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Summer enrichment programs in California are presented by after-school providers, school districts, community groups, and by partnerships that have been formed between these organizations.

Characteristics of High Quality Summer Enrichment Programs

California’s high-quality summer enrichment programs share many characteristics:

  • They broaden youth horizons, include a wide range of activities, help youth build mastery, foster cooperative learning, and promote healthy habits.
  • They turn summer into a time of excitement for youth.
  • They provide enrichment and academic activities that form a bridge from one school year to the next.
  • They are safe places for youth.
  • Staff members develop individual and meaningful relationships with the students.
  • They foster active or project-based learning which helps students engage with the learning materials and carry what they learn during the summer into the new school year.
  • They may have a focus on literacy and the language arts.
  • They take kids outdoors where they use all their senses while learning.
  • They emphasize healthy food choices and provide opportunities for play and physical activities.
  • They often employ staff who are young and in the early stages of their professional development.

The key to providing a variety of activities for youth is bringing a variety of partners together to support the summer programs. Cooperation strengthens all parties by leveraging and maximizing all of a community’s resources, broadening the children’s horizons, and strengthening the children’s connections to their community’s resources for the rest of their lives.

Partner Attributes

When community-based summer enrichment programs create partnerships, they are looking for:

  • Individuals who can connect with young people, and bring positive energy and enthusiasm to their interactions with kids.
  • A solution-oriented, can-do approach.
  • Fun, engaging, and high-impact partnership activities.
  • Activities that involve different types of learning, such as movement, song, dance, and discussion, to keep kids engaged.
  • People and organizations who can provide resources and contribute to the enrichment and learning that is being provided by the summer program.
  • A willingness to learn about and understand the summer program’s organizational culture.
  • Partners who show a commitment to the summer program and to the partnership.