New Canaan, CT—July 7, 2019 – Summer is not cancelled this year, and summer learning programming will be more important than ever in 2021. Across the country, summer programs are adapting and innovating to ensure children and their families can access quality summer learning opportunities and critical supports and services throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
Horizons at New Canaan Country School joins the National Summer Learning Association (NSLA) in celebrating National Summer Learning Week, a celebration dedicated to elevating the importance of keeping kids learning, safe and healthy every summer; ensuring young people return to school ready to succeed. That’s why during July 12-16, each day of Summer Learning Week is devoted to a different critical summer issue, from the enriching possibilities of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), to arts programming, to summertime programs that strengthen career development skills for young people. Horizons at New Canaan Country School joins communities everywhere in calling out the importance of high-quality summer experiences that offer children and youth, of all backgrounds, the opportunity to explore their interests and learn in new and different ways that are limited in the school year.
Our goal this year is to provide more than 260 underserved youth in grades Kindergarten through ninth grade from Stamford and Norwalk public schools with academic and enrichment programming and support. Nancy von Euler, Executive Director said, “We are grateful to be able to have our students back on campus this summer for an incredibly important summer of learning, growth and healing in our caring summer community.”
During the five-week program at Horizons at NCCS students are participating in literacy and math, as well as art, music, STEAM, PE, woodshop, cooking and swimming. Events are also a focus and a way to bring together the community and expose students to new things. Students look forward to themed "Wacky Wednesdays'', which are a special schedule of activities and experiences. Last week Horizons kicked it off with “Nature Day," and students had the opportunity to experience animal visits, fishing in Harden Pond, the ropes course in the NCCS woods, painting kindness rocks, chalk art, and a scavenger hunt. This week students will participate in an interactive Health and Wellness Fair to learn more about the importance of taking care of their physical and mental health including a visit from the Darien EMS, meditation, guitar lessons, yoga, Zumba and more. The Horizons at NCCS program strives to inspire learning, encourage success and close the opportunity gaps in summer learning that exist in Stamford and Norwalk.
“We know that summer learning loss is real, but we should not place so much of our focus narrowly on the summer academic slide that we ignore the many other “lost opportunity” summer issues that impact children’s physical, mental and emotional well-being,” said Aaron Philip Dworkin, NSLA CEO.
In the first-ever cross-sector study on summertime experiences, a committee of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine examined evidence on the outcomes of summertime experiences for children and youth in four areas of well-being: (1) academic learning, (2) social and emotional development, (3) physical and mental health, and (4) safety.
“Summer programs provide a unique space in education to pilot, partner, and close our nation’s educational and opportunity gaps,” said Dworkin. “By coming together as a national community, dedicated to the future success of our youth, we can ensure all kids in America, regardless of zip code and socioeconomic status, receive the opportunity to keep learning and growing all summer and all year long.”
NSLA’s website supports promotion of National Summer Learning Week with an events tracker, and robust resources for families, summer programs providers, and municipal leaders – all to help keep kids healthy and engaged during the summer break.