Preventing children's learning loss over Summer
The summer holidays are here again, which we all know means there are six whole weeks to fill with activities for the kids. In a UK survey*, it was revealed that 75% of parents noticed their child’s academic ability slip over the summer break. Their classes may have stopped, but it shouldn’t mean their learning does too.
Learning loss, often referred to as the “summer slide”, can have a significant impact on the progress children make academically, so what could parents do to support their child and minimise the impact of a long break in formal learning? Technology has its part to play and we can all relate to using it at times. To combat learning loss, experts say that parents should incorporate activities that can be done in a fun and engaging way to promote learning. And the best part is, children often don’t realise they are doing it!
“It’s all about finding that balance,” says Mike Richmond of Tutor Doctor Leeds Northwest. “Just because it’s the summer holidays, it doesn’t mean that education has to switch off. It’s completely normal – and surprisingly easy – for parents to incorporate learning into their everyday, whether it’s adding up the shopping bill or creating a unique world out of Lego.”
Here are Mike’s top tips for promoting learning over the summer:
1. Reading doesn’t have to be boring! For some students, they might be happy sitting down with a fiction book but for those that aren’t, why not get them researching your holiday destination – whether that’s in the UK or overseas.
2. Keep a diary. Not only does free form writing help build a vocabulary, it helps to develop their thought processes and really grasp how to articulate how they feel. Even if you’re not going away on holiday, they can still document their days: describing the activities they do, the places they visit and people they meet. If writing isn’t a strength then combine words with photos, ticket stubs or cut up leaflets and brochures to build up a great record of time spent together. This could even mean a trip to local library to explore different types of book. There are so many superb children’s authors at the moment!
3. Budget and schedule the holiday. Encourage children to practice budgeting your holiday money so you have enough to last. Ask them to allocate funds for every member who is going, as well as factoring in any activities you have planned and looking at a schedule or timetable. Children usually love doing this as it gives them a sense of responsibility. It also means they’re using everyday maths skills in a useful way.
4. Play board games. The holidays are a perfect time to play some board games as a family. Not only is it a great time to bond, but it can provide hours of entertainment for everyone. Games such as Scrabble or Monopoly are ideal for children to practice their spelling and counting skills without realising they are doing so. More unusual games like bao and carrom can help with fine motor skills, turn taking and developing strategy.
5. Get them in the kitchen. Encouraging children into the kitchen with you this summer might be difficult if the weather is nice, but it can be the perfect opportunity to practice a whole host of different skills. Reading and following recipes, measuring out ingredients and using their maths and science skills to make a meal or cake. You’ll also get the chance to promote kitchen safety, such as holding knives and operating the oven – which are invaluable life skills too. There are also some interesting young chefs out there with TV programmes and books who your son or daughter might be inspired by.
6. Develop their green fingers. If the summer does offer us some nice weather, getting children outside, and into the garden is a great way to keep both mind and body active. Children can learn all sorts; from the growth process of plants (measuring different sizes and figuring how much water they need) to key facts about all of the different species. It might not be something they use academically but entertaining them with different activities and learning techniques can help to keep their brain active.
Mike says: “Learning can be implemented in many ways and can prevent any learning loss over the holidays. Promoting education and supporting children throughout the summer can also help ease them back into things once they arrive back at school for the new year.”
If your son is an aspiring engineer or your daughter hopes to make it to Mars one day, Mike is hosting daily STEM workshops over the summer - taking children away from the screen, putting common materials in their hands and teaching them how to apply maths and science in everyday life. You can find out more and register your interest here: https://www.tutordoctor.co.uk/leeds-northwest/about-us/stem-summer-workshops/
For more information on various topics including promoting summer learning, helping to build children’s resilience and the importance of developing their mindset, listen to this Tutor Doctor podcast: http://tutordoctor.buzzsprout.com/197553/1330606-how-to-keep-kids-learning-in-the-summer-months
For more information or to speak with Mike directly, please contact Liam on 07395 641 523 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Images attached: variety of infographics on summer learning; Mike with his car.