The Summer Slide Solution
The last day of the school after examinations of every academic year is a time of great joy and excitement when children leave their textbooks, note books, tests and projects and look forward to the summer holidays. It is often a relief for both parents and children to ‘temporarily forget’ the school for the summer break.
Unfortunately, many children who don’t engage in learning activities in the summer find they have forgotten things or fall behind when the next academic year begins.
Every summer we hear from teachers about the ‘summer slide’ in academic learning — the claim is that children forget and lose much of what they have learnt from school in the earlier year during the summer break. Some parents even feel that school activities should continue in the summer months also to prevent that loss.
Educators have recognized what has come to be known as the ‘summer slide’ meaning — the loss of learning that can take place during the summer months, if students do not engage in educational activities.
Teachers play an important role in helping to create a culture where educational activities are valued and given priority even in the summer months.
Teachers too love summer vacation, but there is always a concern that sets in as we close the classrooms and send our children off for the summer break.
A few questions to ponder:
– Will the students pick up a book to read during the summer break?
– The teachers have worked so hard in teaching the students the skills which the children might have learned. Will they return after vacation forgetting everything that was taught?
Summer Slide is what happens when the skills students learnt during the previous academic year are forgotten during the summer vacation. When children don’t practice their reading and writing skills during the summer months, they can fall behind by the time school starts again. Summer may be a time to relax, but it’s never too late to recapitulate those reading skills in time.
The summer school and enrichment programmes are often the first things that come to our mind. Although summer programmes can be recommended, it’s only one option to lessen the effects of summer loss.
As parents and grandparents, we would like our children to succeed and thrive, but we can also get tired of constantly nagging them during the vacation, such as, ‘Put down the mobile phone; turn off the TV, stop messaging, read a book.’ Hence, we may need some extra support to avoid the summer slide.
Instead of our children getting caught in the trap of mobile phones, video games and television, we must encourage them to engage in some simple interesting activities to keep their minds fresh and active. While we may not attempt to stop the above activities completely, we may encourage them to strike a balance between the indoor and outdoor activities to keep the mind alert.
Summer is also the perfect time for the students to catch up on learning in areas which they may have been lacking. It is not the time to overlook the weaknesses and pretend that this can be done in the next academic year.
Parents nowadays are more interested in putting their children in hobby or summer classes during summer vacations.
While summer classes keep them busy, what is more important is the overall personality development of the child. Moreover, it is wise to keep children busy in extracurricular activities such as swimming, dance, music, painting, yoga, reading, trekking, etc. depending upon their interest. Through these activities, children will learn new things that will help them in their overall growth.
A few things listed below might keep students active during summer:
Parents must set an example. When our child sees us reading and enjoying a book or a newspaper article, we are sending a message that reading is important and valuable.
A parent can read a book to the child; make sure to read the story with expression, changing your voice for the different characters in the story and increasing volume for exciting parts to make reading interesting. Read to your child to build listening skills, engage the imagination, and increase vocabulary. Encourage skills in mathematics by creating number puzzles and practice mathematics tables.
Reading makes us perfect
Let the children understand that reading is a good habit. In the meantime, enjoy sitting next to your child and share a book – these moments will help establish a love for reading and a closer bond.
Set realistic Goals
Parents must spend time with the child and set some summer reading schedule. Depending on the child’s age, we may give one book a week, or an hour of reading time a day, set up a motivation system. For example, if she/he finishes two or three books, take a trip to a park or get a toy of her choice.
Make reading a fun
Children will love reading if we add books into all the activities that we do. Collect some books when going on a trip and call it a ‘journey for reading’. Play games or puzzles together that will require the child to read words.
Sing songs or nursery rhymes with the kids.
Become a member in a Library
Libraries often plan a lot of summer programmes for children, and these are usually free. Let the children pick out some new books of their choice —surely they will be very excited to do so.
Make your Garden
Summer time is the best to teach children about planting and tending a garden. Let them learn about gardening and do research to set up a beautiful garden.This can lead to a wonderful project as well.
Learn a New Skill
Children may love to draw, paint, play an instrument, or play with a ball. They can learn these skills from their friends or neighbours. It will be a perfect time to exchange talents.
The skills taught in school cannot be lost so easily. Students, when they finally complete their studies and enter a career, the skills learnt in the school help them to build their career.
I conclude stating that summer break will help students to learn additional skills and bridge the knowledge gap before they get ready for the next academic session.
Happy Summer Vacation
Padmini Sriraman, M A in History and Economics, M Ed and M Phil, is the Principal of The Hindu Senior Secondary School, Chennai. She is also the Vice Chair person of Chennai Sahodaya Group of Schools.
She received the CBSE National Award in 2012 and the Best Principal Award from the Bombay Stock Exchange. She has also received awards from Mylapore Academy, Rotary Club, recognition from various other institutions and the International School Award from the British Council.
She has written social studies books for Classes 6, 7 and 8, EVS books for Classes 1 to 5 and articles in educational magazines.
She has conducted workshops in Social Science, EVS, Classroom Management, Handling Slow Learners, Life skills, Value Education, CCE, and Study Techniques in various states in India, also at Dubai and Doha.
She has learnt Carnatic music, does oil painting and was a basket ball player during her school days. Her personal vision is to create a positive impact and motivate everyone with a ‘can do and never give up’ attitude; to encourage inspire and motivate everyone to discover and develop their potential while igniting their passion for life and their dreams. Contact – firstname.lastname@example.org mobile –9841131685