PNS Daily Newscast - September 24 

Update: A second accuser emerges with misconduct allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavenaugh. Also on the Monday rundown: we will take you to a state where more than 60 thousand kids are chronically absent; and we will let you know why the rural digital divide can be a two-fold problem.

Daily Newscasts

Cure for Summertime Blues: Keep Hoosier Kids Engaged

July 2, 2012

INDIANAPOLIS - School's out, and Indiana kids are joyfully embracing a summer of fun and frolic. . . or not. That's an idyllic, and outdated, notion for many families with working parents and limited incomes, and local summer programs for kids cut back as a result of budget belt-tightening.

Jeff Smink, vice president for policy of the National Summer Learning Program, says the "summertime blues" can be hard on children in lower-income situations who are forced into idleness.

"Kids lose academic skills over the summer months, and particularly in reading. And then, there's also an emerging body of research showing that kids actually gain weight over the summer at rates much faster than during the school year."

Cheryl Miller, executive director of Indiana's Head Start Association, says Early Head Start programs run year-round, helping pregnant women with infants and toddlers. But not all of Indiana's pre-kindergarten Head Start programs run through the summer. Luckily, she says, parents in the program learn during the school year how to be better teachers at home.

"Over the summer, even if there's not a Head Start program, those parents still remain that child's first and most important teacher."

Often, children of pre-Kindergarten age are better off when they have access to year-round federal or state-subsidized programs. Jeff Smink says parents of K-12 kids should check with schools, libraries, and parks and recreation department to find out what's available to them. He says that, if there are no affordable programs, at the very least even working parents should try to find an hour a day to read with their kids.

Leigh DeNoon, Public News Service - IN