Summer offers opportunities for kids to explore the world in new ways—and have fun doing it
I can’t believe it’s already the end of the school year! In just a short week, we’ll be changing our operational gears to “summer mode.” Kids may be ready for a break from the rigors of schoolwork—but that doesn’t mean learning ends because it’s summer.
Countless studies have shown that when vacation ends, many students may lose the math and reading skills they gained over the course of the year. But that doesn’t need to happen for Oakland students! Summer is a great time for students to strengthen their skills—and there are so many programs and activities available right here in our community.
OUSD Summer Learning Programs offer numerous opportunities for kids to keep learning and growing. Programs include preschool, Summer Bridge to Kindergarten, academic intervention and enrichment, Pre-Collegiate Academy for students entering grades seven through 12, High School Credit Recovery, Refugee/Asylee programs, and Special Education programs. Most of these programs are available at local schools.
Summer learning not only involves academic intervention for students who may be struggling. Summer is also the perfect time for kids to explore other interests and activities where they can connect with other kids, build confidence, and simply have fun!
InPlay Oakland offers a summer resource guide of free and low-cost summer programs that let kids explore everything from dance, coding for game development, and musical theater to basketball, archery, and track & field, to Lego building, video production, and glass fusion.
Of course, the Oakland Public Library is a great resource for Kids Summer Reading Programs—but there is so much more. Local libraries host Kids Summer Events like concerts, cooking, and petting zoos. The OPL Teen Summer Program includes reading, writing, games, events, and opportunities to win prizes.
Several Ed Fund Community United for Educational Success (CUES) grants partners offer summer programs for students of all ages. Camp Acta Non Verba (Camp ANV) provides experiences in farming and gardening, cooking, art, dance, archery, field trips and more. Campers also have the opportunity to earn money by selling the produce they grow. A Junior Counselor Program offers high school students leadership training and youth development experience so they can apply as a counselor at Camp ANV or other camps.
Higher Ground Neighborhood Development Corp. has several summer programs for students of all ages. The Outdoor Adventure Summer Program focuses on appreciating, restoring, and caring for Bay Area parks and neighborhoods. Campers experience outdoor activities while learning about environmental issues and activism. The S.T.E.M.S. Summer Program for elementary and high school students teaches tech-related science and engineering combined with camp experiences like swimming, hiking, and field trips to the Chabot Space and Science Center, Tech Museum, and more.
Safe Passages Summer Learning programs provide students going into Kindergarten through grade 12 with academic intervention and enrichment services. The program serves 1,000 students annually in schools across Oakland, and offers a range of project-based Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math (S.T.E.A.M.) opportunities and language arts programs.
Additionally, the City of Oakland Parks & Recreation Department has so many summer activities for kids, youth, and adults! They offer Red Cross swim classes for people of all ages and swimming levels, and youth scholarships are available. Town Camps help teach kids about the outdoors and respect for nature, help youth make new friends, and develop independence. There are programs for kids ages 3 and older. My own 4-year-old is attending the Town Camp with George Henderson and his fabulous team at Bushrod Parks and Recreation Center.
These are only a few of the summer programs and activities available to help kids stay busy exploring their interests, trying new things, taking field trips, and most important—having fun while they’re learning!
Enjoy your summer!
-Ali Medina, Executive Director