During the summer break, children and parents alike look forward to enjoying a much-needed hiatus from the school year. While the summer months provide an opportunity to relax, it’s crucial for children to maintain their learning skills during this time off.
Summer “brain drain” or “summer slide” are terms commonly used to describe the annual learning loss that takes place for many students during the break. Fortunately, there are many ways to prevent summer learning loss through high-quality learning programs and camps, and even activities at home.
Parents can support their children’s learning at home by creating a stimulating environment that encourages exploration and curiosity, like providing books, games, puzzles and other educational resources. Whereas high-quality summer programs not only improve math and reading skills, but they also build social and emotional skills that are essential for students’ success in school and life. The significance of these programs cannot be overstated, as they have a positive impact on children returning to school after the break.
According to the National Summer Learning Association, the average student loses approximately two months of grade-level equivalency in math skills over summer break. High-quality learning programs and camps during the summer can counteract this loss, ensuring that children continue to develop their skills and knowledge throughout the year. It can provide a safe and nurturing environment where children can explore new interests and build friendships. Ultimately, the goal is to help kids develop a growth mindset and a lifelong love for learning that will serve them well throughout their life.
In Florida, parents are fortunate to have Voluntary Prekindergarten (VPK) programs that offer free education to 4-year-olds residing in the state, regardless of family income. VPK helps prepare children for kindergarten by enhancing their pre-reading, pre-math and language, while also cultivating important life skills such as teamwork, problem-solving and resilience. Families interested in enrolling their children in VPK for the 2023-2024 school year can apply for a voucher online at VPKSWFL.org or call the Early Learning Coalition office at 239-935-6100.
As the CEO of the Early Learning Coalition of Southwest Florida, I encourage parents and guardians to take advantage of the resources and programs available to them and to actively engage in their children’s learning during the summer months. Together, we can ensure that our children continue to thrive and grow, even when school is out of session.
About the Author
Melanie Stefanowicz is the CEO for Early Learning Coalition of Southwest Florida, which provides access to high-quality early education services for children in Collier, Glades, Hendry and Lee Counties.