It’s that time of year when every kid has a giant smile plastered across his or her face. School is out for the summer, and kids are looking forward to two months without homework or reading assignments.
This break from school work and studying is good for them. But that doesn’t mean learning should stop after the final school bell rings.
What is “Summer Slide”?
The term “summer slide” is used by educators to describe a student’s loss of knowledge and skills between the end of one school year and the start of another. Children who do not engage in educational activities over the summer months have a hard time getting back into the swing of things in September and teachers can spend up to two months re-teaching material students may have forgotten over the summer.
How to Stop the Summer Slide
To help your child – and his/her teacher – have a strong start in September, parents need to find fun and interactive ways to keep him/her learning throughout the summer. Here are some tips for preventing summer learning loss:
1. Make Time for Play
Play is important to a child’s development. It’s through play that kids develop emotional, social, physical and cognitive skills. Whether play time takes place indoors or outside, the goal is to give them open-ended play experiences where kids are relaxed and allowed to learn and explore at their own pace. Many summer camps focus on play-based activities while teaching kids about team work, respect and responsibility.
2. Join a Book Club
Many schools and public libraries run summer reading programs for kids, which are great for preventing learning loss. The TD Summer Reading Club is a free bilingual reading program that provides kids with free reading activities during July and August. Club members can enjoy online stories, track their progress with a free reading kit (including a notebook and stickers) and live readings and performances at their local library.
3. Take Learning Outside
Summer is a fantastic time to take learning outside. You don’t need a ton of supplies to squeeze in a math or science lesson. Building sandcastles teaches mathematical concepts. Hiking is a way to connect with nature and learn about local flora and fauna. Tactile learners (those who learn by touching and doing) may enjoy gardening – a hands-on learning experience that combines both science and math.
4. Consider YMCA Summer Day Camps
With many outdoor camps in the GTA, YMCA Summer Day Camps provide a great opportunity to learn in a new environment while making new friendships and gaining confidence. Across the GTA, there are a variety of programs available both outdoors and in that allow campers to learn through play, and keep engaged in a structured program throughout the summer.
And, many programs offered allow children to further explore some topics related to their favourite school subjects, in a fun kid-friendly way.
With some creativity and advanced planning, parents can keep their children’s minds sharp and prevent learning loss over the summer. Because September will be here before you know it!