On the East Side, learning does not stop when school gets out.
This summer, I visited two science programs for children of different age groups, both of which showed that education can continue well into the hottest months. That’s important: Research has shown that when children don’t participate in enriching summer activities, they lose significant learning by the time they return in the fall.
As someone who loved science and technology growing up, I know firsthand the positive impacts it can have on passion for learning and careers later in life. In high school, I started a tech consulting firm because of world-class teachers who helped me thrive. Now, that background underscores my work to build a smarter, more open and accountable city government.
These two programs, Science Explorers at the 67th St. Library and Breakthrough New York, both prioritize STEM (science, technology, engineering and math).
Science Explorers at the 67th Street library offers a fun science demonstration in front of kids and caregivers. When I went, a big crowd awaited. I was deeply impressed with how engaged and excited the children were to participate in the experiment.
Breakthrough New York is a summer high-school and college preparatory program for children from low-income families. This year, they added a coding class to help students learn the technological skills they need to succeed.
STEM careers are among the fastest-growing and reliable in a difficult economy. In the past decade, the number of STEM jobs has grown at three times the rate of other jobs. STEM jobs also tend to pay more. Our city’s ability to compete globally depends on thriving in STEM industries, which is why these jobs will be around for a long time. Not to mention, as I have learned by being in government, tech and science savvy is needed in public service and across all fields.
The future prospects that STEM can provide for children underscore the importance of such programs, and I encourage you to look for summer science activities and programs that are right for your family. However, it’s not simply about future opportunities. The hands-on summer science programs are fun and foster active minds. A summer of science is one way to fill a break and create opportunity at the same time.
Ben Kallos represents the Upper East Side on the City Council