How to Prevent Summer Learning Loss
Each year, during the summer holiday, months of effort and learning risk being diminished due to students simply forgetting the knowledge they have built up over the previous academic year. This can cause some students to fall behind, and forces teachers to eat into invaluable class time by re-teaching forgotten material.
This phenomenon, while widely recognised by educationalists is largely ignored by the common school structure, which leaves pupils academically unstimulated for weeks on end, reducing opportunities for academic growth or even sustainment. Summer Learning Loss is even more notable in children under 10, as they lack the independence to engage in social learning encounters such as work experience, volunteering, and basic day-to-day outings. It is also important to remember holidays are a time for resting and recharging young brains so it is essential to find a balance between keeping your child’s summer break relaxing and fun and keeping their mind stimulated ahead of the next academic year. In this article, we provide the top ten tips to prevent summer learning loss in your child.
1. Challenge them to a reading contest
Encouraging your child to read will allow them to improve their spelling, literacy, and vocabulary skills. Involving your child in their own learning will make it more fun: take them to the library and let them choose their own books. Even better, challenge them to a reading contest – the winner gets an ice cream!
2. Encourage their story-writing
A great pairing to reading, help your child develop their literacy skills. You could even use one of the books they have been reading as a starting point by asking them to write a letter from one character to another, or a different ending to the story. Watch as you unleash their imagination.
3. Stimulate their mind with puzzles
Maths and spelling have been found to be the areas of greatest regression in terms of Summer Learning Loss. With this in mind, keep your child stimulated with Sudoku puzzles, impromptu Scrabble matches, and times table practice while laying the table. Let the puzzles commence!
4. Be creative and make it sociable
Creative or educational afternoons with other children are also a great way to offset Summer Learning Loss. Playing Monopoly, acting out a scene from a play, or even inventing a new game to play outside provide fun opportunities to incite new friendships and develop learning skills.
5. Don’t be afraid to use technology
If you struggle to tear your child away from tablets and iPads, compromise by setting aside some time for them to play science games or space simulation. It is far better than passively watching a screen and can in fact cultivate their spacial reasoning.
6. Call upon a summer tutor
Formal tuition with a tutor, or attendance at a summer school supports your child in a more structured manner during the summer. If you do take this path, it is best to set apart a few hours in the morning for tuition, thus establishing a routine which will preserve time for relaxation in the afternoon. Many families also choose to take a tutor away with them on holiday, an investment which will help protect a year’s learning and set the child up for a successful year.
7. Take advantage of your family holiday
Holiday trips are also excellent ways to incorporate learning opportunities into your child’s summer. Be sure to plan educational trips to either museums or historical sites, where you could take a tour in the foreign language they are learning. Additionally, you could ask your child to order in a local café or restaurant to maintain their language skills. Even converting money from pounds to euros, and vice versa, presents the perfect opportunity to brush up on mathematics.
8. Use the End of Term Report for guidance
End of term reports spell out an essential ‘to do’ list of activities you can help your child with over the summer. If you are not convinced that their comments are detailed enough, or you think the report may have gaps, then don’t be afraid to ask the teachers about it. If you are still unsure, we offer Academic Assessments which give a bespoke, tailored personal assessment for your child.
9. Be careful not to over-do-it
Finally, one of the most important things to take away is that summer should be a time for children to relax. Fighting Summer Learning Loss is not a way to put any more pressure on your child, it is merely a time to keep their minds stimulated before returning to school in September.
10. Have fun
Above all, the summer break is a time for you and your child to have fun. Introducing a new set of fun activities into your family’s routine will revitalise your summer whilst keeping your child ahead of the game before the new academic year, where they deserve to be.