Stop The Slide! How to Prevent Summer Learning Loss
Don’t let small scientists slide back this summer!
Yes, summer is a time for fun, but it can be a time for learning too. In fact, that’s the attitude you should have whilst parenting young children during the school holidays. Anything to stop the ‘summer slide’.
Defined as a child’s loss of knowledge and academic skills over the long summer break, the ‘summer slide’ (or summer learning loss, as it’s also known) can cause young Messy fans to fall behind in their studies. Which, we think you’ll agree, is concerning. Luckily, there are plenty of steps you can take to ensure your child doesn’t suffer for their time away from the classroom.
What Evidence Is There That the Summer Slide Is Real?
Since the early ‘90s, the summer slide has been a recorded phenomenon in children’s education. As we advance well into the 21st century, the problem has persisted – especially now young learners get a minimum of six weeks off.
A recent survey of 2,000 parents, conducted by Explore Learning, found that nearly three-quarters felt their child’s academic ability slipped over the summer break. It also showed that one in five children appeared significantly less engaged by the time they returned to school in September, and half did not look forward to resuming lessons at all (a real blow indeed, on many levels!).
Are Schools Committed to Preventing Summer Learning Loss?
In theory, yes. For example, Barnsley Council in Yorkshire became the first local authority in England to reduce the length of school summer holidays (capped at five weeks instead of six, the extra time has been added to the October half-term break). This is believed to have helped with the prevention of summer learning loss in readiness for the next academic year.
However, schools and local governments can only do so much. Home is where the most noticeable changes are likely to be implemented.
Tips for Parents to Help Combat Summer Learning Loss
Sure, the summer holidays are for resting and recharging young brains, but it’s essential to find a balance between relaxing and keeping their minds stimulated before school starts again. Here’s how you can help prevent summer learning loss without stopping the fun!
- Make Regular Visits to The Great Outdoors
The strongest memories made from childhood are usually those created outdoors. And they often become stronger when it’s the child leading the activity, not the parent. You should try to take small scientists outside regularly during the summer holidays, whether on special trips or just for a short walk. This will let them apply classroom concepts to real-life situations, which is invaluable as far as education is concerned.
- Have Them Read Every Day
There’s always time for your child to read; whether it’s before bed, after lunch, or while travelling with you on public transport, there’s no excuse for them not having a book in their hands.
Allocating time so that young learners can read is a great way to ensure you maintain their literacy and comprehension skills throughout the summer. Comics, magazines (like OKIDO!) and age-appropriate online resources are all acceptable starting points.
- Play Smart
The importance of learning through play is well-documented, so don’t dismiss it as a research-proven method for beating the summer slide. Children need a range of toys and play experiences to learn about the world and grow into well-rounded people. A healthy combination of games, puzzles, and tasks is the absolute best way to keep small scientists learning and having fun!
- Enjoy Some Screen Time Together
If yours happens to be a tech-savvy household, there’s no harm in enjoying a little screen time with young learners. Educational apps and TV programs are great for peaking their interests over the summer holidays. However, do remember not to get carried away. They should only be watching with adult supervision for an hour a day at most. For further information about this topic, feel free to check out our guide for some tips on appropriate screen time for young children.
And if you’re after more ideas about stopping the summer slide, OKIDO has loads of stuff going on at its pop-up in Hammersmith. OKIDO also regularly hosts events throughout the summer , including Latitude Festival and a wide range of art and science sessions in SE21.
Don’t let the summer slide hit this year! Your small scientists worked really hard, so keep their little brains fit with some easy, fun educational activities they’re sure to love.