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Making Summer Count

Top tips for Supporting Your Child’s Learning This Summer

Parents often ask us about “Summer Learning Loss” or the “Summer Slide”, worried that their children will loose some of the skills they’ve worked hard developing throughout the academic year. We have talked to tutors and education consultants and put together our top tips to help parents to continue supporting their children to learn over the long school break in July and August.

Read these top tips for embracing learning opportunities and boosting learning over the summer holidays.

1. Open up their imagination

Encouraging your child to read on a daily basis, just as you do during term time, 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 to take part in The Summer Reading Challenge: this year’s theme is Space Chase. If your child is 13 or over you could also encourage them to volunteer with the Summer Reading Challenge.

2. Encourage their story-writing

A great partner to reading, story writing will help your child to develop their literacy skills. Using one of the books your child has been reading as a starting point, ask them to write a letter from one character to another, or an alternative ending to the story. Or, if your child is still learning to write, help them to send a post card back home to a family member or friend. Get them to buy the stamp in the local currency and language and you’ll have incorporated 3 learning opportunities into one activity!

3. Stimulate their mind with puzzles

Schools are increasingly encouraging a child’s development in reasoning skills, be this as a basis for entrance examination assessment or in building foundations for future Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Maths (STEAM) study. With this in mind, keep your child stimulated with Sudoku puzzles, impromptu Scrabble matches, and times table practice by making the most of small windows of time for informal learning opportunities, for instance while laying the table, taking the dog for a walk or walking to the beach!

4. Be creative and make it sociable 

Creative or educational afternoons with other children can encourage independence and build confidence. Rainy days might call for playing Monopoly or acting out a scene from a play – or of their own creation.  Sunny days will allow for inventing a new game to play outside, provide fun opportunities to create new friendships and develop learning skills.

5. Encourage them to take risks to help them build resilience

As viewers of ITV’s Planet Child have been learning, encouraging our children to challenge themselves and to take some (guided) risks, is a key part of children’s development. The summer holidays are a perfect time to embrace this and to teach your child skills in resilience. As GP Dr Chatterjee explains, in a recent interview with The Guardian, board games provide an excellent way to build resilience: “They require impulse control, turn-taking and mental flexibility. They exercise the prefrontal cortex, the rational part of the brain involved in decision-making, emotional regulation and, yes, resilience. Board games are also a good way for you to model resilience by being a good loser.

6. Hire a fun and creative summer tutor

Formal tuition with a tutor, or attendance at a summer school will support your child in a more structured manner during the summer. If choosing 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 to choose to take a holiday tutor with them – especially if preparing for competitive 11+ examinations in the Autumn term. Doing so will allow you to maximise opportunities for formal academic learning and equally to maximise family time and fun!

7. Take advantage of your family holiday

Holiday trips are always excellent ways to incorporate learning opportunities. This summer, be sure to plan educational trips to either museums or historical sites, where you could take a tour in the foreign language your child is, or will be, learning at school. Additionally, encouraging your child to order at the local café or restaurant at least once a day will build their confidence in language learning – and build their resilience. Even converting money from pounds to euros, and vice versa, presents the perfect opportunity to brush up on maths skills. Remember to support your child according to their current ability level.

8. Use the End of Term Report for guidance

End of term reports from your child’s class teacher(s) spell out an essential ‘to do’ list of activities that 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, Simply Learning Tuition offer Academic Assessments which provide a bespoke, tailored personal assessment for your child and a clear roadmap for you to follow as a parent.

9. Be careful not to over-do it

Last but by no means least, the summer should be a time for children to relax and have fun. Introducing a new set of fun and engaging educational activities into your family’s routine will revitalise your summer and, most importantly, keep your child ahead of the game, where they deserve to be.