How to Avoid The Dreaded ‘Summer Slide’
Avoid the dreaded ‘Summer Slide’ with summer camps and learning activities!
Summer vacation offers a welcome escape from homework and non-stop school routine. Yet eight weeks without any reading, writing and arithmetic can negatively impact a young mind. In fact, children can lose up to one month of school learning over summer vacation according to the Brookings Institution. This ‘summer slide’ or ‘learning loss’ impacts reading, and especially math.
If you’re like me, you buy a few grammar workbooks and download a math app at the start of summer. Yet by mid-July, the actions don’t match the intentions. As busy parents, we may not have the time, ability nor the confidence to contribute to our child’s learning. So here are five easy, practical and sometimes free ways to help promote and maintain your child’s summertime learning:
The easiest way for many families is a few weeks of educational summer camp. This can be a conventional tutoring-style camp for math or reading. Or, it can be an enrichment day camp centred around science, art, drama, music, computer programming, languages, creative writing or natural science. Kids may learn science concepts through hands-on experiments, write and memorize lines of a play or apply math to code a computer game - all within a fun, casual and recreational environment. Bonus: they make new friends, develop important social skills and create fond summer memories.
Need to keep your kids close to home or watching your budget? Use everyday opportunities that encourage academic and life skills, such as asking your child to help with weekly grocery shopping. They can make the list, shop the store and tally the total before getting to the checkout to ensure they stay within budget. The shopping trips are a great way to transfer money theory into real-life math skills that have personal meaning.
Enjoying a summer vacation? Encourage your child to write a diary of their experiences or to send postcards and letters to family. Suggest different writing techniques to mix it up and keep it fun, such as writing in first person versus third person voice. Or, write from the perspective of an animal or inanimate object (“A Day In My Life”, By The CN Tower).
Take advantage of what the city (or your neighbours) has to offer. Toronto has an abundance of festivals, library programs, museums and city escapes such as ravines, bluffs and bike trails. Encourage your child to help research and plan new activities or outings that everyone can enjoy. Or take inspiration from the growing homeschool movement by collaborating with your neighbours on weekly activities or learning projects that your kids can do together.
Empower your kids! Encourage them to host a lemonade stand, car wash or garage sale. More than one famous entrepreneur has cited the importance of this early childhood experience as the spark behind their future passion and respected talent.
Ultimately, every child and family is unique. Determine what kind of summer camp or learning activity works best to help maintain (or even expand) your child’s learning over the long, ‘lazy’ days of summer.
Sheri Allain is Chief Lizard at Codezilla Kids, a top-rated STEM and coding school. Codezilla introduces kids 4-14 to coding and STEM using software, apps and award-winning tech toys. Over 1,200 children have enjoyed their workshops at schools, weekend workshops, camps and birthday parties. Find out more at: www.codezillakids.com.