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COVID-19 & Learning Loss: 3 Critical Reasons to Choose Your Summer Camp Carefully

By hook or by crook, you and your child are finishing one of the most challenging and nightmarish school years in recent history, congrats! Before your child gets too excited to sleep-in and watch TikToks, it’s time to talk about summer camp! The educational opportunities lost due to COVID-19 this year are daunting, so how should you be weighing your summer plans? Here are three considerations you may want to take.

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For the past year, much conversation has been had over what this school year would look like in a COVID-19-stricken world. This past school year has been nothing if not trying, between school openings then re-closures, to tech-issue-driven missed classes and assignments. However, with tremendous grit, and hope for better COVID-19-conscious schooling, you and your child have nearly crossed the finish line! But… what lies after the finish line? What considerations might parents want to make when choosing a summer camp this year?

To nobody’s surprise, but to everyone’s dismay, the COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on youth education. According to McKinsey & Company’s data analysis, student’s learned roughly ⅔ the math curriculum they usually would this fall. Moreover, students gained only 87% of the grade-level reading skills that have been historically expected. On the whole, most students were robbed of the curriculum they needed to learn this year in light of the pandemic. So, Summer 2021 can be a pivotal make-or-break point for many students.

1. Summer Learning Loss Is Substantial and Cumulative

Unfortunately, summer learning loss plagues students long past the start of Fall. Come the start of the academic year, students who’ve experienced an atrophy in their reading and math skills can expect a turbulent transition back into school. The shaky start of the school year can present learning challenges, and even hiccups months later due to gaps in students’ conceptual understanding. On average, students lose skills over the summer, particularly in mathematics. One can imagine if you forgot multiplication over the summer, you may especially struggle learning to multiply fractions in the Fall. Worse yet, the school year alone may not be sufficient to remedy significant learning losses from over the summer.

2. Summer Learning Camps See Results

In recent decades, educational researchers have sought to quantify the learning outcome disparities between students who attend summer programs and those who do not. Perhaps unsurprisingly, students who attended educational summer programs, which largely exercise students’ grade-level reading and math skills, experienced less “brain-drain” than their counterparts. In fact, a substantial proportion of students who attended summer learning programs did better than brain-maintain, they saw educational gains!

3. Quality Summer Programs May Be Hard to Find

Due to the necessity of maintaining the safety of both students and staff, for summer camps that open in-person may need to limit their availability. In an effort to abide to distancing regulations, and those set forth by the CDC, some camps may need to decrease their capacity. Moreover, quality summer programs are of little value if they suddenly close due to an outbreak at camp. As safety concerns aren’t a large enough burden on the supply of summer programs, demand is sky-high after a year of teary-eyed distance learning.

Local learning centers are already inviting students to enroll in summer camp, so be on the look-out! For instance, Tip-Top Brain is currently enrolling students in their STEAM-themed Summer Camp —covering everything financial literacy to astrobiology to comic books! Between parents working from home with their kids, and over a year of students being distanced, every kid on the block is looking for a fun summer camp experience, alongside other kids!

The only thing we have to fear about summer learning loss, is fear itself! Be bold in the war against summer brain drain. Summer educational losses have always been a fact of school, but the COVID-19 pandemic has already taken a massive toll on students this year. Whether you enroll your child in a summer camp or not, be sure to help your child keep their educational gains from this school year. Encouraging your child’s educational growth and nourishing their brilliant-brain with scholastic learning is the gift that keeps on giving. Given the school year students have managed, we see truly how much kids can adapt and grow, we just need to let them!

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