It is well documented that a lack of summer learning opportunities leads to “summer learning loss” – the loss of skills and knowledge that causes teachers to spend valuable fall classroom time re-teaching students who need catching up.
According to the National Summer Learning Association, the cost of re-teaching material that students forget due to summer learning loss is four to six weeks of school time, or $1,500 per student.
A UC Irvine study found that low-income children are more likely to fall into these unhealthy habits due to a lack of opportunity to participate in organized activities. Without access to summer learning activities, students may gain weight two to three times faster during the summer than during the school year.
As part of a nationwide effort to prevent summer learning loss, a growing number of school districts are recognizing the need to make providing equal access to high-quality summer learning programs a priority because they offer an unparalleled opportunity for children to learn while having fun, with nutritious meals and health and wellness education blended into engaging projects and activities.
In addition to the summer learning activities taking place in schools, there are also community-based organizations across California that are partnering in new and innovative ways – and opening their doors to students and their families – to make sure summer matters.
In Fresno, Los Angeles, Sacramento and San Diego, for example, local libraries have joined the efforts to keep kids healthy by jointly launching Summer Lunch at the Library programs to combat summer learning loss and summer hunger – offering summer reading programs along with free, healthy lunches through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s summer nutrition programs.
Although the onset of the school year will soon leave summer as a distant memory, we must continue to advocate for a coordinated and year-round approach to student health and learning that includes summer—it’s an investment in our students’ future. Parents, government agencies, community organizations, businesses, and school districts all play a role in setting students up for success. They are, after all, our future leaders and workforce that will help sustain our communities.