Walla Walla, WA - "I'm bored!" It's the battle cry of kids everywhere
during the summer. Experts say the answer is not more television or
video games, though, but activities that will stimulate children's
brains and bodies.
Today is National Summer Learning Day, calling attention to the need to
keep kids safe and learning new things, even when they're out of
school. That's more difficult this year in Washington, because many
schools that used to operate summer programs have cut them for budget
For children of farm workers, one challenge is to keep the students
speaking and reading English, so they don't fall behind between grades.
At the Children's Home Society in Walla Walla, director Mariela Rosas
says academics are only part of her program's responsibility.
"The safety of these kids is very important for this community, because
their parents work in the fields and they go to work early in the
morning, like at 4 a.m. sometimes. The kids stay home on their own;
they don't have anyone to supervise them."
Rosas says her program is busier than ever because there are so few alternatives for families in the summer.
Children's Home Society
parents are asked to pay what they can
to help with food and supplies for the summer learning program.
However, Rosas says, there is never enough money or staff, and the need
"By lunchtime, I have 75 every single day. As you can imagine, these
kids need somebody to take care of them. But two staff people and
volunteers - that is not enough. Some days, we don't have enough
The Center for Summer Learning
at Johns Hopkins
University says children lose two months of math skills and
lower-income kids lose more than two months of reading achievement over
the summer months if they don't have activities and supervision to keep
"brain drain" from setting in.
More information about summer programs and resources around the state is available at www.schoolsoutwashington.org