Virtual Opportunities “STEM” Summer Learning Loss

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How can you address the increasingly prevalent phenomena of summer learning loss? According to a Fairchild & Baulay 2002 study, young people are at high risk of losing knowledge during the summer if their minds are not consistently engaged and stimulated. The extent of this loss is directly proportional to the grade level, subject matter, and family income. Sadly, there is also a  cumulative effect on the lower-income child as summer after summer they fall further behind, widening any in-school gaps that were present when summer vacation began. With our level of social interaction still remaining uncertain for the summer, 4-H summer programs all around North Carolina will allow you to stay at home with many virtual learning opportunities. So instead of being subjected to the cries of “I’m bored” and “there’s nothing to do”, you can take advantage of high-quality 4-H educational opportunities because many are virtual, self-paced, and FREE.

There is a striking video on YouTube from NBC’s Brian Williams where he discusses how summer learning loss puts students at an academic disadvantage by visually comparing low-income and middle-income children. The reality is that income will most likely determine whether a child continues to learn during the summer. Families with higher income levels are more able to pack up the trunk and head out for vacation destinations that stimulate the brain either relationally, physically, and/or mentally. Income allowing families may communicate with teachers at year-end and may have one parent at home to follow through with important advice to keep reading books and practicing math skills, the two subjects most affected by summer learning loss. Income allowing families also have greater resources and flexibility to sign their children up for summer learning camps and provide transportation to get there. Contrast this with low-income children who may potentially find themselves isolated, hungry, and bored.

This year, virtual summer programming can promote summer learning, taking away the transportation issue, and providing high quality and trusted content for your children to read and work on at their own pace. This is the perfect formula to prevent summer learning loss! Join Lee County and NC 4-H for a virtual summer fun program with eight thematic content areas for your child to explore! Most programs are offered as asynchronous, self-paced modules, with some live virtual events over the course of the summer. You will find programs on civic engagement, STEM, family and consumer science, plant science, personal development, animal science, environmental science, and healthy living.

A delegation of three Lee County 4-H members have already attended 4-H Citizenship North Carolina Focus, which was held virtually this year, with more than 200 youth and adults representing fifty-six 4-H programs across the state. Delegates participated in facilitated discussions and activities related to the importance of advocacy, local government, state government, and action planning. Through various conference sessions and facilitated discussions, delegates learned from leaders across the state and from other conference attendees. If this sounds intriguing to you then you should check into 4-H Congress. The NC 4-H State Congress is an annual educational event sponsored by the 4-H Youth Development Department at NC State University and planned by the State 4-H Council. This council is composed of twenty young people who serve as officers from their respective districts and four state officers who are elected at Congress. Youth ranging in age from 9 through 18 and representing every county in North Carolina will attend virtually on July 20-23, 2020. Congress is usually $150 for Lee County 4-H members but this year Lee County 4-H’ers can attend for FREE. Enroll at 4HOnline and register by July 5.

In Lee County, we are ‘committed today for a better tomorrow’ and 4-H meets that motto perfectly while also adding ours which is, ‘to make the best better.’ Help spread awareness of summer learning loss and eliminate low-income learning gaps by sharing information about educational activities offered over the summer. Ensure our students return to school in the fall ready to build on an enriching summer, and together, we can create a better tomorrow and make the best better. For more information on these opportunities or other 4-H programs, please contact Pam Kerley or check out this page: Lee County 4-H Summer Camps