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Summertime Opportunities to Promote Healthy Child and Adolescent Development: Proceedings of a Workshop—in Brief (2016)

Chapter: Summertime Opportunities to Promote Healthy Child and Adolescent Development: Proceedings of a Workshopin Brief

Suggested Citation:"Summertime Opportunities to Promote Healthy Child and Adolescent Development: Proceedings of a Workshopin Brief." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Summertime Opportunities to Promote Healthy Child and Adolescent Development: Proceedings of a Workshop—in Brief. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24606.
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Proceedings of a Workshop


November 2016

IN BRIEF

Summertime Opportunities to Promote Healthy Child and Adolescent Development

Proceedings of a Workshop—in Brief

What children and adolescents do and learn in the summertime can have profound effects on their health and well-being, educational attainment, and career prospects. To explore the influence of summertime activities on the lives of young people, the Board on Children, Youth, and Families held a workshop on August 25, 2016, “Summertime Opportunities to Promote Healthy Child and Adolescent Development.” The participants included people working in all facets of summertime activities: program providers, advocates, researchers, funders, and policy makers. The discussions covered a wide range of topics, including the value of play, healthy eating and physical activity, systemic approaches to skill development, program quality and measurement, and the interconnected ecosystem of activities that supports healthy development. The workshop highlighted the latest research on summer programming, as well as gaps in that research, and explored the key policy and practice issues for summertime opportunities to promote healthy child and adolescent development.

This brief summary of the workshop represents the viewpoints of the speakers and should not be viewed as the conclusions or recommendations of the workshop as a whole.

SUMMERTIME RISKS AND OPPORTUNITIES

Sarah Pitcock, chief executive officer of the National Summer Learning Association, opened the workshop with a discussion of summer learning loss and the potential benefits of summer programming. Students tend to lose ground academically over the summer, a phenomenon known as the summer slide. Pitcock noted that this learning loss tends to be particularly pronounced among children from lower-income families, who now account for about one-half of the nation’s public school population. When schools’ doors close for the summer, children from higher-income families are likely to participate in high-quality programming and have access to core tools for summer learning, but children from lower-income families are less likely to have access to those critical opportunities. “Summer is one of the most inequitable times of year—I believe the most inequitable time of year—across a number of domains,” Pitcock said.

Students from lower-income and higher-income families make progress at about the same rate during the school year. “The achievement gap is coming from the summer,” she said. “It is not coming from differences in the way kids learn when they’re in school.”

Only about one-third of households report that at least one of their children participates in a summer program. The other two-thirds of households report that their children are supervised by parents, by other children, or by themselves, said Pitcock, citing data from the Afterschool Alliance. About one-half of the families whose children do not participate say that they would if a program were available or affordable for them. It is the cost of summer programs—an average of $288 per week across the country and more than $600 per week in the most expensive ar-


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Suggested Citation:"Summertime Opportunities to Promote Healthy Child and Adolescent Development: Proceedings of a Workshopin Brief." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Summertime Opportunities to Promote Healthy Child and Adolescent Development: Proceedings of a Workshop—in Brief. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24606.
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eas—that makes them unaffordable for many families, including many middle-income families.

Lost opportunities are a problem for young people of all ages, she said. The number of summer jobs has been declining, leaving teenagers without employment and income opportunities. Another lost opportunity is support and mentoring for high school graduates: about one-third of graduates who intend to go to college and would be the first in their families to do so do not enroll in college.

“The good news is that summer learning works,” Pitcock said. Credentialed teachers, small groupings, planning, and multiyear participation all make a difference. Such programs are also cost effective for states: evaluations of programs in Massachusetts and New Mexico show that, dollar for dollar, gains in the summer are higher than during the school year. Even low-cost programs through libraries and other community institutions can make a big difference. Although awareness of the issue has expanded dramatically, Pitcock noted, funding and supportive policies have not followed suit. “We’ve hit the mark with awareness, but we have not hit the mark with changing attitudes and changing actions.”

