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National Summer Learning Day

National Learning Day is July 14th. It’s intended to spread awareness about the importance of summer learning in helping close achievement gaps – a lofty and very necessary goal. The research is well documented despite many naysayers. Schools are doing their job. According to a study by John Hopkins University, students’ learning gains during the school year were nearly equal regardless of socioeconomic status. However, those who do not engage in educational activities over the summer experience learning loss. Summer learning loss is measurable and quantifiable and the cumulative effects directly contribute to broadening achievement gaps between low-income and middle-income students.

Summer learning programs aren’t just keeping kids busy over the summer. For many students they’re the difference between academic success and falling far behind their peers. High quality summer learning programs lead to greater student achievement and increased student academic and social engagement both in and out of school. They also help build the skills needed to excel in school and life. However, costs for these activities can be exorbitant.

There are ways to have no cost educational adventures. The local library is a great free resource. Check out books that interest your child and participate in free library summer programs. Go to http://santaclaraca.gov to see what happening at Santa Clara libraries and parks. Encourage your child to read every day and discuss or write about the books he or she is reading. With your kids, keep a journal of events, activities and reflections throughout the summer months. Here are some local ones.

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The Triton Museum of Art is open daily from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm and is free. Rotating exhibits highlight the museum’s permanent collection of 19th and 20th century American art. For more information, go to, tritonmuseum.org.

The Santa Clara Fire Museum is located at 1900 Walsh Avenue, behind Santa Clara Fire Station #2 in the old Training Center. The museum showcases memorabilia that has been in the Fire Department since its founding in the mid-19th century, as well as modern firefighting equipment and photographs. For more information visit santaclarafiremuseum.org.

The Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum and Planetarium houses one of the largest collections of Egyptian artifacts on exhibit in western North America — including objects from pre dynastic times through Egypt’s early Islamic era. It is free Wed – Fri, 4:00pm to 5:00pm. Children under 5 are always free. For more information, visit, http://www.egyptianmuseum.org.

To give math meaning, measure items around the house or yard, track daily temperatures and weather, add and subtract at the grocery store, and learn fractions while cooking. It’s never too early to start preparing for the next grade level. Find out what your child will be learning in the fall and introduce the curriculum over the summer.

For more information about summer learning programs and how to combat summer learning loss, visit, www.summerlearning.org. However you spend your sweet summer months, I hope there is plenty of family time, fresh air, good food, and tons of fun.

Contact Margaret Lavin at elementarydays@gmail.com.

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