The holidays are finally upon us, and while children definitely deserve a well-earned break, it’s worth planning a little learning to avoid the dreaded ‘summer slide’. Read on to discover our tips for everyday education, and how a few targeted top-ups can help prepare students for the coming academic year.
What is summer slide?
Since the first publication of research into the effects of a long summer holiday on learning back in 1996, summer slide has become a well-known phenomenon and a concern for parents and teachers alike. It describes the way in which children lose key skills over the break – with one more recent study suggesting an average decline of 20% in reading and 27% in maths. Summer slide tends to affect younger children more acutely, as this is a period of rapid and continual academic growth, where core skills such as decoding, letter knowledge and foundational maths are likely to fade without regular practice.
What can parents do?
It’s important to remember that not all education happens formally. There are plenty of opportunities to weave learning into daily activities, and the holidays are the perfect excuse to try these out. Visiting a museum, baking a cake, travelling abroad, playing a game, building Lego – almost anything can become an educational experience, a chance to recap on skills and introduce new ones.
Reading is one of the most important things to maintain over the summer. It doesn’t matter what your child wants to read – just encourage them to do it every day. Visit the library together to give your bookshelf a refresh, set the whole family a reading challenge or stimulate the imagination by helping your child bring their favourite stories to life through play.
But remember – children often learn best when they’re enjoying themselves, so try to view summer learning through a fun lens. And while it’s tempting to jam-pack the weeks with daily activities, downtime is important too. Children should have a chance to relax, pursue their own interests and even get a little bored… it can be a great boost to creativity and problem-solving skills.
How Figtree can help
We know the summer holidays are already a balancing act. Work commitments, childcare, planning activities and keeping on top of studies without the structure of school can be overwhelming. That’s why we’ve devised a whole programme to keep children engaged with their learning over the summer; and give parents a bit of a break too.
Our top-up sessions are designed to recap on the previous academic year, revisiting core subjects to ensure a sound foundation for September. These can be arranged on a regular basis (we find little and often helps build in routine and keep minds from wandering off), or as and when you need. We are also offering shorter, 30-minute Zoom sessions for existing clients to keep in touch and keep students on track.
For more information, or tips on how to avoid summer slide, please get in touch with the Figtree team. In the meantime, wishing you all a wonderful summer break!