By Anne E. Mead, M. Ed.
Consuelo, a mom of three from Danbury, emailed me last week to ask about what she can do with her children during school vacations and summer. She is concerned that she isn’t able to help her children with much of their schoolwork but she wants them to continue to learn during school vacations. Sarah, thank you for your email. You bring up a great point about helping your children to continue to grow and learn during vacations while making it fun. As my first article stated, “You are your child’s first teacher and will always be.” Plus, there are ideal programs that encourage both student and parent learning available in the city during the summer.
Summer learning loss is a serious topic since children can lose skills they have gained during the school year if they don’t continue to read and be challenged intellectually during vacations, especially the summer vacation. Most studies show that children who don’t read drop two months of grade level math and reading skills during the summer months. Instead, when children are enrolled in enriching experiences such as small group learning activities, trips to museums and activities such as reverse engineering, reading and math challenges, they continue to excel during the summer. Additionally, children who are not active during the summer often see weight gain, may become engaged in unhealthy behaviors and begin school in September behind their peers.
To counteract the summer learning loss, Danbury Public Schools offer programs that are 6 or 7 weeks in length for children to learn, share learning with peers, and explore and discover new topics not covered during the regular school day. The programs offer greater flexibility with children and families’ needs, as well as programming for parents!! During April vacation and summer, there are part- and full-time programs. The part-time program is in the morning and is usually subject specific, while the full day program is 7 am to 6 pm, with many different activities for the day. These programs run on a sliding fee scale and there are scholarships available to full-time working parents. The full-time program during the summer also offers the OWL Program (On With Learning) individual tutoring four days a week by certified teachers. Children who have attended this program in previous years have made significant gains in their academics. Many of the Danbury schools will be offering other summer learning programs and Kindergarten Summer Skills for those children who have not attended any preschool programs will be offered.
There are several other programs run throughout the city during the summer that are all worthwhile to look into. More on those later in the winter but in the meantime, I want you to start thinking about summer as program enrollment begins in January. What program will your child enroll in? Direct any questions and suggestions to Anne Mead at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Anne E. Mead, M. Ed. is the Administrator for Early Childhood Education and Extended Learning Programs of the Danbury Public Schools. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact her at 203-830-6508 or email@example.com.