Parenting Archive

SUMMER CAMP - The Antidote for Summer Learning

SUMMER CAMP - The Antidote for Summer Learning

Almost all children experience some degree of learning loss in the summer. Research spanning 100 years shows that students typically score lower on standardized tests at the end of summer vacation than they do on the same tests at the beginning of the summer (Council of Chief State School Officers 2006, Key State Education Policies on K-12 Education). “Summer learning loss” is a major concern to educators and national policymakers. However, research shows that learning loss can be diminished when children participate in camp experiences.

“After all, camp provides almost endless activities and social interaction opportunities, offering educational opportunities in nature’s classroom,” said Sharon Kosch of the American Camp Association (ACA) Northern California. “Camp teaches life lessons through art, music, sports, and a host of other activities. In fact, today’s camp is comprised almost entirely of teachable moments when children are actively engaged and using creativity and cognitive skills,” she continued.

Increasingly research is documenting the important role summer camp plays in education. According to the National Summer Learning Association (NSLA) and research conducted by Johns Hopkins sociology professor Karl Alexander, intentional summer programs—like camp—help stem summer learning loss, providing experiences that challenge children, develop talents, keep them engaged, and expand their horizons.

The ACA agrees, reminding families that camp fosters year-round education through:

Developmental Growth:
Developmental growth—such as independence, self-sufficiency, and learning to overcome adversity—is the foundation for academic achievement. Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic: Camp was founded by educators. Today camps continue the practice of using things like environmental studies, map reading, and habitat restoration to teach problem-solving, math, and biology. Camps also promote reading and writing, whether through quiet time in a bunk, or scheduled time for journal and letter writing. Camps specializing in math, language arts, and the sciences have grown steadily over recent years. Other camps have subtly comingled academically centered skill-building activities with more traditional camp activities.

Partnerships with Schools: Camps and schools often partner to create exceptional learning opportunities, even when school is not in session. According to the ACA’s recent survey on camp-school partnerships:

  • Fifty-eight percent of responding camps said they partner with schools either directly or indirectly.
  • About 43 percent of responding camps said that they partnered with schools primarily to keep children engaged throughout the year.
  • Targeted programs include teamwork, social skills, and problem solving. The results are promising:
  • 75 percent of campers report learning something new at camp (Directions – Youth Development Outcomes of the Camp Experience. American Camp Association. 2005).
  • Studies showed a statistically significant growth in thinking skills in children attending camp (Directions – Youth Development Outcomes of the Camp Experience. American Camp Association. 2005).
  • Summer camps can motivate students to plan and prepare to enter postsecondary education upon graduation from high school (Beer, Le Blanc, & Miller, 2008).
  • Summertime educational programs have shown increases in literacy (Borman, Goetz, & Dowling, 2009), reading comprehension (Schacter & Jo, 2005), and language learning (Feuer, 2009).

Camp as an extension of a traditional education is not a new concept. Early camp pioneers were mainly educators who recognized a need to continue learning throughout the summer in an environment that also allowed children to be children. In a 1928 Red Book Magazine editorial, camp advocate Frederick Guggenheimer stated that: “The school and the camp are complementary to each other — the one begins where the other leaves off.”

Why is camp so effective as an educational tool? Camp allows children to relax and just be kids. They can run, play, and get dirty. They develop friendships, have adventures, and sit on the grass and look at the stars. At the same time, they are learning hands-on lessons in math, writing, problem-solving, teamwork, and independence.

For those reasons, camps do an excellent job of extending a traditional education. Camps often fill in the blanks left by declining school budgets, providing art and music programming. Or camp is an opportunity to learn new skills, such as languages, sports or computers. Because of the hands-on nature of camp, even children who struggle in traditional educational settings often excel.

“To succeed in school and life, children and young adults need ongoing opportunities to learn and practice essential skills. This is especially true during the summer months,” said Kosch. “Summer camp can help stem summer learning loss and assure that children have productive things to do.”

