How to beat summer learning loss when your child is moving up to "big" school

Summer learning loss is the loss of knowledge and academic skills over the summer holidays. It’s a common problem and can have a significant and long-lasting impact on your child’s school success, particularly for children moving from primary to secondary school.

Downtime after exams adds to the loss

No matter whether they have sat SATS or other school exams, the summer term at the end of their final primary year is generally a term which includes lots of fun, but not so much learning! Leavers jumpers, end of term parties and tearful farewells tend to be the order of the day rather than focused learning right up until the last day of term.

That’s all well and good and we certainly don’t want to put a dampener on the fun but it’s perhaps no surprise that recent research has shown that summer learning loss is acute in this particular period of a child’s school career.  So much so that the research indicates that some children make no actual progress at all during their first year in “big school”.

How to plan summer learning and avoid learning loss

That means it’s really important to take a moment before the holidays begin to plan how to make sure your child continues to progress over the summer and doesn’t lose any of the valuable learning and skills they’ve acquired to date. After all, you want to give your child the best possible chance of success when they head back to school.

And to help make that a bit easier for you, we’ve put together these three suggestions to help you beat the summer slide:  

1.       Make sure you speak to their teacher before the end of the year

This simple step may seem obvious but is often overlooked. Check in with your child’s teacher before the end of term and ask them for:

  • Any specific areas they think you should help your child with over summer.

  • Any recommended resources. This might be a library reading list or a maths website like SumDog which has game like challenges. Your child’s teacher might even be able to provide specific exercises or work to do over the summer.

Your child’s teacher may also be able to give you advice about the curriculum for the next year to help you identify any areas you need to focus on.

2.       Build learning into your plans for the summer holidays

It’s easy to let good intentions slip over the summer holidays, especially when you’re juggling commitments such as work and child care. In order to make sure that your child’s continuous summer learning doesn’t somehow fall by the way side, start by writing it as a regular feature on your calendar.

Then draw up a schedule of learning. You may or may not want to share this with your child in advance but if you write down what you want to cover and achieve with them, you have a much better chance of actually achieving it.

Key areas of learning focus

This of course involves taking a deeper look at 3 key areas:

  1. any areas where you think your child may be struggling and needs support,

  2. any areas where you child is talented but perhaps isn’t achieving their full potential (or perhaps they have and you don’t want them to slip back),

  3. maths and English skills are always key areas which you’ll want to include in your summer learning.

Don’t overload your summer learning plans with too many subjects, but once you’ve identified perhaps 3 main areas, you need to work out a specific programme. Remember you need to make this fun but effective so you may need to buy or borrow some learning resources such as revision books.

Ideas for how you can plan your programme can include:

  • Encouraging reading, writing and comprehension skills with trips to the library, journaling challenges, book reviews or story writing exercises.

  • Improving maths skills by setting creative projects that need maths calculations or getting your child to budget the finances when you go out for the day.

  • Doing some science experiments at home – try searching on the internet for ideas but do always be careful about safety.

The possibilities are more or less endless, but the important thing is to be consistent and make sure you include at least a couple of hours of learning every week.

Building up their confidence

It’s a big step up to secondary school and confidence is key to making it a success, so keep the focus on building your child’s competence and confidence so they are in the best possible state of mind and position when it comes to starting their new school.

3.       Short of time? Enrol your child with MagiKats

All the above is great advice and very effective but we’re the first to admit it can be time consuming and a challenge, particularly if you have more than one child or work commitments. On top of making time every week, there’s all the planning, research and preparation you need to do.

So, our summer learning programmes offer a really fun, easy and affordable alternative. We have a thorough knowledge of the school curriculum and where your child needs to be at the beginning of secondary to give them the best possible chance for a successful start.

A learning programme written specifically for your child

We then create a summer learning specifically for your child, building on the areas they already excel at and or supporting them in areas which might be more of a struggle. We make sure the programmes are fun so that the kids actually enjoy coming and hardly realise they’re learning and with the emphasis on confidence, they meet lots of new children which sets them up well for making new friends in the new term.

The building blocks of success

With emphasis on the key areas of maths and English, our teaching techniques ensure that your child progresses over the summer as well as developing other key skills such as problem solving and reasoning skills.

And you can find out more about our summer tuition programmes and how to book here.

Summer learning loss can be a significant problem for some children and schools. Make sure your child starts secondary school with the best possible chance of success.

from the team at MagiKats HQ