Students experience learning losses when they do not engage in educational activities during the summer. How can program directors maximize their time to effectively support students during the summer months?

Engaging and rigorous programming is one of the main components of an effective summer learning program. Summer learning should incorporate experiences that challenge students to discover new skills, explore new interests and tap into hidden talents. Consider the following strategies to expand students’ horizons during the summer:

  • Employ project-based learning (PBL): Plan a long-term project that allows students to gain knowledge and skills as they investigate a real-world problem. Study the power of wind while developing model sailboats, or run a lemonade stand after exploring entrepreneurship.
  • Build community partnerships: Connect with local businesses and organizations to bring relevant, real-world experience into your program. compiled a list of resources for building community partnerships.
  • Use technology: Incorporate digital technology to engage young digital natives and deepen learning. Play video games, discover computer programming or use Skype to connect with students from a different culture.
  • Provide physical activity: Take students outside for enriching activities that will get them moving, such as tennis, running and martial arts.

For more information, read the RAND Foundation’s report on boosting children’s learning in summer programs.