Embedding Learning in Every Experience: Working with the Summer Slide

May 27, 2022

The average student forgets anywhere from 17-34% of the previous year's learning during summer break. So how do we give our kids a break, while making sure they don’t regress or fall behind over the summer months? 

Summer means longer days, lighter routines, time to travel, and the room to relax! The favorite season of every child - and for good reason - but what about their brains? How can we continue to encourage learning and growth without encroaching on that summer freedom? By facilitating a year-round love for learning, of course. 

Brookings.edu reports that the infamous "summer slide" can result in losses of an entire academic month worth of learning. The American Educational Research Journal adds to this sentiment with their findings that an average student can forget anywhere from 17-34% of the previous year's learning (via NWEA). While students take their well-earned break, a lack of mental stimulation can be detrimental to their overall achievement. However significant these findings may be, we at Origins know that a child's achievements are measured by much more than their test scores and academic data. By adjusting our understanding of how children learn, we can (and do!) encourage growth in every area of a child's brain; and we show how it can be done without stepping on the toes of summer fun. 

The key to a child's growth (academically, emotionally, and everything in between) is linked directly to their own motivation. When a child is invested and empowered by the acquisition of knowledge, the more likely they are to pursue opportunities for growth on their own. Through our Origins summer curriculum, your child will be exposed to project-based and community focused activities. By putting the emphasis on discovery and experiences, our program encourages growth and achievement without interrupting the best parts of the season. To get the most out of everything you do this summer, we suggest these additional tips and tricks:

Low Pressure Learning: The most important way to engage your child in learning is by frequently embedding it in those day-to-day moments. Learning during the summer can be easy, leisurely, relaxed... and effective!

  1. Ask questions - offer your child opportunities to explore and explain what they're doing during play. Use open-ended questions - not to be mistaken with quizzing; there should be no right answers here. 
    • Examples: Why did you choose to do it that way? How do you think that character feels? What do you think about _____? Tell me more about that.
  2. Share the enthusiasm - let these moments be lead by connection and encouragement. Engage your child on their level. Offer eye contact, smiles, and a few moments of your undivided attention. A genuine interest in your child's thoughts and ideas will boost achievement more than any classroom ever could. 
  3. Provide opportunities - make good use of this delicious family time! Do not feel pressured to overfill your schedules with structured activity, but do lean into your looser routine; this is an opportunity to allow extra time for the things you wouldn't normally extend during the year. Add sketchbooks to your evening walks, bring calculators to the grocery store, let your child help you plan or cook dinner, read extra books before bed. Embrace the slower pace! 
    1. Origins Curriculum also offers a Games & Activities extension that is great for roadtrips and travel, or when kid’s say that they’re bored.
  4. Schedule experiences - incorporate as much "new" as you can! For inexpensive experiences: find a new park to play in, try a new food, or learn a new game. If your family is able, go on a trip, visit a new museum, drive around new neighborhoods. 

Essentially, a child is always learning. In fun and in boredom, rain or shine, on vacation or at home; every childhood experience is valuable and contributes to learning. Developing the necessary enthusiasm to truly absorb information begins and ends in the home: you are your child's first teacher, and we are here to help. 

Learning looks different on every child, but the core remains the same: having the tools to inspire a love for learning will lead to growth automatically - no matter the season.  Get the most out of your child's summer by incorporating our Game & Activity Bundle into your travel plans. Use our curriculum to keep your child's brain in the habit of learning without losing a single moment of summer magic.