Summer learning loss has always been a concern for educators, but in light of the massive school closures due to the current COVID-19 crisis, you’re probably thinking about summer learning in a whole new way. With all the talk about profound skill loss, you, as well as many others, may feel defeated even before summer begins. But by shifting expectations to meet today’s reality and thinking creatively about the types of skills that children can sharpen over the summer months, we can create summer experiences that help children soar!
If there is one thing we have learned from the current crisis, it’s that building effective and collaborative family partnerships is critical to continuing our educational mission during these uncertain times. With simple steps, we can redesign summer learning in 2020 in a way that deepens partnerships, bonds families, and provides new experiences for children.
Three ways to combat summer learning loss:
1. Make yourself available to families—virtually!
After several weeks of no school, combined with the uncertainty about when things will return to normal, many families are understandably stressed and looking for guidance and reassurance. A virtual party is a great opportunity to connect families, debrief, and answer their questions. Bust out some balloons or homemade streamers and share with families how much you respect and appreciate them and what awesome partners they have been! If a video platform isn’t accessible for your community, try a small group phone call. Allow them to share and collaborate as families. Engage in discussions together. What have they learned during this time? What has worked for them? What hasn’t? What are they most proud of? Use this time to share what summer learning resources will be available to them.
If you implement ReadyRosie™ in your school or program, be sure to check out the Summer Soar Resource Folder. Consider using the new Summer Learning Give Me Ten Family Workshop as a template or guide for your summer interactions.
2.Provide families with summer tools that build them up, instead of stressing them out!
Families have been juggling a lot with remote learning initiatives, and many are dealing with challenges like food scarcity, unemployment, or even trying to work from home without the benefit of childcare. While you cannot address all of those challenges, you can commit to providing resources that do not add to family stress. This summer, you can empower families to bond together and build skills that will be the foundation for strong transitions back to formal learning settings. You can model for families the kind of experiences that actually reduce stress rather than increase it. For example, building a fort allows children to imagine, visualize, create, problem-solve, and collaborate. All are important building blocks of pre-engineering skills. Or they might make a treasure map together. Activities like these support a child’s learning and development, including skills like adaptability, resiliency, confidence, creativity, and bravery.
3. Celebrate accomplishments together!
As a parent of elementary-aged children myself, this time of school closure has inspired me to share more with my children’s teachers. I find myself wanting to share about the things they are learning or what I am proud of in my family. For example, we have been playing Monopoly more often and I see my first grade daughter’s money and math skills improving each time we play!
Ask the families that you work with what stories they would like to share in celebration of the family learning that has taken place. Take some time now to plan how you will set up a way for families to share with you or your program either throughout the summer or when formal school begins again. It can be as simple as a text message or a journal of a child’s drawings—any artifact of experiences is worth celebrating and building upon in the fall.
ReadyRosie™ prioritizes the sharing and celebrating of qualitative data (comments and feedback communicated back and forth between educator and family). With each modeled experience, in digital and print form, families and educators have the opportunity to share and celebrate accomplishments all summer long!
Check out our Summer Soar Family Backpack
We’ve heard from so many partners concerned with summer learning loss that we’ve put together, for the first time ever, a collection of both digital and print resources to build strong partnerships with families and support children’s learning during the summer months and during potential times of extended remote learning in the future.
Want to learn more about bringing ReadyRosie™ and Summer Soar to your community?