About the American Camp Association:
The American Camp Association® (ACA) works to preserve, promote, and enhance the camp experience for children and adults. ACA-Accredited® camp programs ensure that children are provided with a diversity of educational and developmentally challenging learning opportunities. There are over 2,400 ACA-accredited camps that meet up to 300 health and safety standards. For more information, visit



By Diana Lynn, M.Ed. CCC-SLP

Children are born with an innate ability to learn language. Most children learn language naturally just by listening to their parents talk, and through normal processes, they begin to speak. However, some children do not or cannot learn through the natural procedures of listening, processing, and then producing speech. Children who are unable to learn through the automatic operation of language acquisition require specialized instruction to learn. If major disabilities such as mental retardation, autism, and hearing impairment have been ruled out, nonverbal children can be assumed capable of learning to understand and speak language.

Parents who speak normally and who provide language stimulation in their home are frequently perplexed when one of their children does not acquire language. Even though they have p rovided excellent models and supplied t he best educational tools possible for their child to acquire speech and language, sometimes these are not enough. There are a variety of theories why youngsters who appear normal in every way do not develop language atage-appropriate levels (e.g., heredity, oxygen deprivation at birth, poor nutrition, minimal brain dysfunction, and others). Most of the time, the exact cause of the problem cannot be diagnosed. Children who have had the opportunity to develop language and do not, require specialized methods to improve. Speech/language pathologists guide parents and work directly with children to help them develop communication skills.

Clinicians use numerous technique sand strategies to encourage speech and language development. First, clinicians encourage parents and caregivers to change the way they present language to the child. Therapists suggest that they speak slowly and clearly, that they use short sentences and simpler words, and that they constantly repeat what they have said in several different ways. The parents are urged to restate what they say and tousle “self-talk” or to state what they redoing, to increase the language input to the child. Therapists encourage caregivers to name objects and ask the child to point to them.

Both clinicians and parents use gestures to assist the child to carry out verbal instructions, and eventually, they give commands without the gestures. Therapists also stress the importance of getting the child’s attention when giving instructions or when giving him or her information. Clinicians use various techniques to improve the child’s output of speech. They employ oral-motor exercises and oral stimulation to increase lip, tongue, and jaw awareness, strength and control. Therapists touch various articulators, describe how sounds are made, and use hand signals as a visual representation of sounds to increase awareness of sound positions and productions. If motor planning is a problem, clinicians use exercises with sounds and syllables to improve child’s speech.

In the beginning, the child should be praised for his efforts to speak, not forth accuracy of what he says. Parents should accept any manner in which the youngster attempts to communicate with sounds and words even if his speech is not clear. Parents can model clear pronunciation for the child such as repeating what she has said but are urged not to correct her or him.

Speech/Language Pathologists use many strategies to expand language expression. Parents are asked to tell simple stories and to ask simple questions. The clinician suggests that parents not require the child to answer but to give her plenty of time to do so. Throughout the sessions, the therapist uses toys, books, puzzles, computer programs, and art activities to reinforce many different receptive- and expressive-language concepts.  If your son or daughter is receiving services from a speech/language pathologist, be sure that you understand your child’s goals and the reasons for the intervention strategies that are being used. Ask your child’s clinician to clarify anything that you do not understand. Work along side the clinician and follow through on suggestions to obtain optimum speech and language improvement for your child. 

Ms. Diana Lynn has practiced as a Speech-Language Pathologist and educator in this Francisco Bay Area for over 30 years and is licensed in the state of California. Therapists from her agency, Speak Right Now, service clients, including infants, children, adolescents, and adults at their home throughout the entire Bay Area and at the clinic in Milpitas.  

80 years of educating, Bay Area young women

Mercy High School • Burlingame
80 years of educating, Bay Area young women

Mercy High School, Burlingame, founded in 1931 by the Sisters of Mercy and located in historic Kohl Mansion, is a Catholic, college preparatory school for young women. In the tradition of the Sisters of Mercy, our students are encouraged to discover their talents, grow in faith, envision the future and take action. With a student body of 500 young women, we provide a unique community on the Peninsula in which each student is known by her teachers and classmates, and is challenged to reach her greatest potential. Annually, 100% of our graduates go on to outstanding colleges and universities such as Georgetown University, Johns Hopkins University, Rutgers, Boston College, NYU, UCLA, Cal, and Santa Clara University. Complementing Mercy’s exceptional environment for young women is the opportunity for our students to participate in a number of co-educational experiences through the Tri-School Program with Junipero Serra High School and Notre Dame Belmont. As members of the Tri-School Community, our students take part in coed classes, dances, service projects, Band, Orchestra and play productions……”Brother School” football and basketball games round out the “best of both worlds” experience!

