Academic Summer Camps
Academically focused summer camps are more critical to students’ development than ever before.
By: Erin Wynne, Assistant Head of School for Institutional Advancement and Susan Cranford, Associate Director of Admission
We have all heard or used terms such as “summer slide” and “summer learning loss. “ In fact, for years, in promoting our summer session we have pointed to Malcolme Gladwell’s book, Outliers, where Gladwell makes the case with statistical evidence that the single greatest factor in a child’s academic achievement is not a race, socio-economic status, or even IQ scores…but rather the level to which students have a structured academic experience during the summer.
And never has this statement held more weight than it does right now, in the unprecedented time we are all living through together. Even the very best forms of online school delivery cannot replace the kind of growth and learning that happens within a student as a result of the personal interactions between teachers and students, and students and their peers. A recent national survey conducted by RAND Corporation, in conjunction with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, found that sixty percent of teachers report that their students are less prepared for grade-level work now compared to where they were one year ago. And little is being done presently to close that gap. This can be especially true for students with diverse learning abilities who will be affected doubly by the loss of critical instruction and an extended period of potential regression in skills.
As the summer approaches, we no longer are looking just at addressing the ‘learning loss” that could happen over the course of the summer, but rather at the inevitable learning loss that has occurred for all students over the course of the last twelve months. The quality and continuity of instruction that our children have received have varied greatly. A summer experience that can combine both academics at the foundational and advanced levels with fun, outdoor experiences will be crucial to making up for the COVID-related disruptions in learning, and in addressing the social and emotional needs of today’s young people.
As we look ahead to Summer 2021, an academically focused summer camp is more critical to students’ development than ever before. Parents should be seeking academic enrichment and skill development in an atmosphere that inspires students to reach beyond their comfort zone, explore new activities, and reach their potential. They should also be looking for a destination where the kids can safely be outdoors in the fresh air and having fun!
Below are ten advantages to carefully selecting the right summer experience for your child.
- Significant impact on academic achievement – Small classes that meet the student where he or she is currently performing and then move them toward greater mastery and enrichment are key!
- Time outdoors and to be physically active – Summer session provides a wonderful opportunity for kids to run, swim, hike, bike, and enjoy nature. #playoutside!
- Development of key coping skills learning – Learn to live away from home with new peers and adults, students learn to advocate for themselves within an encouraging and supportive community, and they learn to take measured and manageable academic and social risks in the absence of their parents.
- Making life-long friends – Without the social and academic pressures of the school year, children can relax and truly be themselves. The low-pressure atmosphere fosters deeper, more meaningful friendships among the campers.
- Gaining independence – Summertime is the perfect time for kids to practice making good, informed decisions. Kids learn to manage their time and their choices. Of course, these newfound freedoms within a camp atmosphere are all experienced within a safe, structured, and supportive environment.
- Strengthening a positive identity – With the benefit of a well-conceived summer orientation process, kids are assisted in sharing with the community their interests, their ideas, and their aspirations.
- Enjoying free time for fun – Away from the structured and scheduled routines of the academic year, the summer session provides time for unstructured play where kids can laugh, take part in activities they most enjoy, and just have fun with their peers. Kids need to be encouraged to just be kids.
- Gaining leadership skills – Campers engage in activities that enhance their problem solving and communication skills, as well as learn how to be members of a “team.” Great camps nurture kids’ natural abilities and strengths while adults and peers assist in developing areas in need of additional support.
- Strengthening peer relations skills – A camp atmosphere is often one where there is a small close-knit community. Kids learn to cooperate with, respect, and be kind to one another.
- Find success and gain confidence – Students explore, practice, and discover talents and passion!
As a school that has successfully navigated the challenges of the pandemic and been able to offer full-time, in-person learning, we look forward to the summer and the opportunity to welcome students back to an in-person classroom environment where we can help them regain the academic skills, confidence, and self-esteem that come from meaningful, in-person student and teacher interactions.
Learn more about Eagle Hill School's Summer Session: Summer at Eagle Hill >>