This research brief from Child Trends pulls together existing research on summer learning programmes and offers five ways to make them successful. According to the brief:
- Invest in educators. Programmes that hire teachers with several years of teaching experience are more likely to improve academic outcomes than those that hire university students or do not hire instructors at all.
- Connect with others in the field. Strategic partnerships between school and community organisations can lead to more diversity in funding sources, sharing of facilities and other resources, less duplication of services, access to a larger and more diverse pool of teachers and pupils for recruitment, and access to data about pupils’ year-round academic needs and improvement.
- Involve families. Research shows that children with parents who are involved in their academic lives are likely to outperform children without such parental involvement.
- Make it fun. Most programmes include experiential education – such as project-based or community service learning, thematic curricula, or adventure education – which has been shown to engage children and help them improve their grades, understand new material as part of a conceptual framework, and develop leadership skills.
- Plan, measure, and adjust. Find out what has been shown to work in other programmes, and replicate it.