Families looking for a high-quality summer learning program for children can now find them quickly and easily via an online map at www.afterschoolri.org. The map, compiled by the Rhode Island Afterschool Plus Alliance (RIASPA), an education initiative of United Way of Rhode Island, conveniently identifies more than 160 community-based organizations that will offer high-quality summer learning programs this summer. The online resource also includes the location and contact information for each program.
Organizations that operate these summer learning programs include Boys & Girls Clubs, YMCAs, libraries, community and neighborhood centers, parks and recreation departments, schools, summer camps, teen and youth centers and child care centers. Depending on the program, recreational and educational activities will include visual and performing arts, cooking, dance, swimming, soccer, reading, healthy living skills, music, nature exploration, photography and field trips.
Families can visit the RIASPA website then directly contact programs that interest them. Other organizations that provide summer learning programs and wish to be included on the map should contact RIASPA’s Joseph Morra at firstname.lastname@example.org or 444-0615.
Enrolling a child in an age-appropriate summer learning program is beneficial because research confirms that most children lose up to two months of mathematical skills if not engaged in active learning opportunities during the summer. This is known as “summer learning loss,” and high-quality programs can help to combat this loss.
“Summer learning programs provide students with safe, hands-on and experiential learning opportunities, and can also boost academic performance,” said Adam Greenman, executive director of the Rhode Island Afterschool Plus Alliance, an education initiative of United Way of Rhode Island. “In some of the programs we work with directly, 16 percent of students made gains in literacy, and 43 percent made gains in math.”
In a survey of the state’s parents conducted for United Way of Rhode Island and RIASPA, 93 percent of Rhode Island parents feel summer learning programs are important for a child’s continuing educational experience. Also, 78 percent strongly agree that summer learning programs help reduce the chances of children engaging in risky behavior. Many parents view summer learning programs as playing a key role in keeping children safe, boosting academic achievement, guiding children toward career paths and assisting working families.
The Rhode Island Afterschool Plus Alliance, an education initiative of United Way of Rhode Island, is a 1,200-member organization that serves over 15,000 children and youth statewide through its work with high-quality after-school and summer learning programs. RIASPA advocates for rethinking how, when and where children learn to ensure they are successful in school and in life. For more information, go to www.afterschoolri.org.