Posted on 07/21/2016 at 08:37 AM by YMCA of Greater Des Moines
The National Summer Learning Association reports that every summer, youth from low-income households lose two to three months in reading while their peers from higher-income homes make slight gains. Additionally, most youth lose about two months of math skills over the summer months.
By the time they reach fifth grade, these losses can leave disadvantaged students two-and-a-half to three years behind their peers. Looking even further ahead, a child living in poverty who can’t read at grade level by third grade is 13 times less likely to graduate on time than their proficient, wealthier peer.
At the Y, we’re committed to nurturing the potential of every child — tackling this achievement gap and preventing summer learning loss are important elements of this mission. Our Starfish Academy program at the John R. Grubb Community YMCA works with three Des Moines Public Schools to help students defy the odds and realize their potential. We do this by providing three meals, three hours in the classroom and four hours in various enrichment programming each day for six weeks. Over the last two years, our students have gained an average of 3.2 months of reading skills and have found a place to belong, build relationships and achieve goals.
The Starfish Academy is a community collaboration with multiple partners who help make the program a success, including After School Arts Program (ASAP), Des Moines Public Schools/21st Century Community Learning Centers, Everybody Wins! Iowa, FoodCorps Iowa, Iowa State University Extension, The Jane Foundation, United Way and the YMCA of the USA.
Here are some of the things we do in Starfish Academy that you can try out with your own kids this summer to keep them engaged and ready for the new school year.
Our Starfish Academy is finishing up this week, and we’re excited to share the results of another great summer of learning! How do you keep your kids engaged when school’s out? Share your tips in the comments!