BUHL, Idaho — Many educators see summer learning as more of a necessity this year than in years past as the school year winds to a close.
The students of the 2020-2021 school year learned in a way no other generation has — navigating irregular schedules and formats while wearing face masks and staying socially distant. Now, there is a push for summer school to lessen the impacts the pandemic has had on young learners.
Idaho State Board of Education member and previous President Debbie Critchfield said early reports and feedback from school districts indicate early learners in kindergarten and first grade, as well as middle school students learning math, were the most impacted by the pandemic.
“The focus for any family or any student should be, 'What can I do in the summer that helps me stay connected to some type of learning?'” Critchfield said. “At the very basic level pull out a book and go sit outside in the shade, it can be as simple as that.”
While many school districts are extending learning in some form throughout the summer, Critchfield said not to wait for the local districts to provide opportunities.
Places like the Buhl Public library are also focused on providing opportunities for kids and teens once school is out.
“A lot of it is that they have been distracted by the pandemic,” said Deborah McGough-Fuller with the Buhl Public Library.
The library is focused on encouraging youth to continue learning this summer, as well as bringing the community back together after the pandemic. Pre-registration for their summer reading program starts June 1–5 with the program running from June 7 to July 31.
The library also hosts a weekly story walk for senior citizens to come tell their stories on a walk to the Buhl City Park. The library is also hosting an upcoming book sale from 1-5 p.m. May 20.
“That process of reading and learning about your environment is just so huge and it helps them developmentally," said Maegan Hanson with the Buhl Public Library. “It is amazing what people can learn from stories.”