Monday, July 1, 2013

Welcome Summer!

Summer is the time for learning.  We have all heard about the tragedy of summer learning loss, but too often we translate that into thinking youth have to be engaged in “school” to be learning.  Nothing could be further from the truth!  Summer learning could certainly include traditional “school” things like reading, doing a science investigation, or learning about the neighborhood, but it can also include things like Cuisine 101 and Travel Agent classes, volunteering at the library or a preschool center, creating a scavenger hunt to familiarize yourself and others with historical sites in your community, or even going on a virtual tour of natural history museums around the world. 

Summer is the time for a different kind of learning, one that captures the interest of the youth involved and that will lead the youth to a deeper understanding of the topic selected.  In a Cuisine 101 class you might help youth create dishes they could easily replicate at home. For example, if you created a “Chopped” episode, you could ask youth to prepare pizza using bread, catsup, oregano and cheese and cook it in a solar oven that they made.  You could also have them experience a “beach barbecue” by having them roast hot dogs in a Pringle’s can.  Or perhaps you will let them make ice cream in a bag by becoming the “external” dasher.  All of these experiences will help the youth gain confidence in him or herself and could have a practical application when it comes time to fix a snack or dinner at home. 

Summer is time for you to learn something new as well.  What would you like to learn about?  Would you like to read a book a week, travel to a nearby attraction, volunteer at a homeless center, take a calligraphy class through the city parks and rec department, or walk every day for an hour, going somewhere different every day.  Whatever it is—giving yourself time to reflect and think uninterrupted, learning something new, or indulging one of your learning wishes—give yourself permission to be a summer learner.  Open your mind, take it all in, and consider what you want to learn next.

What are your summer plans?  Let us know—respond to this blog and share your plans with us.

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