Justina Acevedo-Cross, a program officer for the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, echoed Pitcock’s point for California. The Summer Matters Campaign in California is working with communities on high-quality summer learning opportunities, professional development and support for people who work with young people in the summer, and communication with leaders on the issue, but the challenge is to translate what has been happening in practice into policy initiatives. “In California, there’s been some deep work on practice, there’s been some deep work on systems, but policy hasn’t followed suit,” she said.

The goal, said Acevedo-Cross, is for all children to “have access to great programs that are not just about academics but help to expand their self-confidence, build their love of learning, expand their horizons, and maybe try things that they would never try before in a low-stakes way.”

PROMISING APPROACHES TO SUMMERTIME ACTIVITIES

As an example of a successful approach to summer programming, Chris Smith, president and executive director of Boston After School & Beyond, described the organization’s work to promote summer learning, so that young people can acquire the knowledge, skills, and experiences they need to succeed—not only in school, but also in college, work, and life. The three goals of this approach are to reverse summer learning loss; to build the skills necessary for success in school, college, work, and life; and to deepen school-community partnerships, with a particular focus on children who would not otherwise have these opportunities. The Achieve, Connect, Thrive Framework—depicted in Figure 1—codifies these as skills, “because we believe that they can be taught, learned, improved, and measured,” said Smith. Boston After School & Beyond

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Suggested Citation:"Summertime Opportunities to Promote Healthy Child and Adolescent Development: Proceedings of a Workshopin Brief." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Summertime Opportunities to Promote Healthy Child and Adolescent Development: Proceedings of a Workshop—in Brief. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24606.
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now includes more than 100 programs and reaches more than 10,000 children and youth.

The Boston approach has two parts to attract a broad network of partners that can engage children and youth with diverse needs and interests. The first part is focused on common goals that draw on strengths, such as working in a coordinated way and using the same measures. The second part promotes measurement of the relative strengths and weaknesses of programs, enabling them to improve, both individually and together.

The approach allows for “flexibility in implementation to make use of each program’s specific resources and assets,” Smith said. Third-party external observations provide an objective view of how well the programs are structured and organized, how strong the relationships are between students and adults, and how stimulating and engaging the programs are. That external perspective is complemented by that of students, which is obtained through a survey. When improvements can be made, resources are identified, and changes are approached at the city level, he said. And Smith noted that the program has been able to expand in part because Boston’s School Superintendent Tommy Chang and Mayor Marty Walsh have championed this work at the district and city levels.

A recently introduced bill in Massachusetts seeks to make summer learning an expectation in education. “The challenge in doing that is to figure out how we stimulate what is largely voluntary and not a mandate in the public policy domain,” Smith noted. “What would a citywide system of summer learning look like? I’m optimistic that we can demonstrate what’s possible by working together.” He identified a number of opportunities, including continuing to focus on participant engagement, program rigor, and clarifying how academic credits are earned during the summer months.

The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading is less of a program and more of a movement designed to address three problems, said Managing Director Ralph Smith. First, too many low-income children are too far behind in reading readiness when they enter kindergarten. Second, too many low-income children miss too many days of school. Third, too many children return to school in September having lost ground since June. “We built the campaign around seeking to find community-owned solutions to those three challenges,” he said.

The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading is now active in more than 285 communities in 42 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. It is sponsored by more than 2,300 local organizations and more than 250 state and local funders. Smith identified three lessons drawn from the last several years.

The first lesson is that summer needs to be rebranded as a unique opportunity for learning. Summer can be experienced as “a time for exploration, a time for enhancement, a time for support, a time to find and fan each child’s spark, as well as for remediation. We should see all of those as part of a summer learning effort,” Smith said.

The second lesson is that communities can organize to ensure more seamless and coherent transitions from school to summer activities. Summer needs to be more than a plethora of programs from which parents must choose a single program made for part of the day and part of the summer. When schools close for the summer, families still need an institutional anchor. For example, public libraries are ideally situated as omnipresent, ubiquitous institutions, a place that can accommodate a two-generation approach. “In those communities where public libraries are seen as the summer successor to schools,” Smith noted, “we’re beginning to see a qualitative difference in the relationship with kids and families.”

