As parents, some of us have a hard time connecting the words ‘summer’ and ‘learning’. But we're not talking about chaining children to a desk and denying them the delights of their well-earned summer break. Summer learning should be distinctively different – more of a case of keeping the door to learning ajar than flung wide open.
Here are six reasons why summer learning is important for your child’s development:
1. It keeps the mind sharp and stimulated
It is important that a child keeps their mind working during the long holidays to avoid them experiencing brain-drain and facing a setback once term starts again. Research consistently shows that children who do not engage in any type of mental activity during the summer tend to lose up to a third of what they have learnt during the academic year. Teachers typically spend four to six weeks re-teaching material that students have forgotten over the summer and kids spend about the same amount of time settling back into the habit of learning.
2. There’s more time to learn the basics
Taking extra time over the summer holidays to concentrate on one particular subject, rather than focusing on a number of subjects at the same time, will help your child get to grips with the key aspects of that topic. The extra work will help them feel really confident about tricky aspects of maths, spelling or science and boost academic achievements when returning to school.
3. You can find the time to overcome a challenge
During the summer your child is learning without the sense of urgency and pressure associated with school, so the brain is free to relax, to imagine, to wander and to create. This helps to associate happy and positive feelings with learning and may be all your child needs to grasp a previously elusive concept.
4. It increases confidence
Taking extra time during the summer to concentrate on a subject that they found difficult in school and discovering new talents will help to build a child’s self confidence and give a feeling of accomplishment.
5. Innovation, creativity and a love of learning are all promoted
During the holidays children have more control over what they want to learn and how they want to learn it. Your child might want to join a summer camp and take up sports or music, or they could join a performing arts class and become more involved in a production. When it comes to extra learning throughout the summer the world is their oyster. So encourage your child to discover and pursue a new passion.
6. It helps your child to hold on to routines
As much as summer is a time for long lazy days and later bedtimes do try to avoid throwing out all routines completely or you will have a battle on your hands towards the end of the holidays. Routines are healthy and good for children as they provide them with a sense of security, safety and stability. Structure time for learning opportunities but keep schedules light and flexible.