While summer vacation may seem ideal for many students, it also is idle for many.
Research shows students can lose two to three months of academic progress during the summer months, meaning teachers need to backtrack in the fall.
Bartholomew Consolidated and Flat Rock-Hawcreek school corporations have voted to adopt a balanced calendar, which shortens summer vacations to eight weeks and adds extra days to fall and spring breaks.
But Teresa Heiny, director of elementary education for BCSC, said students can still experience summer learning loss if their minds aren’t kept active.
So how can parents avoid the summer brain drain?
Enrolling children in a summer camp is one way, Heiny said.
And although some camps have already wrapped up, there still are options to choose from.
At Purdue College of Technology, which offered camps exploring animation, robotics and video games, kids built items, including FIRST Lego-League robots, and created computer-animated movies and games or a 3D virtual world.
The Columbus Indiana Philharmonic strings camp took place last week, offering beginner through advanced players music lessons alongside crafts and swimming at Ceraland Park.
While summer camps attract kids for the fun and games, there are educational components hidden beneath the surface.
The Foundation for Youth’s Summer of Exploration Day Camp allows students to learn about nature while hiking or developing interpersonal skills on the team challenge course.
Former camper, 11-year-old Austin Brown, said the camp taught him to be brave.
“I was scared of heights, but I learned how to not be scared,” he said. “It made me less shy, too.”
Liz Peterson-Damm, educator at kidscommons, said camps there cover a wide range of disciplines including art, science and even culinary skills.
“But it’s not so much in a classroom session where you have to stay at your desk and you’re expected to be tested on something,” she said. “It lets the campers explore different topics in an informal setting.”
Denise Brown, owner of North Start Montessori School, said she is excited to bring Camp Invention to Columbus this summer during the week of July 14.
Barbara Myer, who directs the camp at Allen Independent School District, said selecting a camp is an important decision for parents — and they won’t go wrong with Camp Invention. She said the curriculum allows children to fully express themselves by exploring different types of technology.
“Every year I am impressed by not only the level of thinking and time that goes into the curriculum but also by the level of fun and excitement that I see on my students’ faces,” she said.