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Suggested Citation:"1 Introduction." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Shaping Summertime Experiences: Opportunities to Promote Healthy Development and Well-Being for Children and Youth. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25546.
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Suggested Citation:"1 Introduction." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Shaping Summertime Experiences: Opportunities to Promote Healthy Development and Well-Being for Children and Youth. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25546.
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Suggested Citation:"1 Introduction." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Shaping Summertime Experiences: Opportunities to Promote Healthy Development and Well-Being for Children and Youth. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25546.
×
Page 8
Suggested Citation:"1 Introduction." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Shaping Summertime Experiences: Opportunities to Promote Healthy Development and Well-Being for Children and Youth. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25546.
×
Page 9
Suggested Citation:"1 Introduction." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Shaping Summertime Experiences: Opportunities to Promote Healthy Development and Well-Being for Children and Youth. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25546.
×
Page 10
Suggested Citation:"1 Introduction." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Shaping Summertime Experiences: Opportunities to Promote Healthy Development and Well-Being for Children and Youth. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25546.
×
Page 11
Suggested Citation:"1 Introduction." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Shaping Summertime Experiences: Opportunities to Promote Healthy Development and Well-Being for Children and Youth. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25546.
×
Page 12
Suggested Citation:"1 Introduction." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Shaping Summertime Experiences: Opportunities to Promote Healthy Development and Well-Being for Children and Youth. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25546.
×
Page 13

Below is the uncorrected machine-read text of this chapter, intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text of each book. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.

1 Introduction This report examines the experience of summertime for children and youth from the summer before kindergarten through grade 12, including its effects on their development, their access to and participation in summertime programs and activities, and the effectiveness of existing programs. Considered as the period that falls between the end of one school year and the beginning of the next, summertime was once thought of as a carefree time for children, including freedom from schooling. While this remains the case for the vast majority of this population, some children and youth do experience alternatives to traditional schooling during the summertime period. For example, year-round schools accounted for 3,700 of 90,000 public schools in 2011– 2012,1 and 1.7 million out of 56.5 million school-age children were home-schooled in 2016. Although such alternatives to traditional schooling and school calendars have become increasingly popular, there is not a deep body of research by which to judge their effectiveness.2 Moreover, there is too little available research on the developmental outcomes of these alternatives that would satisfy the evidence standards the committee has adopted to inform the central issues of this report. Recently there has been a growing awareness of the “summer slide” (Alexander et al., 2016), that is, the fact that children forget some of what they learned in one school year by the time they begin the next one. At the same time, there has been growing attention to the needs of children that extend well beyond schooling and the traditional school calendar year. How children and youth spend their time during the summer months can affect their health, well- being, educational attainment, and future college and career readiness (Alexander et al., 2016). The socio-ecological context of the lives of school-age children and youth and the settings where summer programs are offered provide diverse opportunities to meet children’s developmental needs, promote their health and well-being, and advance their educational attainment (Bronfenbrenner, 1979). AN UPDATED VIEW OF SUMMERTIME Summertime provides a special opportunity for families, schools, communities, and other sectors to work together to provide programs and services that promote technical and social skills development and advance learning as well as promoting healthy life-styles and behaviors. It is an opportunity to deliver services and programming that children and adolescents might not otherwise have access to during the school year. Summertime also presents children, youth, and families with an opportunity to play a larger role in deciding how they wish to spend their time, whether that be in structured or unstructured activities. At the same time, for some children it                                                              1 Year-round schools follow a modified school year calendar that maintains the traditional number of school days broken up by several short breaks in the calendar rather than a single, long summer break. 2 Charter schools would be included as an alternative, but most charter schools follow the traditional calendar. In 2016, 4.6% of children in public schools attended charter schools. PREPUBLICATION COPY, UNCORRECTED PROOFS 1-1

