Summer Supports Interest-Based Learning

Summer Supports Interest-Based Learning

Author and educator John Holt wrote in his book, Learning All the Time: “Children learn from anything and everything they see. They learn wherever they are, not just in special learning places.”

Even amongst parental fears about “summer learning loss,” the phenomenon of children losing academic skills and knowledge over the summer months, there are many free and inexpensive ways to encourage learning for people of all ages during the summer. What’s more- programs, workshops, and educational events in the summer can give kids outside of school the chance to direct their own learning and develop new interests! The following are a brief selection of interest-based learning opportunities for children, self-directed teens, and lifelong learners: 

Summer Reading Programs

Summer reading programs for children, young adults, and adults, provide incentives for reading and social activities which draw people together to discuss books they are reading. Librarians and other patrons can provide book recommendations if you’re not sure what you’d like to read. Reading itself can be an interest-driven activity as readers choose books on their preferred topics. Summer reading programs can also be interdisciplinary.

This year, many Massachusetts libraries are hosting Olympics themed summer reading events, encouraging exercise as well as supporting literacy. Featured here are 11 libraries who have begun their summer reading registration. Contact them for more details. If your local library is not listed, they may still have events to support summer reading. And you can always start your own book club with friends and family!

  1. Adams Library. 413-743-8345. 92 Park Street. Adams, MA.
  2. Agawam Public Library. 413-789-1550. 750 Cooper Street. Agawam, MA.
  3. Emily Williston Memorial Library. 413-527-1031. 9 Park Street. Easthampton, MA.
  4. Forbes Library. 413-587-1011. 20 West Street. Northampton, MA.
  5. Gaylord Memorial Library. 413-538-5047. 47 College Street. South Hadley, MA.
  6. Jones Library. 413-259-3090. 43 Amity Street. Amherst, MA.
  7. Lenox Library. 413-637-0197. 18 Main Street. Lenox, MA.
  8. Storrs Library. 413-565-4181. 693 Longmeadow Street. Longmeadow, MA.
  9. Sunderland Public Library. 413-665-2642. 20 School Street. Sunderland, MA.
  10. Westhampton Public Library. 413-527-5386. 1 N Road. Westhampton, MA.
  11. Whately Library. 413-665-2170. 202 Chestnut Plain Road. Whately, MA.

Resources for Interdisciplinary Learning

Without the added academic pressure of testing and assignments, independently driven learning opens up endless opportunities for educational activities which draw from multiple subjects. Interdisciplinary learning opportunities can help people develop new interests they didn’t know they had!

Makerspaces and Makers’ Clubs invite people to collaborate on…anything they want! These projects are often a merging of S.T.E.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math), with creativity and art.

Exploring local cemeteries can open up pathways for learning about local history, New England history, natural history, and stonework.

Nature Centers across the Pioneer Valley invite people of all ages to follow their passions for the great outdoors while learning about scientific topics such as biology, ecology, habitat, and more!

The examples above are just a few highlights of resources for interest-based and interdisciplinary learning. Peruse our list of weekly suggested events each week for programs to interest you and your family all summer long! Also visit our comprehensive list of summer camps and programs for nearly 70 programs in the region supporting a wide range of interests.

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