Sustainability, Green River Preserve, and the Educational Benefits of Summer Camp: Part VI (Final)

By Sandy Schenck

Summer learning loss is a growing concern in the media today.  A recent study conducted by ERIC Publications states that air-conditioning makes it possible for schools to provide comfortable learning environments year-round.  It continues by saying that children learn best when instruction is continuous; a long break affects special needs students, such as those learning English as a second language or those with disabilities, ADHD; and equity concerns.   The study details three approaches to preventing summer learning loss:  extended school year, summer school, and a modified calendar that replaces the summer break with shorter cycles of attendance and breaks.WOW!!!

Do you remember playing outside until Mom called you in for supper? Children today probably won’t.  

Summer camp promotes educational enrichment that enhances the development of our children.  A recent study by the American CampIMG_3427 Association confirms that summer camp is the single most important factor in youth enrichment next to parenting.  It is one of the best antidotes for summer learning loss.

Studies have shown that exposures to natural settings are widely effective in reducing ADHD symptoms and children who are less and less exposed to nature suffer from “nature deficit disorder.”   The United States is the largest consumer of ADHD medications in the world; and pediatric prescriptions for antidepressants have risen precipitously.   Researchers hypothesized that an increase in television viewing, as well as greater academic pressure at an earlier age, was contributing to increased usage. Schools with environmental education programs score higher on standardized tests in math, reading, writing, and listening.  Children’s stress levels fall within minutes of seeing green spaces.

As a nation, we should all be practicing a very resourceful and sustainable practice to promote health and well being in our youth; the use of our summer camps and experiential learning. Please join the camps of the American Camp Association in promoting summer camps as an advocate of reducing summer learning loss.  Visit the American Camp Association website and learn more about summer camp benefits.  Finally, contribute to the American Camp Association scholarship fund and help send a child to camp.    

Resources websites and books:
The National Wildlife Federation
The American Camp Association
ERIC Clearinghouse on Elementary and Early childhood Education Children’s Research Center, University of Illinois
The Children and Nature Network Blog
Cowboy Ethics by Jim Owen
Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv