Written by Veronica Martin, ECE Coordinator
Summer learning loss is a well-researched and documented phenomenon in which students regress in their learning over the long summer holiday. Of course, summer is a time for children to catch up with family, who are often far away, and to enjoy a well-earned break. However, there are a few steps you can take to limit the effects of Summer Learning Loss without impacting on your family’s quality time together. It is worth noting that the amount of time needed to prevent Summer Learning Loss is relatively small: just 2 to 3 hours per week has been found to be effective.
- Use the school’s online subscriptions
School may be closed, but Mathletics and Raz Kids stay open! Both these apps are great for keeping students up to speed with Mathematics and Reading respectively over the long summer break. Ensure you remember to take down the website and log in details before you go away on holiday.
- Read, read, read
We suggest your child reads every day over the holiday period. Books can be taken on planes, trains and automobiles-or anywhere else you may be! Reading in the morning, before other plans cause distraction, is a great idea.
Glenda Perks, Secondary English Teacher says “Literature opens up the worlds of those both alike and different to me. It allows me to experience their lives, feelings, hardships, joys and ultimately it shows me the truth that we are all flawed human beings, wanting to make our way through this world, trying to find out who we are, make a difference to those around me”.
- Stay active
Physical activity can also take a hit over the summer. There is a link between physical and mental fitness, so combat brain drain by taking walks and cycle rides, encouraging your child to play team games, or even taking up a new sport, such as swimming, tennis or rock climbing.
- Take advantage of local opportunities.
Lots of our families travel overseas during the summer. Take the opportunities to visit local museums, libraries, and art galleries with your children, and have them journal, either in words or pictures, or using technology, about what they have seen. Of course, if you are staying in Shanghai, there are fantastic opportunities to do these things here as well.
- Let them play!
Children learn so much through play. However, you can maximise the value of their play by talking to them about what they are doing, asking them to explain their games to you, and joining in with them to provide language rich opportunities. Much discussion we have with children is directional: telling them what to do. See the summer as an opportunity to discuss with your child things they love doing and gain perspective on how they see the world. Add in some drawings or painting time to let them express their creative side.
Make some playdough for children to play with for hours. See recipe below, or you could buy some ready-made. If you make it with your child you can have mathematical conversations as they measure ingredients out.
Cooked Play Dough
3 cups flour
1 cup salt
6 teaspoons cream of tartar
3 cups water
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
Mix flour, salt, and cream of tartar in a large saucepan.
Blend water and oil together in a bowl.
Add to the saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until it thickens.
Add several drops of food coloring until you get the right color.
Cook for about five minutes.
Take the play dough out of the saucepan and put it on a cutting board or counter and knead for a few minutes.
Add flour if it’s too sticky.
This play dough should last around three months if you keep it sealed in an airtight container or plastic zip-lock bag. It’s so smooth and fun to play with when it’s still warm.
We wish you a wonderful summer holiday, wherever you are in the world.