The third lesson is that the consumers of summer activities need to be informed to make good decisions. “That means we need to focus on good and timely information as well as the tips and tools that will ensure accessibility, availability, and meet the challenge of affordability.”

“Summer is a time when we could customize and personalize sets of programs, supports, and interventions that would allow [low-income students] not only to avoid the summer slide, but also to catch up and even leapfrog” their peers, said Smith. The challenge and opportunity is to take 200 to 300 hours over 8 to 10 weeks and produce significantly better outcomes. “The opportunity is boundless to use the summer months as a resource for learning—learning in the fullest sense of the word—while simultaneously addressing the needs of low-income children,” Smith said.

THE VALUE OF PLAY

Kathryn Hirsh-Pasek, professor of psychology at Temple University and senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, discussed research on how guided play supports academic learning as well as social-emotional development. For example, guided play with young children has been shown to increase vocabulary, which improves literacy and provides a foundation for later STEM [science, technology, engineering, and mathematics] learning, she said. In addition, research indicates that skills essential to success in the workforce, such as communication, collaboration, and critical thinking, are developed during guided play. “If we don’t change the lens on how we link play to learning,

Suggested Citation:"Summertime Opportunities to Promote Healthy Child and Adolescent Development: Proceedings of a Workshopin Brief." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Summertime Opportunities to Promote Healthy Child and Adolescent Development: Proceedings of a Workshop—in Brief. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24606.
×

we’re missing out on what the summer can offer children,” Hirsh-Pasek said.

Following up on this point, Laura Huerta Migus, executive director of the Association of Children’s Museums, noted that “play is a code word for a lot of different outcomes, motivations, and philosophies.” Sometimes a goal and sometimes the means to a goal, play is “our most natural way of learning and acquiring information and building all sorts of skills and relationships,” she said. Children’s museums are dedicated to play, and some cities are starting to bring designs from children’s museums into other places, such as bus stops, supermarkets, health clinics, and parks. She noted, however, that there is a critical need in that context to think about how to define and measure play.

Play can take many forms, agreed Brian Bannon, commissioner and chief executive officer of the Chicago Public Library. It can be physical, can involve objects, or can be sociodynamic, involving rules and symbols. Researchers are currently studying each of these different types of play and are identifying ways of leveraging these activities for specific community-level outcomes. For libraries, one result of this research is a greater ability to incorporate practices into a physical space that encourages particular activities: this approach also demonstrates to parents and caregivers how to appropriately play with children. For example, the Chicago Public Library has been designing a new 25,000-square-foot children’s library with play at its center.

Fran Mainella, founder and cochair of the U.S. Play Coalition (headquartered at Clemson University) and former director of the National Park Service, emphasized the importance of play as a tool for good health and well-being. In her previous position, she worked through partnerships and education to reach out to diverse populations to let all know the value of nature play found in parks, which can contribute to good health and life success for children through adulthood. The U.S. Play Coalition provides funding for research and action steps to address the crisis of play not being valued as an activity for learning. “The value of play is in the lives of not only children but all lives,” Mainella said.

Parents want safe places for their children to play, not only in formal spaces such as children’s museums, but also in informal spaces in the community. One example of such an initiative is PlayCorps in Providence, Rhode Island, which was described by Director Janice O’Donnell. PlayCorps is a program to make parks into safe places for free play by placing people with training in play techniques in the parks, to make them “friendly, welcoming, and safe,” with connections to a summer meals program. The program is a collaborative effort of the city’s Department of Parks and Recreation and Healthy Communities Office and two private nonprofit organizations: Partnership for Providence Parks and Providence Children’s Museum.

HEALTHY EATING AND PHYSICAL ACTIVITY

Children gain unhealthy amounts of weight and lose physical fitness during the summer, noted Michael Beets, associate professor in the Arnold School of Public Health at the University of South Carolina. Longitudinal studies have demonstrated that, on average, children gain weight faster in the summer than during the school year, even though they would be expected to be more active. They also become less fit, as measured by a timed mile run, and this is true for both boys and girls for all demographic groups.