presents risks: reductions in supervised activities and structured time during summertime can cause negative changes in cognitive development and increases in negative risky behaviors, such as smoking, substance abuse, criminal activity, and participation in injury-prone activities (Jesperson et al., 2014; Loder et al., 2012). A developmental assets framework is useful for thinking about young people’s summertime experiences, because it highlights the opportunity for summer programs and experiences to provide external assets and to foster the internal assets of children and youth through supportive and enriching experiences. This last point is critical when considering the role of summertime in either reinforcing or redressing inequities. By contrast, a focus on family, parental, and individual factors in isolation fails to adequately characterize the unequal distribution of threats to learning, health, development, and safety across children, families, and communities in the United States. Within communities, barriers to accessing public and private services and institutions can affect some groups of children disproportionately, including children affected by parental incarceration, children experiencing homelessness, children with high rates of exposure to police, and children involved in the juvenile justice, foster care, or child welfare systems. At the same time, in many communities access to developmentally supportive and enriching summer experiences is dependent on parents’ financial standing. As a result, summertime can increase inequity if children from wealthier backgrounds who live in better-served communities participate in such experiences while their peers from less financially secure families and underserved communities (i.e., communities where they may face barriers to accessing resources and services) do not. Thus, for a wide variety of developmental needs and outcomes, summertime widens the gaps between children and youth in underserved communities and their peers in well-served communities. Yet this period also presents opportunities to close these gaps. Viewed through an equity frame, summer provides an opportunity for communities to ensure that all youth have access to experiences and settings that support their developmental assets. THE STUDY CHARGE AND THE COMMITTEE’S APPROACH Recognizing the key role of summertime in children’s development and the inequities in children’s summertime opportunities, the Robert Wood Johnson and the Wallace Foundation provided support to create the Committee on Summertime Experiences and Child and Adolescent Education, Health, and Safety to undertake a study of summertime experiences. The committee was charged with reviewing and evaluating available evidence on, and making recommendations for improving, the access to, participation in, and effectiveness of programs and activities for all children and youth in four areas: academic learning and enrichment; social and emotional development; physical and mental health; and safety, risk-taking, and anti- and pro-social behaviors. The full statement of task for the committee appears in Box 1-1. PREPUBLICATION COPY, UNCORRECTED PROOFS 1-2

BOX 1-1 Statement of Task An ad hoc committee will conduct a study and prepare a report on the state of the science on how summertime experiences affect school-age children (rising K–12) across four areas of well-being: (1) academic learning and opportunities for enrichment; (2) social and emotional development; (3) physical and mental health and health-promoting behaviors; and (4) safety, risk-taking, and anti- and pro-social behavior. The committee will review the available literature on summertime in the context of these four areas and make recommendations to improve the experiences of children over the summertime to promote healthy development and learning and reduce risky behaviors, as well as outline future directions for research. The committee will focus on the following topics, with particular attention to equity and context: • The impact of summer on the developmental trajectories of children and youth across the four identified areas of well-being; • The availability and accessibility of programs and experiences for children and youth during the summer across sectors as well as gaps in availability and accessibility; • Policies that increase or decrease the availability and accessibility of programs and experiences for children and youth during the summer; • The effectiveness of summer programs offered to children and youth; • Population-based disparities in the impact of summer on developmental trajectories, access to programs, and program effectiveness; • Parental, guardian, and caregiver support to promote the well-being of children during the summer; and • Programs and practices from other countries that could be implemented successfully in the United States. The final report will inform federal, state, local, and organizational decision makers regarding the development of programs and policies to support the healthy development and learning of America's children during the summer months. A Systems Perspective of Summertime Experiences The social, economic, and physical environments in which children live either promote or limit their summertime opportunities for positive development, healthy behaviors, safety, and well-being. These environments can be viewed as a large system composed of multiple subsystems or sectors, such as education, transportation, child welfare, and public safety and criminal justice, each containing its actors or agents. In a systems perspective, “agent” refers to people associated with a specific sector or subsystem within a system. Examples include but are not limited to parents (families), teachers (education), police (public safety), summer camp counselors (summer camp sector), and mayors (city government). Concepts derived from systems dynamics—such as feedback loops, reciprocal actions, delayed effects, consequences (intended and unanticipated), and nonlinear effects—are useful in helping to understand the developmental and health outcomes of children’s summertime experiences. (Figure 1-1). PREPUBLICATION COPY, UNCORRECTED PROOFS 1-3

FIGURE 1-1 A systems view of summertime. A system that promotes healthy development for children and adolescents during the summer months requires coordination and collaboration between numerous sectors and agents that adequately meet the needs of communities in order to achieve positive outcomes. SOURCE: Adapted from CDC, 2016. The committee uses a systems perspective, when appropriate, for examining outcomes and improvement opportunities in the four outcome domains of interest for children and youth during summertime. This approach captures the connectedness of the time periods preceding and following summertime in terms of outcomes and opportunities, as well as the interactions among subsystems or sectors and agents capable of affecting summertime experiences. It promotes a better understanding of the ways fragmented summer programing delivered by multiple, disconnected sectors may affect specific outcomes. The systems perspective can help identify targets for improvement as well as potential interactions between sectors and agents and the effects thereof, which can help frame potential recommendations. A system perspective also aims to be comprehensive. It accounts for funding and direct programing delivered through public (government), commercial, and nonprofit organizations, including nonprofit intermediaries operating between funders and service delivery entities. This approach also facilitates the characterization of key attributes of sectors (subsystems) and agents, such as funding models, types and forms of services, access and availability, target populations, and disparate effects. In addition, it acknowledges both self-directed and family-directed summertime experiences as important dimensions of a young person’s life.  Finally, the systems perspective that frames this committee’s work directs attention to the multiplicity of intersecting social contexts that pose barriers and present opportunities to the healthy academic and social and emotional development of many of our nation’s neediest children. PREPUBLICATION COPY, UNCORRECTED PROOFS 1-4

