons as well as learn something new every day. I will give you an example. There is a marked improvement in the reading skills of students. Moreover, their vocabulary also becomes stronger, thanks to these summer learning programs.
#5. Helps Low-income Students
Children representing low-income families are exposed to tough economic circumstances right since their childhood. Many of them grow up to become malnourished human beings who are incapable of leading a healthy lifestyle. Summer learning programs present a wonderful chance to such students. This is because there are some schools that aim to offer breakfast and lunch to their pupils — students who are deprived of proper meals. This is, in fact, an added feather on the cap of summer learning sessions. Moreover, these meal schemes also play a crucial role in encouraging students to attend these summer learning programs. Here, students are also required to participate in various types of physical activities like basketball, swimming and others that aid students in curbing childhood obesity. You would observe that students who are glued to the televisions sets during their summer holidays tend to gain weight more swiftly than their peers who attend summer camps.
#6. Develops Life Skills
You would be shocked to know that there still exist plenty of young adults who are yet to develop essential life skills. For example, they are at a loss when it comes to time management. Some of them might also be prone to losing their academic projects on the day of its submission or forgetting assignments! Summer learning would add a spark to the life of the students by helping them develop some significant life skills. Life is unpredictable. You never know what kind of circumstance might await you the very next moment. Therefore, you should always be ready to fight boldly against the adversities of life. When students are attempting to learn new skills or ideas, they are actually honing their capability to adapt to unforeseen situations. Of course, this would prepare them for every kind of incident. Students would also learn how to work together with a group of people towards attaining a common goal as they take part in multiple activities. It would also help in another way. Learning new things would enable students to polish their problem-solving skills.
#7. Grooms Students for a Professional World
This is probably one of the leading factors that contribute to a large number of students attending summer learning programs. Such programs are responsible for turning students into ideal candidates who would be more sought-after by potential employers than their counterparts who’ve never attended summer schools. For, students who have been a part of these sessions boast of higher language literacy, especially English. This makes them perfect candidates for all kinds of jobs. Students with a greater language competence would definitely crack an interview more easily as compared to somebody who lacks the confidence to write an essay in English. If you are really convinced about the importance of summer learning for children, ensure that you enroll your child for a summer learning camp this season. I am certain that your child would thank you in near future for taking the initiative and helping her grow.
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