No one knows exactly why this happens, Beets continued. Many reasons have been suggested: less physical activity, changes in diet, more screen time, different sleeping patterns, different parenting behaviors, home food environments, where children spend most of their time, and the people with whom they are spending their time. Although children in summer day camps are highly active, relatively few children have access to these programs. Another interesting finding, Beets observed, is that for African American elementary school children from low-income households, their average bedtime is after midnight during the summer. There is a pressing research need, he said, for studies that follow the same children from different population groups over time, both during the school year and in the summer.

Crystal FitzSimons, director of school and out-of-school time programs with the Food Research and Action Center, pointed out that children need access to healthy food to keep them learning and engaged throughout the summer. At the end of the school year, millions of children across the country lose access to the breakfasts and lunches provided through the National School Lunch Program. In addition, food insecurity (lack of consistent access to regular meals) tends to be higher in the summer, and food insecurity has been linked to both obesity and reduced learning.

At any time of year, children “who are hungry or food insecure have a hard time focusing,” FitzSimons said. “They are more likely to have behavioral problems. They’re less likely to achieve academically. They’re more likely to be absent. They’re more likely to be tardy.”

Overall, at the end of the summer, children are likely not only to suffer summer learning loss, but also to be less healthy. FitzSimons noted that about one-third of children who participate in summer nutrition programs receive their meals through a school lunch program, and the quality of these meals has been improving. Summer food programs could be expanded to meet the nutritional needs of many more children. FitzSimons said that research is needed to study the effects of summer food programs and learn more about

Suggested Citation:"Summertime Opportunities to Promote Healthy Child and Adolescent Development: Proceedings of a Workshopin Brief." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Summertime Opportunities to Promote Healthy Child and Adolescent Development: Proceedings of a Workshop—in Brief. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24606.
×

what happens to children when they are not in summer programs.

Michael Vaughan-Cherubin, program manager of the U.S. Soccer Foundation, talked about the foundation’s efforts to expand the game in underserved communities, as it has grown rapidly in more affluent communities. To counter obesity, a lack of mentors, a lack of safe places to play, and a lack of quality out-of-school and summer activity, the foundation has helped build fields, provide equipment, and otherwise support the game through its Soccer for Success Program. The program focuses on physical activity, greater understanding of healthy eating and activities, mentorship, and family and community engagement.

Since 2009, 71,000 young people have participated in the program, and studies show that 83 percent of the children in the top percentiles of obesity did not increase their body mass index or even decreased it. “Kids said they get more sleep, they exercise more, they make healthier choices, and maybe what we’re happiest about is that the parents are happy,” Vaughan-Cherubin said. Though the program has so far run mostly during the school year, it is moving to summertime, too, both as a standalone and as a supplemental program, and it is linking with other health-promoting programs. One challenge, he said, is how to fit the program into the 8 or fewer weeks that might be available during the summer. “We have to think about how we can change our program to fit into the smaller and unique summer window.”

SKILLS DEVELOPMENT

Summer programs can teach skills that are useful for jobs as well as school. Referring to Boston After School & Beyond, Chris Smith said that skills acquired in the summer, such as collaboration, communication, critical thinking, and self-management, are “a great unifier across sectors” because they are the skills that colleges, managers, and human resource departments want. “This is a great opportunity for the out-of-school time sector—and summer learning in particular—because a lot of these programs have the time and resources to show how these skills are relevant.” Identifying the skills that are being developed can help program staff to be more intentional about producing those skills. Boston After School & Beyond, for instance, developed a badging system that recognizes the attainment of specific skills.

Another program that focuses on cross-cutting skills is After School Matters, which provides opportunities for Chicago teenagers to explore their talents and interests while also gaining critical skills for college and work. The organization provides afterschool jobs, 7-week summer programs and jobs, pre-apprenticeships to gauge participants’ interests in various careers, formal apprenticeships, internships, and other opportunities.