The Summer Months and Opportunities to Learn The amount of time students have for their summer break is dictated by the academic calendars in their respective states and districts, because public education policy and practice in the United States is largely determined at the state and local level. Delegating authority to the local level allows for variation in the design and delivery of public education across the nation’s 50 states and more than 13,000 school districts, but it also can exacerbate differences in opportunities for children. Most school districts still maintain mandatory summer remedial programs for students at risk of grade retention or, in the upper grades, credit recovery for courses not passed, but district- run programs for enrichment and acceleration are less common. Summertime learning and enrichment are generally governed by the resources available to children through their parents and in their local communities, resources that are more abundant for children in more advantaged families and communities. These opportunities include skill-building in camps and other programs, sports and recreation, and travel, as well as ready access to resources needed to meet their basic needs, such as adequate food and nutrition and safe environments. In contrast, many poor, disadvantaged, and minority children and youth lack access to the resources and opportunities that could keep them moving ahead academically in the absence of school. Further, these children also often face intensified food insecurity, less than adequate access to the nutrition needed for healthy growth and development, aggressive policing, and exposure to unsafe and violent neighborhoods. The charge to this committee asks whether summertime stands out as contributing distinctively to the latter children’s challenges, as well as whether summertime offers distinctive opportunities for children that can propel them along healthy developmental trajectories. While access to high-quality summer learning opportunities and other structured programs will not be a panacea for overcoming the weight of disadvantage, it can be a helpful step forward. Study Activities The 13-member study committee included individuals with expertise in education, juvenile justice, medicine, business, out-of-school-time programming, psychology, public health, public policy, sociology, summer learning, urban planning, and youth development (see Appendix D for biographical sketches of committee members and staff). The committee met in person five times and held one public information-gathering session as part of its data collection process. During the committee’s public information-gathering session, members heard from experts in rural health, programs and policy, human services and justice, American Indian health, and 4-H programs who discussed the summertime experiences of children and adolescents in rural communities. The committee also heard from people working in the private sector—in entertainment and hospitality (Walt Disney Parks and Resorts), for-profit summer camps (Camp Champions), and corporate community-based programs (Campbell Soup Foundation). They discussed strategies for engaging the private sector to improve summertime experiences. The committee undertook an extensive review of the literature related to the questions outlined in the statement of task. This review included searches of online databases, reviews of other relevant reports of the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine, and PREPUBLICATION COPY, UNCORRECTED PROOFS 1-5

information requests to stakeholder groups. The committee also received memos from knowledgeable stakeholder organizations and gathered information from federal, state, and municipal entities on programs and policies relevant to summertime opportunities for children and youth. In addition to published literature and research, the committee commissioned papers on international programs and policies on summertime activities for children and youth and on juvenile justice, child welfare, policing, and the impact of geography and the built environment on summertime experiences. Definitions There are varied definitions of two of the key terms that are found in the literature pertaining to this study’s population and the many factors that affect their summertime experiences. Those terms relate to the population of children and youth and to poverty and socioeconomic status. Children, Youth, and Adolescents The charge to the committee specifies school-age children, specifically, rising kindergarten (i.e., the summer before kindergarten) through grade 12. There are no datasets that use precisely that grade range, so the committee had to determine how to adjust the available data. For example, many datasets use the age range of 5 to 18 years for children, which is close to the specified range: some rising kindergarten children may be younger than age 5, and some grade 12 students may be older than age 18. Other datasets use K–12 to define school-age children, which is also close to the specified range. More problematic is the definition of “children” as anyone from birth to age 18; for these datasets, the committee has had to determine their applicability to the specified group. Within the category of children, youth, and adolescents, there are various definitions of early childhood and middle childhood, such as ages 3 through 8 and ages 9 through 11, respectively. There are also various definitions of adolescence, such as early (up to age 14), middle (age 15 through 17), and late adolescence/early adulthood (ages 18 through 24). In these schemas, early childhood overlaps the preschool, kindergarten, and early elementary school years; middle childhood overlaps the later years of elementary school; and adolescence overlaps the usual middle school grade structure (grades 6, 7, and 8) through high school. This correspondence is only approximate, as are the age boundaries used to distinguish periods of key physical and cognitive developmental milestones. In this report, the committee uses the terms “childhood” for grades K–5 and “adolescence” or “youth” for grades 6–12, unless the research being cited uses other ranges. Poverty and Socioeconomic Status Many of the terms used to describe conditions of poverty—such as low income or concentrated poverty—are based on the officially designated poverty line. For 2019, that amount was $12,490 for an individual, with increases of $4,420 for each additional person in a household (with slightly different rates for Alaska and Hawaii) (U.S. Department Health and Human Services, 2019). Three terms are often used in writing about poverty: PREPUBLICATION COPY, UNCORRECTED PROOFS 1-6

