The average school summer holiday in the UK is around six weeks long. While this time usually flies in a whirlwind of childcare, family holidays and generally keeping them entertained, it is important to consider what the effects of such a long break may have on your child’s learning. Throughout the academic year, both teachers and students work hard to solidify knowledge in their expanding brains. When the year comes to an end, of course, they deserve a break. However, some parents are encouraging their children to study during this period to prepare them for the coming new year in September. This article discusses whether there is a benefit to this and if you should be asking your children to open their schoolbooks this summer.
What do the Experts Say?
There have been studies to show that doing absolutely nothing educational over the summer can cause a recess in the reading and writing skills in younger children. However, you can also be mindful of the fact that learning can be established through play and fun activities. The consensus among professionals is to encourage your child, or children, to engage in activities in which they learn and enjoy synonymously.
Allow Your Child to Develop Non-academic Skills
The school year can be tiring, particularly for the younger pupils as they get to grips with academic life. It’s for this reason most experts do recommend a break from study. As an extension to this, allowing your child independent and creative forms of play can help them to develop other skills, such as self-sufficiency. Such skills, while not laden with maths or history facts, can have a direct impact on your child’s personal development and potentially influence their future ability to learn. For example, sport teaches valuable life skills such as leadership, teamwork and sportsmanship, all of which are revered traits in adulthood. The link between exercise as part of an active lifestyle and its ability to enhance brain power is well documented. Furthermore, the very nature of competitive sports can prepare your child for knock backs, both in sport and life in general. All of these traits are considered essential in a well-rounded individual.
Should I Hire a Tutor?
You may have heard of some parents hiring a tutor for their children over the summer. Each child is different and, as parents, you are likely to know what is best. With this in mind, if you do decide to keep your child in academic learning during this time, make sure it is beneficial to the cause. The maximum recommended tutoring is twice a week.
Ideas and Activities That Encourage Learning
Other than sport, there is a vast range of activities you can do with your child or children to keep their brains in gear this summer. We all know that each child has individual interests, so you may find that you need to experiment with different activities or combinations to keep them interested.
Reading – some children enjoy reading and are happy to do it off their own backs. While this is great, be sure to retain an active interest and encourage them. If reading is not on their priority list, try having a family book club where you discuss the events in their latest book.
Cooking – fun and tasty, cooking is a fantastic secret learning activity. Help your child to read the recipe for themselves and add together and convert ingredients.
Museums – interactive museums are a marvellous day out and again provide undercover learning opportunities.
Journals and scrapbooks – many schools ask children to create a holiday journal to help them practise reading and writing. Help make it a fun activity by adding photographs and little memoirs from the trip such as ticket stubs. Add colour and drawings for the ultimate holiday diary.
For more ideas have a look at our article on 7 Ways to Keep Your Child’s Mind Active During the Holiday.
We hope you have a fantastic summer! St Peter’s Preparatory is a day and boarding school, we educate children up to 13 years, starting from age three at our independent pre-school in Devon. For more information, visit our website or contact our Director of Admissions & Marketing, Ms Rachel Elliott on 01395 280335.