The programs, most of which take place in Chicago public schools, cover a wide range of content areas, including art, the performing arts, STEM, and communications—“whatever teens are interested in,” said Senior Program Director Melissa Mister. The program also tries to reflect the job market, especially fields that that will need more workers in the future. Instructors receive professional development so that they can impart 21st-century skills, such as collaboration and communication.

The program served 24,000 teenagers in 2015, including 10,500 in the summer. The program also pays stipends, which encourage teenagers to participate in the program. “They’re not getting rich off it, but it’s something that allows them to not have to make the decision between a summer job or After School Matters,” said Mister.

New York City similarly invests in a network of community-based organizations and programs to alleviate the effects of poverty and create skills pathways during the summer, said Denice Williams, deputy commissioner for the Bureau of Planning, Program Integration, and Evaluation at the Department of Youth and Community Development. For example, the department’s Ladders for Leaders and Summer Youth Employment programs serve high school–age young people, with a particular focus on workforce development. High school students in the Ladders for Leaders Program have an opportunity to go to places like Google and Pandora to learn workforce skills. The school-based summer program has served close to 70,000 young people while helping its grantees develop the infrastructure to deliver and account for programs effectively. The two programs also build the staff skills to oversee their activities and ensure that children benefit from them.

Cities have a unique role to play in the afterschool and summer space, said Bela Shah Spooner, program manager for expanded learning at the National League of Cities. Cities can draw on a diverse array of resources, including libraries, parks and recreation departments, museums, and police and fire departments. They can be champions, bring programs visibility, convincing the public of the importance of afterschool and summer programs, collecting and sharing data, and investing in them. Cities can work to improve the quality of programs through standards, and they can convene partners and funders to address summer needs and eliminate barriers or provide incentives for parents and youth to participate.

Spooner reported that in a recent poll of cities, 75 percent of the 300 respondents said that summer learning was a priority. The respondents were using summer programs to address academic achievement, literacy, health and wellness, public safety, graduation rates, economic development, school attendance, and eco-

Suggested Citation:"Summertime Opportunities to Promote Healthy Child and Adolescent Development: Proceedings of a Workshopin Brief." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Summertime Opportunities to Promote Healthy Child and Adolescent Development: Proceedings of a Workshop—in Brief. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24606.
×

nomic development. Although many summer programs are run by nonprofit organizations, cities still provide programming in more than 50 percent of the respondents’ cities, and 40 percent indicated that their cities dedicated municipal dollars to summer learning. In addition, a large majority of respondents explained that their city donated in-kind resources, such as pool passes, bus passes, and physical space to summer learning programs. In addition, 61 percent of respondent cities indicated that they were organizing a coordination effort around summer learning, with strong involvement from public libraries, the formation of stakeholder taskforces, and, in some cases, data sharing. “We’ve been delighted to see the number of cities and the types of cities grow,” Spooner said.

PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

The need for professional development in summer learning programs was another topic addressed by several speakers. Staffs of summer programs and activities have diverse backgrounds and skills and turn over frequently. Pitcock said that this situation is an argument for a centralized or an aggregated function for professional development, which is usually best at the community level. “Maybe there’s one organization like a YMCA that serves 2,000 kids, so they are probably pretty well equipped at that scale to administer their own quality improvement process. But for every Y there are 50 smaller organizations that serve 20 kids each. . . .Those are the [people] and programs that are much less likely to be able to have the luxury of a focus on quality.” Building capacity at a central level in a community can provide widespread access to professional development tools and resources, she noted, and a centralized capacity also makes it possible to use common tools and frameworks.

Tension can exist between evidence-based standards for professional development and what local practitioners see as the needs of the children they serve, noted Acevedo-Cross. Children have different needs and interests, and no one institution can address them all, noted Chris Smith: meeting these needs “requires a coordinated response with an equally diverse array of partners.” Training and technical assistance also can help staff know how to meet the diverse needs of the children in summer programs, he noted.

