Teachers are so proud of their students at the end of the year because they have gained so much knowledge through the year, only to get their new group of students who seem to be behind! They talk with the former teacher and find out the students left them on target, what happened? Summer happened.
Summer is seen as a time of fun for children. The old saying goes, “School’s out for summer! No more pencils, No more books, No more teacher's dirty looks.” The kids sing it with glee at the end of each school year. Some parents and child care providers see it as a time for the kids to be carefree. This is where the problem comes in; the students lose knowledge because they do not practice what they have learned. Children should not have to do 8 hours of school work a day during the summer. Students should keep their minds sharp by doing some educational activities. These activities can be fun. It does not require paper, pencils, and books to keep your mind sharp.
Parents and child care providers should plan educational field trips with activities to compliment them during the summer. We have a wealth of history in the Montgomery area. Not only do we have the capital and Old Alabama Town, we have the Civil Rights Museum, and several other significant historical places. We also are fortunate enough to have places which would be great for literature/reading enrichment activities—The Alabama Shakespeare Festival, the public libraries. We are within traveling distance of the The McWane Science Center in Birmingham-a great place for hands on scientific discovery.
There are a variety of activities which can be done right in your center or home to cultivate knowledge. Letting children research topics of interest on the computer will build reading skills and if it is something they are interested in, they will read it. You can play games with math facts so they don’t lose them over the summer. One game I have seen children play with enthusiasm is “Around the World”. You will need to group children of the same grade level or math abilities together so the competition will be fair. Typically done in a classroom, it could be easily change. Have the children sit in chairs in a circle. Have the first two children stand up. The teacher then holds up a flash card with out the answer, on what ever skill set needed, the students say the answer out loud. The one who says it first moves to the next player. You do this until someone goes around the circle, hence the title, “Around the World.”
I would like to challenge the parents and child care providers to help keep their students sharp over the summer. Their teachers next year will be thankful for it and will notice the difference! It will also make the student’s next year easier in the beginning if they are ready when school starts.