By Dale Ho (Hons) R.E.C.E, CCBE, LE @thecompletefam
During the summer months parents and teachers alike often worry children will lose the knowledge and skills they have acquired throughout the school year, a loss such as this can actually set children back upon their return to school in the fall; as much of this time is now spent reviewing material covered from the previous school year. Children should in fact continue to be actively challenged and supported throughout the summer months in order to avoid this. As a parent what can you do to actively support and encourage your child’s learning and development throughout the summer months?
By making learning more enjoyable and feeling less like a chore you’re guaranteed to meet less resistance.
The following are some fun and quality daily learning opportunities that can aid in acquiring new skills whilst practicing the old ones.
Start a garden and encourage your child to journal its progress, noting any changes in growth, colour and overall appearance. Depending on your child’s developmental capabilities these journal entries can either be drawn, written or scribed.
- Make some time during those hot and lazy days of summer to go for long walks and have your child draw and/or write about these, encourage them to retell their experiences after.
- Turn those everyday routine experiences into learning opportunities, for example; have kids help you write up the grocery list in preparation for your trip to the grocery store or have them follow a recipe in the kitchen, these are all great ways to encourage reading.
- To further practice their fine motor and literacy skills suggest designing and creating their own stationary and using these to write letters to their friends and/or family members describing all their summer vacation adventures, either via snail mail or email.
- At the end of the school year sit down with the little ones and create a list of all the books they’d like to read during summer vacation and provide them with incentives and/or rewards once they reach their goal, this gives them something to work towards.
In general; take the things that are of high interest to them at any one given time and use these as windows for learning opportunities, creating games and activities around them. Setting aside all the textbooks and workbooks for just a minute…it’s important to note that learning goes well beyond the borders of any classroom and as a parent YOU are in fact your child’s most valuable teacher.