CROSS-SECTOR COLLABORATION

Collective impact can result from efforts by multiple organizations that are aligned, said Rebecca Kelley, national director of achievement gap initiatives with the YMCA of the USA. Such impact requires planning and coordination among organizations. The YMCA, for example, seeks to strengthen the foundations of communities by supporting partnerships in youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility. Full-service community supports include families, afterschool networks, policy changes, and even the broader culture, all of which take on a “different flavor” when seeking to support children in the summer, said Kelley. Important issues include communication, shared goals, accountability, data sharing, and the provision of summer learning opportunities to children with disabilities.

Collective impact also requires overcoming barriers that are unique to communities, prioritizing issues, and finding and working with partners, said Kathryn Matthew, director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services. For example, many libraries work with summer meal programs, job providers, and other community members and organizations. Libraries are community-based institutions that work on cognitive, emotional, and social skills as much as on traditional educational outcomes. “It’s more about a holistic view that relates back to the community,” said Matthew.

Leveraging across different learning spaces can help to address disparities in summer learning opportunities, said Ellen Lettvin, senior fellow in informal STEM learning at the U.S. Department of Education. For example, the 21st Century Community Learning Centers Program is the nation’s largest out-of-school time program. It serves more than 1.5 million students nationwide, with a focus on students from families that cannot afford fee-for-service out-of-school programs.

The U.S. Department of Education is partnering with several federal agencies to bring high-quality STEM experiences and opportunities to engage directly with STEM professionals to students attending some of the highest-need schools nationwide. For example, a partnership with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) under this program serves students at sites in 16 states, where middle school students solve engineering design challenges modeled on challenges that NASA scientists and engineers are working on. Students have opportunities to interact directly with NASA scientists and engineers so that STEM professionals can both tell the students what inspired them to pursue what they do as well as give them tips on how to solve their engineering design challenges.

Governments and foundations are working at national, state, and local levels to foster out-of-school networks, said Jen Rinehart, vice president for research and policy at the Afterschool Alliance. She described the National Center on Afterschool and Summer Enrichment Program, which is funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to provide training and technical assistance so that children in low-income families have increased access to high-quality afterschool and summer learning experiences. Data show the value for linkages among organizations designed to build on and set the stage for school experiences, she added. “What

Suggested Citation:"Summertime Opportunities to Promote Healthy Child and Adolescent Development: Proceedings of a Workshopin Brief." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Summertime Opportunities to Promote Healthy Child and Adolescent Development: Proceedings of a Workshop—in Brief. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24606.
×

role can the summer program play in helping support that student during the regular school day?”

Parents are also a key part of the linkages, because parents make decisions about summer activities and pay most of the costs of afterschool and summer programs. Surveys show that parents realize the value of afterschool and summer learning, Rinehart noted. Enhanced partnerships between schools and other organizations can help parents find programs that will support learning and also help schools understand why partnerships are valuable. Public policy and public funding are needed to address the opportunity gap for lower-income families, she said.

DATA, QUALITY, AND STANDARDS

Multiple speakers discussed the need to use data to improve and maintain the quality of summer programming. Pitcock noted that these data can be as varied as the programs that generate them. Pre- and post-tests can bookend 4- to 8-week programs, and administrative data may answer some questions. Retrospective reflections can involve asking children to reflect on how they have changed. Evaluations can be done by participants, teachers, other staff members, as well as by parents, and they can be formal or informal, short term or long term, and formative (while a program is ongoing) or summative (after a program is completed).

Pitcock briefly described two available assessments. The Comprehensive Assessment of Summer Programs is a set of 80 research-based evaluative questions and the Summer Learning Program Quality Assessment is a tool developed to raise the quality of summer learning. Both are useful for quality assessment and evaluation, but she noted that neither deals with compliance, which tends to consist of a checklist generated by laws or regulations. Quality assessment and evaluation are about continuous feedback and improvement and should be done in a low-stakes or no-stakes environment, Pitcock said. Quality assessment involves understanding the planning and management of a program and interpreting data.

One example of the use of administrative data was discussed by Nick Mader, senior researcher at Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago and principal investigator for the Chapin Hall Collaborative. The collaborative links administrative datasets from agencies, such as public schools, departments of child and family welfare, the foster care system, the justice system, and the census to generate information that can feed back into practice. Connecting data can help these systems work together on the broad collection of programs and skills involved in summer learning.