 near poverty: above the poverty line but less than 150 percent of the poverty line (though some sources use an upper limit of 200 percent of the poverty line);  poverty: not more than 100 percent of the poverty line; and  deep poverty: 50 percent or less of the poverty line. The commonly used terms “low income” and “lower income” (families or households) usually refer to incomes between 100 and 200 percent of the poverty line, though they may be used more broadly to refer to all incomes up to 200 percent of the poverty line. In this report, the committee follows the general practice of using “poor” to encompass individuals, households, and families whose incomes are up to 200 percent of the poverty line, unless a particular dataset uses other criteria. For geographic designations, poverty areas are those in which at least 20 percent of residents are poor, and extreme or concentrated poverty areas are those in which at least 40 percent of residents are poor. Such areas, neighborhoods, or communities often are characterized as distressed areas or areas of concentrated poverty. For socioeconomic status (SES), there are no generally agreed-upon criteria for distinguishing among discrete levels. Accordingly, such distinctions connote relative standing, such as lower or higher SES. This report uses those terms. REPORT ORGANIZATION Following this Introduction, Chapter 2 details the summertime experiences of the nation’s school-age children. Chapter 3 looks at the effects of those summertime experiences on children’s development, Chapter 4 examines what we know about the effectiveness of summer programming, and Chapter 5 turns to the effects of children’s circumstances on their summer experiences. In those last three chapters, we follow a youth development approach to address the statement of task requirements by providing responses to questions of quality, availability, access, and equity in the four domains of interest: academic learning and opportunities for enrichment; social and emotional development; physical and mental health and health-promoting behaviors; and safety, risk-taking, and anti- and pro-social behavior. Chapter 6 presents our conclusions and identifies opportunities for improvement and innovations by offering recommendations for policy, practice, and future research. REFERENCES Alexander, K., Pitcock, S., and Boulay, M. C. (Eds.). (2016). The Summer Slide: What We Know and Can Do About Summer Learning Loss. New York: Teachers College Press. Bronfenbrenner, U. (1979). The Ecology of Human Development. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Centers for Disease Control. (2016). CDC Programs Addressing Social Determinants of Health. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/socialdeterminants/cdcprograms/index.htm Jespersen, E., Holst, R., Franz, C., Rexen, C. T., and Wedderkopp, N. (2014). Seasonal variation in musculoskeletal extremity injuries in school children aged 6–12 followed prospectively over 2.5 years: A cohort study. BMJ Open, 4(1), e004165. PREPUBLICATION COPY, UNCORRECTED PROOFS 1-7

Loder, R. T., Krodel, E., and D’Amico, K. (2012). Temporal variation in pediatric supracondylar humerus fractures requiring surgical intervention. Journal of Children’s Orthopaedics 6(5), 419–25. Doi: 10.1007/s11832-012-0430-2. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2019). Annual Update of the HHS Poverty Guidelines. Retrieved from https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2019/02/01/2019- 00621/annual-update-of-the-hhs-poverty-guidelines. PREPUBLICATION COPY, UNCORRECTED PROOFS 1-8

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For children and youth, summertime presents a unique break from the traditional structure, resources, and support systems that exist during the school year. For some students, this time involves opportunities to engage in fun and enriching activities and programs, while others face additional challenges as they lose a variety of supports, including healthy meals, medical care, supervision, and structured programs that enhance development. Children that are limited by their social, economic, or physical environments during the summer months are at higher risk for worse academic, health, social and emotional, and safety outcomes. In contrast, structured summertime activities and programs support basic developmental needs and positive outcomes for children and youth who can access and afford these programs. These discrepancies in summertime experiences exacerbate pre-existing academic inequities. While further research is needed regarding the impact of summertime on developmental domains outside of the academic setting, extensive literature exists regarding the impact of summertime on academic development trajectories. However, this knowledge is not sufficiently applied to policy and practice, and it is important to address these inequalities.

Shaping Summertime Experiences examines the impact of summertime experiences on the developmental trajectories of school-age children and youth across four areas of well-being, including academic learning, social and emotional development, physical and mental health, and health-promoting and safety behaviors. It also reviews the state of science and available literature regarding the impact of summertime experiences. In addition, this report provides recommendations to improve the experiences of children over the summertime regarding planning, access and equity, and opportunities for further research and data collection.

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