Mercy offers an exciting college preparatory program designed to prepare young women for the demands of the twenty-first century. Mercy students + iPads + ebooks + 30 Advanced Placement and Honors courses in English, Mathematics, Social Science, Foreign Language, Science (including Forensics), and Visual and Performing Arts = enabling our girls to challenge themselves in all disciplines with the best resources. In addition to Spanish and French, Mercy Burlingame has maintained an unparalleled four-year, UC approved, program in American Sign Language. A wide variety of elective courses meet the needs of our diverse and talented student body. Mercy has a highly regarded Academic Mentoring and Educational Support Program, created to assist a limited number of assessed students who are in need of specific support to fulfill the requirements of our curriculum. A Mercy education emphasizes and develops the necessary critical thinking skills and strong written and verbal communication skills required of today’s university students.

In order to balance the academic rigor at Mercy, each student is encouraged to become involved in other aspects of campus life. Our extra-curricular programs feature numerous opportunities for students to share and develop their talents while performing, competing, leading, serving and celebrating. Mercy offers more than twenty-five clubs ranging from JSA (Junior Statesman of America) to the Ski/Snowboarding Club and hosts several informal and formal dances each year. There is something for everyone at Mercy!

Athletics are a valued part of student life at Mercy High School, Burlingame with 80% of Mercy students participating in at least one sport each year. Fall season includes water polo, volleyball, cross country, tennis and golf, followed in the winter by soccer and basketball. The year concludes with swimming, track, softball, gymnastics, and lacrosse. Mercy’s nationally competitive cheerleading and song leading squads require a year round commitment. Crusader teams have won league championships during the 2011-2012 school year and have sent a significant number of girls to CCS play and National competition. Varsity, Junior Varsity and Freshman level teams are offered in most sports, enabling more students the possibility of making a team!

Fine arts are an integral part of each student’s Mercy education. Mercy is renowned for its outstanding visual and performing arts program which includes drama, dance, chorale, instrumental music, studio art, ceramics, and photography including advanced, honors and AP sections. Performance opportunities in the areas of Dance, Chorale, Tri-School Chorale, Tri-School Band, Tri-School Jazz Band, Tri-School Theatre productions showcase the phenominal talent within our student body.

Campus Ministry is at the heart of our mission as a Catholic school; monthly school Masses, seasonal prayer services, grade level and Kairos retreats as well as service learning projects complement the four-year religious studies curriculum. Although 75% of the student body is Catholic, Mercy encourages and welcomes young women of all faith traditions to attend. Service Learning is essential to the mission of Mercy High School and the Sisters of Mercy. Through direct service and immersion trips, each student responds to the needs of the school community and the global community by providing a minimum of 20 hours of service each year.

A Mercy Burlingame graduate is:
a woman of faith
a woman in pursuit of
academic excellence
a woman of influence
a proactive global citizen
a woman of compassionate service

Mercy High School, Burlingame is dedicated to educating young women of all cultural, economic and religious backgrounds for academic excellence, compassionate service, Christian leadership, global awareness, and life-long learning. Research documents that there are distinct advantages for young women educated in a single gender environment: they consistently show higher academic achievement, are more career oriented, earn more advanced degrees, get involved more often in school activities, assume more leadership roles, and are more likely to major in math or science!!!

Additional Information:
President: Laura M. Held Principal: Lisa M. Tortorich
Enrollment: 500
Tuition and fees 2010-201: $17,256 Registration $600
Tuition Assistance: Tuition Assistance is offered to students based on demonstrated financial need.

Approximately 25% of the student body received financialassistance for the 2011-2012 academic year.

For further information please contact:
Ellen M. Williamson,
Director of Admission
2750 Adeline Drive
Burlingame, CA 94010
Sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy
650-762-1114 •