Chapin Hall is a locally trusted, nonpartisan research institution, and it has scope under federal privacy statutes to house carefully managed and protected individual-level data. This arrangement enables technical safeguards, such as secure protocols and restricted-access servers for data sharing, along with legal safeguards through bilateral data-sharing agreements with a range of public agencies. The arrangement also builds relationships over time, providing the assurance of safeguards to local stakeholders. “That is a very long game, and that is one that we have played in Chicago,” Mader noted.

A different kind of data-related activity is the Data Quality Campaign, noted Rachel Anderson, associate director for federal policy and advocacy at the organization. This campaign looks at what states are doing with data rather than collecting data. Today, systems tend to be very piecemeal in evaluating programs and looking at outcomes in terms of health or education. In addition, privacy concerns are increasingly affecting data sharing, linkages, and access. Many of these concerns arise from “a lack of good communication about why data matter,” said Anderson.

The development of standards for summer learning is in its early stages, several speakers noted. But the need for standards is becoming more accepted as the importance of summer learning is more widely recognized. For example, children’s museums have come together as a community to identify a research agenda leading to metrics associated with a rigorous evaluation practice, noted Migus. “We’re excited about where that might take us.”

RESEARCH AND POLICY

Many research topics are related to summer programs, including learning, nutrition, health and wellness, jobs, mentoring, and socioemotional development, said Rachel Gwaltney, director of policy and partnerships at the National Summer Learning Association. Furthermore, summer programs build not only academic skills, but also self-confidence, the ability to focus, and collaborative skills, and these skills can be especially hard to measure.

The National Summer Learning Association has formed a Research Advisory Council to look at the three big issues of access, quality, and outcomes. Participation and costs are the starting points of many of the questions that need to be answered, and it is important, said Gwaltney, for researchers to be involved early in the design process so that they can measure impact and be in a position to improve programs. Some types of data would be helpful for many different kinds of research and could be a focus of data-gathering efforts. Partnerships around data sharing while respecting privacy are possible and could be very helpful in this area.

Pitcock observed that there are many opportunities for laws and regulations to include the development and use of quality indicators to ensure that children are getting the right experiences in the summer. Especially promising steps include expanding on the initiatives

Suggested Citation:"Summertime Opportunities to Promote Healthy Child and Adolescent Development: Proceedings of a Workshopin Brief." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Summertime Opportunities to Promote Healthy Child and Adolescent Development: Proceedings of a Workshop—in Brief. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24606.
×

that have been undertaken by libraries, public housing authorities, and other institutions; greater use of credentialing summertime learning through such systems as badging or portfolios; programs the summer before kindergarten for children who have not had high-quality early learning experiences; and self-sustaining models that blend fees with scholarships.

In general, said Gwaltney, “We know what works, and we know what kinds of quality characteristics translate to programmatic impact for kids.” But states are just beginning to include quality characteristics and requirements in state policy for summer learning programs. According to Deborah Moroney, principal researcher at the American Institutes for Research, researchers need to be ready to have conversations with states about the linkages between research and policy. For example, there are opportunities for the research community and policy makers to have conversations about the impact of summer programs on such measures as school climate and the outcomes identified in the Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants under Title IV, Part A of the Every Student Succeeds Acts.

Summer learning opportunities are ready to make a major contribution to the lives of U.S. children, several speakers pointed out. But, said Chris Smith, “we have to begin to imagine something bigger and better than what we have now.”


PLANNING COMMITTEE: Georgia Hall (Chair), senior research scientist, National Institute on Out-of-School Time, Wellesley College; Brian Bannon, commissioner, Chicago Public Library; Barry A. Garst, associate professor, Youth Development Leadership, Clemson University; Susan Magsamen, senior vice president and senior advisor, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Johns Hopkins University Science of Learning Institute, and Brain Science Institute; Deborah Moroney, principal researcher and practice area director for social and emotional learning and school climate, American Institutes for Research; Sarah Pitcock, chief executive officer, National Summer Learning Association; Heather B. Weiss, founder and director, Harvard Family Research Project, Harvard Graduate School of Education.

