For Immediate Release - June 20, 2014

SUMMER LEARNING CELEBRATED IN NATIONAL DAY OF RECOGNITION AND LOCAL EVENTS

Resources for Families to Support Children's Development Year Round

BOSTON – As summer officially begins, the Department of Early Education and Care and communities across the Commonwealth are highlighting the importance of fostering children's learning year round.  This effort coincides with the marking of national summer learning day today, which is an effort across the country to spread awareness about the importance of summer learning for our nation’s youth in helping to close the achievement gap and support healthy development in communities across the country.  

On Saturday June 21st, the Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) will host "Let's Celebrate Families and Learning", an event that will provide STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) and literacy activities for children and resources for parents on fun learning activities to engage in with their children.  "Let's Celebrate Families and Learning" will be held in Lawrence, Massachusetts and over 100 families are expected to attend.  EEC partnered with the Department of Housing and Community Development, Department of Children and Families, Department of Public Health, Head Start and the Greater Lawrence Community Action Council on outreach to ensure participation of high-needs and at-risk families.

“It is important that children are engaged throughout the summer so that they do not lose any gains achieved during the previous program or school year," said Early Education and Care Commissioner Tom Weber.  "Summer learning loss is real and contributes to achievement gaps among children.  These summer learning events and resources are available to support all families in helping their children continue to advance forward in their academic progress.”

Also on Saturday June 21st, the Berkshire United Way and Pittsfield Promise will host a summer learning kick off to celebrate the start of summer and provide resources for parents on supporting their children's learning, in an effort to prevent loss of academic gains.  The event will be held at Wahconah Park in Pittsfield and will include a book swap and exercise activities.  Berkshire United Way is a partner with the Department of Early Education and Care in promoting early childhood collaborations across community-based and public school settings to advance children's learning and success. 

“Providing out-of-school-time academic and enrichment opportunities for all kids regardless of economic status is a key part of closing the achievement gap,” Kristine Hazzard, President and CEO of Berkshire United Way said. “We’re hosting a huge National Summer Learning Day event that emphasizes raising awareness around what literacy rich opportunities are available to parents who, once school gets out, may find themselves asking ‘What am I going to do with my kids over the next eight weeks?’”

The Department of Early Education and Care oversees over 10,000 family child care and group child care programs across the Commonwealth, including programs that operate during the summer months.  In addition to providing financial assistance for families to access these high-quality programs that support their children's growth, development and learning, EEC works within local communities to provide resources through partnerships with libraries, museums, parks, family health centers, and in other informal settings.  These resources include an online calendar of "brain building" events and "brain building zones" across the state (www.brainbuildinginprogress.org), and media-based child development tools for parents to use with their children (www.resourcesforearlylearning.org).

###