Shaping Summertime Experiences: Opportunities to Promote Healthy Development and Well-Being for Children and Youth
A study of summertime experiences for young people offers recommendations for improving the quality, equity and effectiveness of summer programming.
This report by the National Academies of Science’s Committee on Summertime Experiences and Child and Adolescent Education, Health and Safety—funded by Wallace and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation—examines the state of the evidence on summer learning in America, with a focus on the availability, accessibility, equity and effectiveness of summer learning experiences. The report, Shaping Summertime Experiences, looks at summer in relation to four domains of well-being: academic learning; social and emotional development; physical and mental health; and safety, risk-taking, and pro- and anti-social behavior. One of the committee’s key conclusions is that disadvantaged children and youth face many obstacles in getting their needs met across these four domains and in accessing positive summertime experiences. Another is that addressing young people’s basic needs, including safety and adequate nutrition, must be a prerequisite for summer programs.
Among the committee’s recommendations are that local governments develop quality management systems to assess existing summer learning experiences and address unmet needs; federal and state agencies look for opportunities to extend school-year funding and resources into the summer months; and philanthropic funders increase their support for intermediary organizations, which serve as “central organizing, leadership, fundraising, measurement, and support systems” for summer programs.