If you are an educator responsible for providing a high quality summer program for children and youth in your community, you are probably busy right now with planning for summer.
It is easy to fall into the routine of this busy time and you want to make sure you finish the school year strong. Take just a moment to consider some of the proactive things you can do to take your summer program to the next level.
1. Brainstorm ideas for your unique program culture
High quality summer learning programs feel more like camp than school. If your program is school based consider decorating and re-branding classrooms and other learning spaces. With the right theme, you can transform a classroom into a cabin or a cafeteria into a mess hall. Or go with a space theme and turn the office into mission control. The opportunities are endless.
2. Sharpen your plan for professional development
Begin with the end in mind. What are your goals for the training? How will you achieve them? Consider what other support is available for summer program staff. Who will provide coaching? Focus on continuous improvement. Review the feedback you received on the training you provided last year. Are there changes you can make?
3. Find creative ways to give youth a voice
Public Profit developed a great resource, Creative Ways to Solicit Youth Input, that has many non-traditional ways to solicit input from youth, including interviews, collages, and song and dance routines.
4. Plan an event for National Summer Learning Day
Summer Learning Day is an annual national advocacy day led by the National Summer Learning Association (NSLA) to elevate the importance of keeping kids learning, safe and healthy every summer.
5. Engage a local leader as your Summer Matters Champion
Have your superintendent or other local leaders sign on publicly to say that summer matters in your community. You can also host a site visit with local stakeholders such as superintendents, school board members, and community members to highlight your summer program.
What are you doing differently to get ready for summer this year? Tell us in the comments below.
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