Summer Fun - and Learning TooMore in this issue
By the end of grade six, students who experienced summer learning loss over the years are an average of two grades behind their peers in learning. CEP's summer camp addresses that head on.
Many parents think that learning ends when summer starts for school students.
But with LAU, that is never the case.
With the Continuing Education Program’s (CEP) annual summer camp, children aged five to 12 get the carefree physical play kids love summer for, but also educational activities such as theater, astronomy, business, social skills and music. This “edutainment” aspect is more than just a perk — campers feel its benefits even after they return to school in the fall.
According to Kathleen Lynch of the Harvard Graduate School of Education, “On average, students lose approximately 2.6 months of learning over the summer,” and the effects go beyond individual regression, as “teachers have to give up weeks of class time to make up for that loss.” In addition, by the end of grade six, “students who experienced summer learning loss over the years are an average of two grades behind their peers in learning.”
The CEP’s summer camp addresses that issue head on. While the program is not straightforwardly academic, it complements children’s learning with instructional and experiential activities that keep their bodies active and their minds sharp over the long vacation.
“The summer camp acts to enhance children’s interest in school,” says CEP Director Charbel Azar. “We embrace the spirit of education via experiences, which keeps kids’ minds and imaginations active over the summer months.”
Camp sessions are taught by instructors who have experience in education and leadership. Instructors keep the children active and interested in classes that range from the physical (basketball and dancing) and educational (robotics and health), to character-focused (leadership and responsibility), to name a few.
Campers enjoy the experience. “I get so many emails from parents,” says CEP Program Coordinator Bushra Badran, who organizes and runs the camp every year. “They are so happy to see how their children develop and grow in ways they never had seen in previous summers, or even during the school year.” She pointed to a testimonial from a happy mother saying her son “came out of his shell” while at the camp and that he’d expressed interest in subjects she never thought he would, such as cooking and astronomy.
“The kids have a great time every day,” says Badran, “and they don’t even look at it as educational. It’s just fun for them.”
Each summer, the camp modifies some of its activities based on current trends in education and extracurriculars. “Recently we are focusing on STEM education at camp,” says Azar, “as well as character education, so the kids learn soft skills that will help them throughout life.”
“Program offerings such as the CEP’s summer camp address summer learning loss and introduce young minds to new knowledge, experiences and dispositions,” says LAU Assistant Provost for Academic Affairs Mona Majdalani. “Parents can be sure their children are fully engaged and don’t experience a mental slump over the summer the way they would if they were staying home.”
“Ultimately, we’re entertaining the kids while providing guidance at the educational and social levels,” says Azar. “It’s a comprehensive experience.”