Summertime, Learning Time: Families and Parent Educators Talk about Ways to Keep Kids Learning Over the Summer
As many families know, learning doesn’t just happen when children are in school. It happens every day, as families talk, read, and explore the world around them. But studies show that if kids don’t keep learning during the summer, they can forgot a lot of what they learned during the school year. Children from low-income families are more likely to have “summer learning loss,” but all kids are more likely to lose ground on math and spelling than other skills.
“Over the summer children lose what they’ve learned, if they are not maintaining some sort of brain activity other than sitting in front of the television or playing video games,” says Alferma Crawford, coordinator for Oakland’s 17 Head Start sites, “But if you keep them engaged in something constructive, it’ll be easier for them to continue where they left off when they go back to school.”
Families and parent educators offer tips for summer activities that keep kids learning.
Help children practice what they learn in school
“Children learn what you teach them,” says Crawford, “and most of that takes place (at) home because that’s where they spend most of their time. Whatever we do at school, we want parents to continue doing at home.” Let your child know that school and learning are important. During the school year, talk with your child about what they’ve learned at school and look at the work they bring home.
Toward the end of the school year, talk with your child’s teacher to find out what your child should work on over the summer, says Andrea Jones, mother of five children and grandmother of two. “Parents have to be proactive—they have to reach out to teachers. We live in Long Beach so there’s a lot of year-round teachers out here. When kids are off for a break, teachers send things home for kids to do.”
Explore your child’s interests
If your child is interested in cars and trucks, you can count cars, describe cars, draw cars, learn to write the names of cars. You can count to ever-higher numbers of cars. You can notice shapes: round headlights, rectangular windows, oval mirrors. “Every child learns differently,” says Crawford, “but for all kids, repetition is key.”
Reprinted with the permission of the Action Alliance for Children.
- Coats and Car Seats: A Lethal Combination?
- Kindergarten Sight Words List
- Child Development Theories
- Signs Your Child Might Have Asperger's Syndrome
- 10 Fun Activities for Children with Autism
- Why is Play Important? Social and Emotional Development, Physical Development, Creative Development
- The Homework Debate
- Social Cognitive Theory
- First Grade Sight Words List
- GED Math Practice Test 1