DISCLAIMER: This Proceedings of a Workshop—in Brief was prepared by Steve Olson, rapporteur, as a factual summary of what occurred at the meeting. The statements made are those of the author or individual meeting participants and do not necessarily represent the views of all meeting participants; the planning committee; or the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.

REVIEWERS: To ensure that it meets institutional standards for quality and objectivity, this Proceedings of a Workshop—in Brief was reviewed by Rachel Gwaltney, director of policy and partnerships, National Summer Learning Association, Baltimore, MD; and Jennifer Sloan McCombs, director, Behavioral and Policy Sciences Department, RAND Corporation, Washington, DC. Patricia Morison, National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, served as review coordinator.

SPONSOR: This workshop was supported by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation.

For additional information regarding the meeting, visit http://nas.edu/summertime.

Suggested citation: National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. (2016). Summertime Opportunities to Promote Healthy Child and Adolescent Development: Proceedings of a Workshop—in Brief. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24606.

Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education

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Copyright 2016 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.

Suggested Citation:"Summertime Opportunities to Promote Healthy Child and Adolescent Development: Proceedings of a Workshopin Brief." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Summertime Opportunities to Promote Healthy Child and Adolescent Development: Proceedings of a Workshop—in Brief. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24606.
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Page 1
Suggested Citation:"Summertime Opportunities to Promote Healthy Child and Adolescent Development: Proceedings of a Workshopin Brief." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Summertime Opportunities to Promote Healthy Child and Adolescent Development: Proceedings of a Workshop—in Brief. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24606.
×
Page 2
Suggested Citation:"Summertime Opportunities to Promote Healthy Child and Adolescent Development: Proceedings of a Workshopin Brief." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Summertime Opportunities to Promote Healthy Child and Adolescent Development: Proceedings of a Workshop—in Brief. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24606.
×
Page 3
Suggested Citation:"Summertime Opportunities to Promote Healthy Child and Adolescent Development: Proceedings of a Workshopin Brief." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Summertime Opportunities to Promote Healthy Child and Adolescent Development: Proceedings of a Workshop—in Brief. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24606.
×
Page 4
Suggested Citation:"Summertime Opportunities to Promote Healthy Child and Adolescent Development: Proceedings of a Workshopin Brief." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Summertime Opportunities to Promote Healthy Child and Adolescent Development: Proceedings of a Workshop—in Brief. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24606.
×
Page 5
Suggested Citation:"Summertime Opportunities to Promote Healthy Child and Adolescent Development: Proceedings of a Workshopin Brief." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Summertime Opportunities to Promote Healthy Child and Adolescent Development: Proceedings of a Workshop—in Brief. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24606.
×
Page 6
Suggested Citation:"Summertime Opportunities to Promote Healthy Child and Adolescent Development: Proceedings of a Workshopin Brief." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Summertime Opportunities to Promote Healthy Child and Adolescent Development: Proceedings of a Workshop—in Brief. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24606.
×
Page 7
Suggested Citation:"Summertime Opportunities to Promote Healthy Child and Adolescent Development: Proceedings of a Workshopin Brief." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Summertime Opportunities to Promote Healthy Child and Adolescent Development: Proceedings of a Workshop—in Brief. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24606.
×
Page 8
Summertime Opportunities to Promote Healthy Child and Adolescent Development: Proceedings of a Workshop—in Brief Get This Book
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What children and adolescents do and learn in the summertime can have profound effects on their health and well-being, educational attainment, and career prospects. To explore the influence of summertime activities on the lives of young people, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine held a workshop in August 2016. The participants discussed a wide range of topics, including the value of play, healthy eating and physical activity, systemic approaches to skill development, program quality and measurement, and the interconnected ecosystem of activities that supports healthy development. The workshop highlighted the latest research on summer programming, as well as gaps in that research, and explored the key policy and practice issues for summertime opportunities to promote healthy child and adolescent development. This publication briefly summarizes the presentations and discussions from the workshop.

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