Preventing the Summer Learning Slide
The summer vacation is the longest break which children have away from school. It is a time which is characterized by play, travel and other leisurely past-times. During this time many children experience a phenomenon researchers refer to as “The Summer Learning Slide”.
What is “The Summer Learning Slide”? While there are divergent opinions regarding the very credibility of the phenomenon, simply put, it refers to students’ purported loss of academic skills (particularly those relating to reading, writing and arithmetic) during the nine weeks’ summer break due to their lack of engagement with materials that require their use. Consequentially, many pupils find themselves having to spend more time and effort readjusting to school at the start of the new academic year. Sadly, some are not only unable to readjust, but may also find it difficult to process new material since it very likely to be building on what has been forgotten.
Thankfully, there are preventative measures which parents and other caregivers can take to ward off the cursed summer learning slide. In fact, the answer hinges on balance. Studies have shown that the summer learning slide can be curtailed by balancing a child’s recreational activities with academic ones during the summer break. Should you be unable to enroll your child in Camp Moorings, here are some things you can do:
1. Engage your child in meaningful conversation. Conversation is one of the hallmarks of language. Deliberate and meaningful exchanges between child and parent can encourage critical thinking and foster comprehension skills. Even so, what a great way to bond!
2. Give your child opportunities to read and write. There are a variety of creative and authentic ways to promote these two literacy skills in your child’s summer routine. For example, have your younger ones draw about an activity he/she enjoyed while you serve as scribe. Alternatively, your older ones can do scrap-booking or journaling about their various summer adventures. Reading a favourite book, magazine or comic together is always great, no matter the age!
3. Capitalise on authentic learning opportunities. Authentic learning is the best learning because it is relevant, meaningful and can be easily internalized. Preparing a meal together is an example of where mathematical skills and scientific inquiry can be put to good effect. Moreover, children’s vocabularies can be augmented and their fine motor muscles developed all while learning life skills and developing confidence.
Let summer be a time of further learning for your child and not regression.