Preventing summer learning loss or ‘summer slide’Summer learning activities can lessen summer learning loss and help your child maintain the skills he or she has learned during the previous school year, preventing the dreaded “summer slide.”
By: Jennifer Larva/For the Pine Journal, Pine Journal
As an educator and mother of three children, I recognize how important it is have the time to relax and have family quality time. Summer is the perfect time to have experiences with your child that you normally may not have time for. Continued summer learning is extremely important for all children and can easily be incorporated into your summer family activities.
Research does show that children can lose one to three months of learning every summer if they do not practice their skills (www.rif.org). Studies have also shown that different formats of summer learning programs have positive effects on student achievement. This suggests that all summer learning activities can lessen summer learning loss and help your child maintain the skills he or she has learned during the previous school year, preventing the dreaded “summer slide.”
At our house, “Mommy school” – our daily reading and math practice time – has been followed by “Fun Friday Field Trips.” Each week we set up reading goals and generated a list of adventures that we wanted to have. If we met our goals by Friday, we piled up in the car and spent the day learning something new! But you don’t have to make learning so formal. You can create learning experiences wherever you are: at home, on the bus, in the park, at the grocery store, and anywhere else you can imagine!
Here are a few local ideas:
Have you ever tried geocaching? Geocaching is a real-world outdoor treasure hunting game. Participants utilize global positioning system (GPS) devices to hunt for hidden cache containers. Typically caches are old ammo boxes camouflaged in the outdoors, making them a challenge to locate. (More at www.geocaching.com.)
If you are just a beginner, you should check out the state parks. Some of the parks provide the hand-held GPS devices and have set up caches throughout the park. Geogaching “101” programs are offered at Jay Cooke, Gooseberry Falls and Split Rock Lighthouse. (http://www.dnr.state.
• Summer Day Camps
Do you need to find someplace for your child to spend the day while you are at work?
I would suggest trying a local summer day camp. If your child is interested in science and nature, check out the programs offered at the Hartley Learning Center (http://www.hartleynature.org/
learn/daycamp.html) or at Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center (http://www.wolfridge.
Maybe your child is not a budding naturalist but is more interested in technology. Check out the technology camps being offered through the College of St. Scholastica (http://www.css.
edu/academics/school-of-business-and-technology/technology-camps.html). They are offering a camp for gamers and to encourage more girls into the technology field.
If your child is more interested in the arts, you should check out the opportunities available at the Duluth Art Institute (http://www.duluthartinstitute.org/education/youth).
• Check It Out (at your local public library)
If you are looking for an adventure, take a trip to your local library. All you need is a library card and a little imagination and your child can explore new places, meet interesting people, and discover new Preventing Summer Learning Loss or “Summer Slide” things. It is free to borrow these
adventure-filled books. Many public libraries host special summertime events to help keep the excitement levels high. Check out the local library website near you!
Writer Jennifer Larva is a longtime teacher and Director of School Improvement for the Cloquet School District. Look for more educational columns from area educators to help prevent “the summer slide” and other tips for keeping young brains engaged in the Pine Journal over the next three months.