Gallatin Valley YMCA Summer Learning
This summer, the Gallatin Valley YMCA will offer a learning loss prevention program for children entering first and second grade who are most at risk of falling behind in their reading skills over the summer. The Summer Learning Loss Prevention pilot program, a national initiative with the Y, will strive to help children read at grade level by the third grade – a key educational milestone that is important to children’s ongoing knowledge retention and academic performance.
Studies show that without access to summer learning activities such as camp, travel, and visits to libraries and museums, children from low-income environments can experience more significant learning loss than their more economically stable peers. Over time, these children continue to lose ground and by the fifth grade, many are two to three school years behind their middle- and high-income peers.
“During summer months, many youth are not as engaged in learning and reading activities as they would be while in school,” said Christel Chvilicek, Child Care Director, Gallatin Valley YMCA. “The Y’s Summer Learning Loss Prevention program will help ensure children stay on track over the summer and read at or above grade level when the new school year begins.”
The new pilot program will be held four days a week for six weeks this summer for 32 children entering into first and second grade. Mornings will be dedicated to literacy work, while afternoons are filled with enrichment activities that include field trips, art, music, science, and physical activity. In addition, there will be parent workshops designed to encourage reading at home. The Y will work with the Bozeman School District to identify students that would benefit from the summer learning loss prevention program. With $30,000 being awarded to the Gallatin Valley YMCA through YUSA, this program will be held at a very low cost to families.
"Research strongly suggests that for many children, increasing learning opportunities during the summer leads to stronger academic achievement during the school year. We're excited to be part of this collaboration." Said Dr. Rob Watson, Superintendent -Bozeman Public Schools
Nationally, the Y worked with nearly 1,000 children who participated in the Summer Learning Loss Prevention pilot program last summer. Initial results show strong gains in reading skills: on average, children gained 2.4 months of reading skills in six short weeks. In addition:
• Nearly all parents/caregivers (98 percent) reported that their child was “more excited to learn” and showed “increased self-confidence.”
• 99.7 percent families believed the program would help their child do better in school;
• 98 percent reported that the program helped their family read more books; and
• 97 percent said it helped them get more engaged in their child’s education.
The Y is committed to nurturing the potential of every child and teen and is addressing the academic achievement gap through pilot programs on afterschool, early learning readiness and summer learning loss prevention. The programs, which are underway in nearly 40 states across the country, are designed to not only increase success in school, but to also foster social-emotional development and physical health and well-being. As part of the national initiative, the Gallatin Valley YMCA is one of 15 Y’s selected to pilot the Summer Learning Loss Prevention program for 2014.
For additional questions on Gallatin Valley YMCA’s programming for children 3-14 years of age, please check out www.gallatinvalleyymca.org.