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How Summer Vacation Took Hold in the U.S.

Bloomberg – Stephanie Mihm

“Planning a trip to the beach, a lake, or some other spot in the great outdoors in the next month or so? Please take a few moments to thank a small but influential group of reformers, idealists, and busybodies who created an enduring American institution: the summer vacation. Prior to the late 19th century, few Americans took breaks from work. The ethic of hard work and deferred gratification popular among the Puritans — never mind the simple fact that few people could afford to get away from tending farms — limited leisure.”(more)

How to keep your kids out of the ER this summer

Medical X-Press – Staff Writer

“Make sure safety is part of kids’ summer fun. “With kids spending more time outdoors, there is more opportunity for everything from broken bones, sprains, strains and lacerations, to tick bites and heat stroke,” said Dr. James Dwyer, director of emergency medicine at Northern Westchester Hospital in Mount Kisco, N.Y. “Accidents will happen, but there are many steps parents can take to help prevent injuries without spoiling the fun,” he added in a hospital news release. Children should always wear shoes. “When kids shed their shoes, they are at risk for splinters and cuts from broken glass as well as tick bites,” Dwyer said, adding that foot cuts are among the most common summer injuries his hospital treats.”(more)

Forget Archery, These STEM-Focused Campers Are All About Robotics and Chemistry

Education World – Joel Stice

“Some campers this summer are skipping on traditional summer camp activities like canoeing to try their hand at something a little more futuristic — like, fighting robots for example. “You start out with a picture of the robot,” said 11-year-old, Mateo Dody. “You uncheck (the box) when you’re done with a step, and you go to the next step. It’s quite simple.” Dody is just one of many students around the country this summer participating in STEM-based summer camps. The camps focused on STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) have students working on everything building solar ovens to roast s’mores to using forensics to search for clues in mock crime scenes. It’s a way for educators to connect with students who have a passion for science and math in a no-pressure environment. The camps run the gamut from some that are free and just a few hours over the course of a week, to others that can be expensive and cover a good chunk of the summer. They’re tailored to different age levels and interests, to offer students programs that are not only fun, but challenging.”(more)

Helping your child succeed: Summertime: A great time to begin learning a foreign language

Marianas Variety – Jane Elizabeth Hamilton

“Children who study one or more foreign languages during their school years reap numerous personal, cognitive and academic benefits. Through foreign language study, they learn about different cultures and ways of life, and expand their views of the world. Additionally, they have higher scores on tests of academic achievement than their monolingual peers. Below are some details about the benefits of foreign language study: Personal benefits. One advantage of studying a foreign language in school is the exposure it gives students to different cultures, beliefs and ideas, and new ways of thinking. Individuals who can understand, speak and read in more than one language have the ability to communicate with more people, read more diverse types of material and benefit more fully from traveling in other countries. As students learn about different cultures and different ways of life, they expand their horizons and understanding of the world.”(more)

School’s out, now what? 3 ways to keep kids learning during summer break

The Los Angeles Times – Michelle Maltais

“Sure, summer’s great with its carefree, longer days and sweet break from the routine of the classroom. Here’s the bummer: Over break, kids can actually lose what they’ve learned over the previous school year. Researchers call it the “summer slide.” Summer break widens achievement gaps between kids from kindergarten through high school. And, like many things, it hits poor children harder. As kids from higher-income families actually raise their reading skills during the time off, kids from lower-income families lose two to three months of reading skills in the summer – which they don’t make up in the school year. That means by the fifth grade, they can be behind their peers by 2½ to three years.”(more)

The Dreaded Summer Slide and How to Tackle It

Education World – Joel Stice

“It’s a safe assumption that nearly all students enjoy the break from homework and test taking that summer brings. It’s also during this roughly two-month vacation that learning retention starts to slip. The result is that teachers generally have to spend the first month or so at the beginning of the school year bringing students back up to speed on previously covered material. Some 66 percent of teachers said that they have to help their students get caught back up at the beginning of the year, according to a survey conducted by the National Summer Learning Association (NSLA). Reading, spelling, and math skills are generally the subjects most affected during the long break.”(more)