By Kyla Graves
With summer right around the corner, it will be especially important to consider summer plans in order to combat “summer slide,” or the loss of content and knowledge acquired over the school year. Although many public school students went back to school full time in Massachusetts, the effects of learning loss from previous months of hybrid learning may be felt through the summer and into the next school year. With that in mind, thinking carefully about your summer plans and incorporating brain-building activities throughout the next few months will be especially important this year.
From our perspective, summer is a time for “Yes…and!” It’s a time for play, rest, relaxation AND time to learn and experience new things to keep your brain active and healthy. So, say yes to that day at the beach and let your mind wander; open the windows and take a nap while being lulled to sleep by the birds outside (or better yet, hop in a hammock and rest al fresco!); or pack a picnic to eat with friends and family in a nearby park. AND, in between days of rest do something that kicks your brain into gear: get out in nature for some exercise; take in a cultural event in your community; tackle a new recipe; build a simple machine; and don’t forget to pick up a good book!
Create a Family of Readers
Reading can be one of the most effective ways to avoid summer slide, and we recommend that everyone in the family take part. If the adults in the home are reading, then encouraging children (of all ages!) to read will be an easier task. Reading helps expand vocabulary, encourages empathy, opens up new worlds and ideas, and so much more. Take a trip to your local library as a family — and if you don’t have a library card, make this summer the time that you finally get one. Many libraries have online catalogs that you can use to request book pick ups, if you’d rather browse from the comfort of your home. If in-person browsing is your thing, ask a librarian for a tour or a map of your library so you can find what you’re looking for more easily. Let your child take their time choosing a book and encourage them to read the first few lines or pages of a selection of books before making their final choices. Don’t forget, any book reading is good reading! Let children explore different types of books from graphic novels to nonfiction, there are a plethora of options for children and young adults alike.
…and Don’t Forget STEM
The loss of in-person instruction for many students across the state and country may also mean a loss in foundational concepts in math and science. If you think these losses this school year have impacted your child’s learning, consider various online resources to help strengthen your child’s mathematical skills. Keep it fun by building in activities that engage a variety of skill sets, like baking. One of our favorites, Math with Bad Drawings, can be a humorous way to learn new or foundational concepts. There are also a variety of subscription kits online that help kids build simple machines and engage different parts of the brain. Even a quick Google search can inspire an afternoon of STEM exploration using commonly found ingredients and tools you may already have laying around. Whatever your child’s fascinations, trying out a new tool or idea as a family might also inspire new connections and maybe even new traditions!
What About Test Prep?
Summer can also be a great time to think about test prep. Whether your child is considering admission to an independent school or creating a college list, committing to summer practice can help your child get a leg up on preparing for the admissions process. Contact PES to learn more about our offerings and schedule a time talk with our tutoring team about ways we can help your child keep their minds sharp and engaged over the summer.