The 'Summer Slide': Preventing the Post-Holiday Educational Lag

There is no doubt that it is important for children to have a summer holiday, but does this have to come at the cost of their academic achievement? It has been widely acknowledged that the summer holidays can result in a ‘summer slide’ – a phenomenon in which students find themselves regressing academically due to the long break. 

Whilst, it will be parents that are leading their children’s summer activities, it is important that teachers offer the necessary instruction to parents before the summer break to help them ensure that their children are coming back to class in September prepared for the next academic year.

Here, Brent Hughes, former teacher and teacher trainer at Matific, provides some practical tips on how parents can bolster enthusiasm and encourage students to continue their education throughout the summer break.

Mother and child learning on a tablet to prevent the summer slide

Utilising online resources 
Engaging children with online learning resources is a great way to ensure they are staying up to date with high standard, curricula-lead learning. There are a multitude of learning resources available that utilise gamified learning methods to ensure that learning is as much fun as it is instructional - something that is particularly relevant to the current generation of learners as they are used to

conducting much of lives online. Subsequently, online learning is a much more natural form study for young people during their school holidays. Furthermore, virtual resources often allow you to measure students’ learning whilst allowing them to develop at their own speed, which means they won’t face any unnecessary pressure, and parents will have easy access to their progress. 

Online learning environments make studying in the summer considerably less stressful and time consuming, whilst being highly effective. Afterall, while we want young people to retain their academic progress during the holidays, we don’t want them to feel as though they are being punished through a gruelling educational regime; online gamified learning resources can help keep them academically engaged in a way that appeals to their sense of enjoyment.

Learn something new
Keeping children engaged during the holidays can be an uphill struggle, especially when all they want to do is relax in front of television after a challenging school year. However, it may be easier to enthuse them through the promise of something new. Encourage parents to support their child in learning a new hobby or activity, this does not have to be innately educational, as learning something new will naturally be mentally engaging anyway. Activities could be anything from more creative tasks such as Origami, to the more practical tasks such as model building which would allow young people to develop their maths skills in a more hand’s on and practical manner as it inherently involves scaling and ratios. It’s about finding something they will actively want to do rather than forcing something on them.

Linking learning to the real world
Using everyday activities to refresh children’s learning is a fairly easy yet effective method of ensuring they retain the information they have learnt over the previous academic year. For example, if parents are baking a cake or cooking dinner, they can demonstrate how maths fits into measuring the ingredients – everyday tasks that are often reflected in game-based learning platforms. Or, they may ask them to budget their pocket money spending for the summer holiday period, which can both build their maths skills and help them develop their sense of responsibility. This will also help them realise the real-world applications and complement their key learnings at school. 

Therefore, whilst it is important to avoid students falling prey to the ‘summer slide’, this does not have to come at the cost of them having fun – or indeed at the cost of their parent’s peace of mind!