Avoid the Summer Brain Drain
SHARED by: Victoria Versace McLaughlin, Educational Director of York Avenue Preschool
At the end of the school year, it’s always exciting to see the growth and progress that your child has had since the start of school. Now that summer is here, I am getting a specific question from parents: how do you keep your child progressing when they’re not in the classroom so they don’t fall behind in the new school year?
There are some simple things to remember and put into place this summer to keep you child engaged, but also having fun:
- Stay active – this is possibly the most important piece of advice that I can give parents of young children. Physical activity drives cognition in early childhood. No matter what people say about educational games and apps, the best way to stimulate a child’s brain will be through active (vs. passive) engagement. With the lack of structure in the summer days, it can be difficult to keep a child active all day long. Camp, such as Summer Breeze Day Camp, or another camp in your neighborhood will provide structure to your child’s days but in a more relaxed way. Camps will keep your child physically active as well as socially engaged.
- Outings – Maybe camp isn’t for your family. No problem! However, this doesn’t mean it’s productive to stay at home in air conditioning all day. Make sure you incorporate regular trips to the beach, the park and museums.
- Encourage non-screen games – introduce board games to your child which helps with long and short-term memory (matching games) and counting (Candyland). Board games also don’t have to be played with an adult, but can be played with siblings or peers and encourages peer scaffolding.
- Make Conversation – It’s simple, the more conversations you have with your child, the more curious they become and the more questions they ask. The more questions they ask, the more they learn.
- Read – reading is always important, but it’s especially important during the summer months when your child does not have a dedicated time to devote to exploring books at school.
When it’s time to go back to school, your child will not retain everything they learned the previous year. That’s normal! The beginning of the school year is meant for review, to get the class on the same page before moving forward. Don’t be worried about them falling behind and be sure to have some fun this summer!