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.
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.