School Age Summer Magic

Roberta Newman writes, “There’s something special about summer. It’s a special time. To dream, to kick back, to relax, to play, to learn new skills, to take time to get good at things, to enjoy life with friends, to have special kinds of excitement that seem like magic.” Roberta is right. There is something special about summer. Roberta calls this summer magic.  To me, summer magic is that warm fuzzy feeling that brings back fond memories of my own amazing summer experiences.  If we want our kids to have magical memories, then we need to create magical experiences.  Otherwise, mediocre experiences will leave behind mediocre memories. You see, the experiences we create are the memories we leave behind.  How do we create magical memories? Let’s look at the Indiana Summer Learning Standards as a guide.

The Summer Learning Standards outlines the best practices and recommendations specific to high quality summer programming for K-12 youth.  The standards define high quality summer programming as those who promote a wide range of academic achievement and positive youth outcomes. Summer learning programs help children catch, up, keep up and work ahead through hands-on learning, engaging programming, and creative projects-all that are fun! Here’s a snapshot of what to look for in high quality school-age summer programs:

  • Opportunities for Summer Magic and Learning
  • Activities that help kids catch up, keep up, and work ahead
  • Hands-on learning, engaging programming, creative projects and field trips
  • Wide variety of experiences tied to learning, including:
    • ü  Hands-on activities that promote critical thinking, explanation and creative expression
    • ü  Service learning/community involvement
    • ü  Experience the outdoors and the world around them through field trips & adventures
    • ü  Movement and exercise
    • ü  Learn and practice skills needed for success in school, college, careers and life
  • Trained and experienced staff

For more information on the Indiana Summer Learning Standards and to download, visit


School-Age Child Care Programs needing support

If you’re a child care provider looking to improve your school-age summer experiences, schedule an onsite technical assistance visit. Together, we will customize a diverse and dynamic summer schedule that’ll keep your school-agers engaged and wanting more.  Contact me by email or 574-360-3070.


Have a great summer!



Quote excerpt mentioned is from Roberta Newman’s article, Tapping in to the Magical Rhythms of Summer.



Karin Gilbert is ECA’s School-Age Specialist, serving Allen, DeKalb, Elkhart, Kosciusko, LaGrange, Marshall, Noble, St. Joseph, Steuben, and Whitley Counties.  Karin has a bachelor’s degree from Indiana University-South Bend and an Indiana Youth Development Credential.  She has 15 years of experience in school-age youth work. Karin provides support for providers of SA programs to increase the quality of SA care.

Contact Karin at 574-360-3070