Why This Matters: Learning in the summer months is critical to students’ overall academic success. Charlotte-Mecklenburg’s cultural community provides ample free and low-cost opportunities to engage children and teens in fun summer learning.
By Lillian Parker
Summertime is synonymous with relaxing, playing and taking a break from school. But learning during the summer months is critical to students’ retention of material and overall academic success.
“Ask yourself, what happens when students go 10-12 consecutive weeks with zero learning experiences, enriching opportunities and structured social interactions?” said Dr. Barbara Ann Temple, ASC vice president of education. “The answer is simple: delay and decay.”
During the school year, parents and families see their children come home with homework designed to support the learning that happened in the classroom. In the summer, however, this reinforcement often goes missing for months at a time, and the side effects can be difficult to overcome once students return to school.
“When a student walks into any new school year significantly behind other students, whether academically, socially or emotionally, the gap continues widening and the chances to catch up are slim,” Dr. Temple said. “In Charlotte-Mecklenburg, we have ample opportunities during the school year—and especially during the critically important months of summer break—to work both individually and collectively to reduce, if not eliminate, the opportunity gap.”
Thankfully for both parents and kids, these opportunities pack in the summer fun. Engaging in experiences that involve reading, writing, the arts and movement will help children and teenagers continue to grow intellectually, socially, and emotionally.
“Whatever kids can do to think and behave creatively will help them be more successful when school reopens at the end of summer,” Dr. Temple said.
Try some of these free and/or low-cost activities around Charlotte-Mecklenburg this summer to close the learning gap and have fun with the whole family.
- Terrific Tuesdays at Children’s Theatre of Charlotte and ImaginOn, a shared program with Charlotte Mecklenburg Library
- Enjoy free attendance to shows every Tuesday at 1 and 3 p.m. with advance registration.
- Wells Fargo History Museum
- Free admission. Learn the history of the first gold rush in America and ride along in a stagecoach.
- ASC Public Art Scavenger Hunt
- Discover and learn about public art uptown.
- Art In Transit
- Download the CATS Art In Transit app and hop on the Lynx Blue Line to learn about public art along the light rail.
- Mint Museum Uptown at Levine Center for the Arts and Randolph
- Enjoy free admission Wednesdays from 5-9 p.m.
- Summer Break activities with Charlotte Mecklenburg Library
- Read, learn and explore all summer long with activity recommendations from Charlotte Mecklenburg Library’s summer learning program
- Summer camps by Arts+, Carolina Voices, Clayworks, Discovery Place, Girls Rock and more