“The summer slide:” it reminds you of fun times at the park, but is actually a phrase for the loss-of-learning that can happen when children are out of school for extended periods. Studies indicate that teachers can spend months re-teaching forgotten material, and that the loss can be cumulative, resulting in significant gaps by the time students reach high school. The good news is that this loss is preventable, by avoiding “vacations” from active learning and reinforcement of learned skills.
Instead of sliding, help your children soar this summer, with activities that will expand their existing knowledge as they acquire new skills.
Sparkles! Tips for Summer Learning
Sparkles!, offers fun-filled days that capture the wonders associated with learning through “experiential learning.” Use some of our tricks-of-the-trade to combat the summer slide at home:
Let Their Interest Be Your Guide
- Sparkles! incorporates “kid requested” study topics to actively engage our students. Our clubs further support these student interests. At home, start by finding out what captivates your child’s imagination, connecting the dots back to areas of study.
- Visit the library for books that highlight your child’s interest and explore the topic by incorporating S.T.E.A.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math) activities.
- Then, take the learning into the real world. For example, if your child loves the beach, read about that, then pour sand and water into containers. Talk about volume and weight. Which container holds more? Let them play and discover basic principles for themselves.
Provide Engaging Experiences
- Going beyond field trips, Sparkles! provides experiential learning outside of the classroom. We visit museums, pools, libraries, nurseries, etc. to enhance knowledge in all learning domains (cognitive, social, emotional, physical and language). You can replicate this with your children all year round.
- Plan regular outings, such as every Saturday, that are fun and educational. For example, the National Museum of the American Indian’s 3rd floor has child-friendly interactive exhibits. You could also engage the senses at the National Botanic Gardens, or encourage fitness by exploring a new playground once-a-week. Our Blog has additional ideas.
- You can also nurture your child’s inner artist during these excursions. Have them take photos of favorite exhibits or write short stories about what they learned, capturing memories and reinforcing their experiences.
Set Goals, Build Habits
- Sparkles! specialized summer-themed programming is goal-oriented, and based on the 38 objectives for development and learning that we use throughout the school year. Help your child to set individual and attainable summer goals, too
- Did your child recently learn to read simple 3-letter words? Set a goal to learn 5 letter patterns over the summer. For example, learn “at” and how it reads with cat, mat, sat, bat, and pat, and then learn “an” in such words as can, man, ban, and pan.
- Perhaps your child recently learned division? Set a goal to complete one division worksheet together each week. During the week, discuss the concept of “division” through sharing. For example, “We have one pie. How can we divide the pie so that we each get one equal piece?”
The Summer Slide’s Bottom Line
By providing your child with interactive, engaging fun activities over the summer, with a few simple learning goals, you’ll do much to ensure the only “summer slide” they experience is at the playground.