Summer break!! I think I was almost as excited as my sons were once school was finally out for the summer. No more rushing them out the door every morning, no more struggling to get hours of homework done, and just being able to spend more time doing what we wanted to do instead of what we had to do.
For other parents, summer break is a new kind of struggle in figuring out how to keep their children properly cared for over the summer. Regardless of what summer break means to the parents in your program, one thing is a given. Classroom teachers often spend the first month of each new school year reviewing information learned in the previous school year. Summer “brain drain” or “summer slide” are real and happen every year. Children lose, on average, 2 - 2 ½ months of grade equivalency in math and reading during those 3 months or so of summer break.
The good news is that it doesn’t take a lot to stop this drain from happening. Regardless of whether parents are home with their children for the summer or working full-time throughout, they can set a plan to keep their children learning.
Suggestions for parents:
- If a vacation is in your plan for the summer, see what kind of learning activities you can build into it. Going to Boston…walk the Freedom Trail. Going to San Francisco…check out the Exploratorium.
- If you can’t get away for a full vacation, how about a day-trip to a local attraction? Check out a local zoo, aquarium, museum, or other fun place.
- If your child doesn’t already have a library card, this is the time to get one and use it. Many libraries have free summer reading programs. (Make sure you have lots of reading materials available at home.)
- Heading to a ball game? Find a book about that sport or an athlete that plays it or help your child keep stats during the game.
- Write notes to family and friends. If you can get away, send a postcard from your destination. If you are staying home, just a note about what fun things you are doing will be enjoyed by the grandparents or a pen pal.
- Let your child help you in the kitchen. Shopping and cooking provides a ton of learning activities, and can be a lot of fun.
- Plant a garden…even if it’s just a window box with a couple of plants. Your child can help select what to plant and care for the garden.
Help your families have a great summer finding fun ways to learn!