Summer Break is Here…

June 9, 2011 at 3:59 pm Leave a comment

In a recent post Schools out — now what? on The GreatSchools Blog, author Connie Matthiessen raises questions about what really happens as a result of children having a full two and a half months off of school. The tradition of taking the summer off started when kids were needed as additional labor on farms; now this is not how the majority of kids spend their summers. And so it presents families with the challenge of finding something for their kids to do during the summer – for fear of how they may spend their time if not participating in some organized activity.  This morning, I also learned of a radio campaign sharing with families the importance of being especially engaged in their kids’ lives now that school was out for the summer. The idea being that through parent engagement during the summer kids will be safe from drugs, gangs and other kinds of trouble. In addition, Matthiessen shares results from a study that shows all students lose academic skills as a result of the break; but kids from low-income families have an even harder time because of a lack of access to summer learning opportunities.

It occurred to me that the question of whether or not your kids go to camp, take enrichment classes or if you can take time from work to spend time with them during the summer are all the questions of people who have means. But if your family is living paycheck to paycheck, you aren’t in a position to consider which summer camp to send your kids to, you don’t have access to pricey enrichment classes, and you can’t afford to take time off work to spend the summer days with your kids. What is the solution for families that lack the kinds of resources that allow us to ensure our kids have organized activities that will keep them out of trouble or continuing education opportunities that keep them from sliding backwards in their education?

But does a longer school year, or year-round school, rob children of the opportunity to experience the world outside their school? Does it eliminate the opportunity for extended visits with family, exploring new places, learning about real-world experiences?

At East Austin College Prep, a summer institute is offered to any of the kids working with The East Austin Children’s Promise programs. It is eight weeks of different classes that keep the kids engaged and give them real world experiences. With the first day of classes at the end of August, the kids and their families still have plenty of time to visit family and friends and enjoy the summer break as well!

– Narissa Johnson
External Communications Manager
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Entry filed under: East Austin Children's Promise, Education.

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