The Benefits of Summer Learning: Strategies to Prevent Summer Slide

As we approach the end of the 2022-2023 school year, we know both we and our students are ready to embrace a few months of fun under the sun! Yet as we all know, managing focus on academics over the summer months can be challenging. With the sun shining and the outdoors calling, keeping little minds learning is often a matter of incorporating the joys of summer with opportunities to learn. 

Retaining our studies throughout the summer isn’t a struggle unique to any generation, either. The topic of students retaining last year’s knowledge when they start the fall semester– often referred to as “learning loss”– has been of interest to education researchers since 1906. According to the Brookings Institute, study data from over half a million students found an average loss of “between 25 – 30 percent of their school-year learning over the summer.”

Simultaneously, researchers noted that both “summer loss and summer gap-growth occur,” signifying that summer slide isn’t an inherent side effect of sunnier weather. Developing strong study habits and a lifelong love for learning in elementary school is crucial, and will remain valuable long after our students leave Asasa.

Here are some tips from the teachers at our private Calgary elementary school on how to keep students focused and avoid summer learning loss:

1. Create a Summer Reading Challenge

Creating a summer reading challenge is not only a great way to introduce goal setting and completion but an opportunity to help your child develop a love for reading. Notably, reading for only five minutes every day has been proven to introduce children to 282,000 new words every year. By engaging in diverse reading activities and exploring various genres, your child can strengthen their vocabulary, improve comprehension abilities, and expand their knowledge in different subject areas.

Consider creating a themed summer reading list! Focus on Canadian authors, or on one of your child’s interests – maybe a deep dive into dinosaurs will spark an interest in evolutionary theory! For younger children, consider creating a challenge or goal to read for a set period of time each day together. Studies continuously show that being read to is the first step in creating a literary connoisseur.

2. Foster a Love for STEM Subjects

Learning opportunities, summer fun and STEM projects go hand in hand. Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, aka STEM, is largely about finding creative solutions to real-world problems. At Asasa, we incorporate the introduction of STEM subjects and principles into our curriculum. By introducing these concepts from an early age, we provide our students with a solid foundation for analytical thinking and practical problem-solving. The options are endless, with summer STEM activities ranging from water activities to Lego projects or crafting a compass.

3. Embrace the Outdoors

The outdoors is calling, so answer it! The outdoors is a unique, unmatched classroom, and living in Calgary with our sub-zero winters makes us appreciate it so much more during warmer months. Even simple, self-led outdoor play sees children experience a rich kinetic learning experience as they acquaint themselves with the natural world. Studies have continuously shown that outdoor education activities positively influence academic outcomes.

For instance, nature scavenger hunts encourage children to observe and identify different plants and animals. Naturally, fostering their curiosity and knowledge of the environment. Activities like gardening teach them about plant life cycles, sustainability, and the importance of caring for our ecosystem. Just to top it off, these activities are usually enjoyable and relaxing – so much so that they probably won’t even realize they’re learning. 

4. Use Digital Resources

Here at Asasa, one of our focuses is ensuring children are digital-age-ready. We have an in-house computer lab where students from Kindergarten to Grade 6 learn how to use computers and software programs as part of our Information Technology curriculum. In our digital age, the internet is riddled with both cat memes and oodles of quality educational content – including digital games, apps, and learning programs. Leverage the use of digital technology and introduce your child to some fun and educational digital resources. Some parent-approved favourites include the codeSpark Academy App (ages 5-10) and Teach Your Monster to Read (Ages 3-6).

5. Plan Your Own Field Trip

Summer is a time of trips, vacations, and activities – why not incorporate some field tips, too? Organize visits to museums, zoos, science centers, or historical sites. These field trips provide opportunities for children to learn while having fun and experiencing new things. See if places you visit this season have interesting or unique experiences you can introduce your child to while you’re there, or plan your own field trip close to home. Consider a visit to Calgary’s Telus Spark science centre for some hands-on learning, or witness some living local history at Heritage Park.

 

6. Enroll in Summer Camps

Summer camps provide a fantastic opportunity for children to participate in structured educational activities while basking in the joys of summer. These camps not only allow kids to have fun and play but also provide a chance for them to connect with other children who share similar interests. Furthermore, research has shown that summer camps and programs are effective in preventing learning loss, ensuring that children continue to grow academically even during their break. Thankfully, Calgary is home to a plethora of options, like the Calgary Zoo summer camps for children ages 4 and up, where they learn about the animal kingdom through close-up animal encounters, stories and zoo walkabouts.

We wish all of our Asasa students and their families a summer filled with unforgettable experiences, sunny relaxation, and abundant opportunities to broaden their horizons. Congratulations on successfully completing another fantastic school year, and we eagerly await the return of our students in the fall!

Registration for the 2023-2024 school year is open! Give us a call or book a tour to learn more about why our private elementary school is the right choice for your budding academic.