Tuesday, May 29, 2018

The Summer After Kindergarten

How do children spend their summers? Do they play outside, hang out with Grandma, attend a summer camp, visit a zoo? The National Center for Education Statistics took a crack at answering this question in its Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 2010–11. The survey interviewed the parents of a nationally representative sample of 2010–11 kindergarteners in the fall of 2011 about their activities during the summer—the summer after kindergarten. The NCES then compared children's summer activities by family income and parental education.

Child care: Most children—74 percent—had no regular nonparental care arrangement during the summer after kindergarten. Only 7 percent went to a day care center, and 13 percent were regularly cared for by a relative (often Grandma). There were few differences in these numbers by socioeconomic characteristic.

Playing outside: Most children—76 percent—played outside every day during a typical summer week, parents report. This figure did not vary much by socioeconomic characteristic.

Summer camp: About one in four kindergarteners attended a day camp at some point during the summer. A summer camp experience was much more common for kindergarteners from higher-income (38 percent) than lower-income (7 percent) families. Summer camp was also more likely for children whose parents had a bachelor's degree (43 percent) than for those whose parents had no more than a high school diploma (6 percent).

Visiting beaches, lakes, rivers, state or national parks: Most children—86 percent—visited these summer destinations. While there were some differences by socioeconomic status, the gap was relatively small. Among the higher-income children, 91 percent enjoyed these activities during the summer. The figure was 81 percent among those whose family incomes were below poverty level.

Visiting educational and entertainment venues: Children from higher-income and better-educated families were more than twice as likely to visit art galleries, museums, or historical sites during the summer after kindergarten. Among those whose parents had a bachelor's degree, 65 percent had these experiences. Among those whose parents had no more than a high school diploma, the figure was 30 percent. The gap was smaller for zoos or aquariums (73 versus 54 percent), and even smaller for amusement parks (64 versus 55 percent).

Source: National Center for Education Statistics, The Summer After Kindergarten: Children's Experiences by Socioeconomic Characteristics

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