Worried your child will fall behind this summer?
Millions of American families are all finding themselves in a perplexing position: distance learning is ending, summer is beginning, and the panic over what was learned or not learned is prevalent. Are you wondering how children keep learning over the summer?
You don’t have to be. Although I know that might be easier said than done.
Life after distance learning is starting for many, and the road to next fall is paved with parental worry: Did they learn enough this spring? Will they forget it all by fall? Will the combination of distance learning and summer vacation be a recipe for kids entering school below grade level?
The short answers: we don’t know, kids are smarter than we think, and only time will tell.
But here’s what I can tell you:
- Every other student at your child’s school is in the same boat so remember – the whole classroom is showing up having gone through the same thing.
- Don’t forget: a team of college-educated professionals is waiting for your child and they will have a game plan. Trust the teachers more now than ever to do the work been trained to do: teach children.
What can we do until our kids walk through those classroom doors again (assuming they get to)?
How do we help them keep learning over the summer?
Let the children play.
Make play your summer mission.
We know through decades of research that play is the most important way children learn and that is still the case when they are in elementary school. They need it for their growing brains, their motor skills, and most of all, their social and emotional development.
Play is not a break from learning. Play is learning.
As our summers take shape, audit the amount of real, hands-on play your child is doing. Encourage their play in a way that upholds its importance (verses the often dismissive “Just go play!!!” that can make play seem like a punishment or after-thought). Show them play is something you value deeply, because their bodies and minds are wired for this and depend on it.
Of course, add in a healthy dose of read alouds, silent reading, and conversations (all important here too) – but don’t forget play. It’s easy to overlook how necessary that piece is to educating the whole child.
The more a child plays this summer… the sharper they will be to take on any learning challenges they may face in the fall.