SATs are over and there’s a collective sigh of relief. For parents, teachers and children alike, it can be tempting in the weeks after SATs to take your foot off the pedal and relax. After all, the weeks ahead are the last few of your child’s primary school years. Your child has worked hard for their SATs and now there are lots of fun things to enjoy like the school play, sports day and induction days. In fact, summer school programmes and holiday learning are probably not a priority right now.
There are a few very good reasons why you should try and keep up a programme of learning over the summer. For a start, with 6 long weeks of summer holidays, if your child’s learning drifts now, in June and early July, that could mean a total of 3 months without clear educational direction.
We’ve written before about the loss of learning children can experience over the summer holidays, and the detrimental impact this can have as they start secondary school. In fact, the evidence suggests that in some cases, as little as 6 weeks of holidays can set your child back by many months, if not longer.
However, what is also equally important to remember is that many secondary schools will also require your child to take CATs (Cognitive Abilities Tests) very early on in the new academic year.
The results of CATs are often used in Year 7 to stream children into sets for certain subjects where the school splits pupils based on ability. The tests assess strengths and weaknesses in reasoning and identify each child’s ability in verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, non-verbal reasoning and spatial ability.
Even if your child’s secondary school doesn’t have CATS, the start of a new term at a new school is daunting. It’s a big step up from primary school with significantly more homework which is of a more challenging nature. Add to this weeks of non-learning and if your child lacks confidence or was already struggling to keep up, it really can make it a very difficult time. This in turn can further undermine your child.
Don’t lose momentum
All of which means, it’s really important as a parent, to make sure your child doesn’t completely lose focus and abandon all meaningful learning for the next few months. We appreciate that when you’re busy, this isn’t always easy, so we’ve put together the three easiest ways to help your child continue to learn and develop over the next few months:
1. Educational days out and confidence building activities
From now, through to the end of the summer holidays, why not plan a number of educational days out. They don’t have to be expensive. Trips to historic buildings, gardens and visitor centres often have interactive tours for children to take part in, where the children have to read instructions, find items or answer questions. Join in with this process, asking them to explain or expand their answers or explain to you why something was done in a certain way.
Similarly, physical activities such as adventure trails can be great for building confidence. Perhaps invite one of your child’s friends to join you and encourage them to work as a team as they go around.
2. Keep up the reading, writing and maths at home
With the call of the Xbox or TV, it’s not always easy to make sure your child keeps reading, writing and practising their maths skills when at home.
Try and find something they love reading, even if it’s only the latest Marvel or Beano comic. Then remember to ask them about what they’ve read and get them to explain why things have happened. If it’s comics they love, encourage them to draw and write their own. If it’s Harry Potter that’s their favourite, again, why not encourage them to make up some short stories or write their own spells.
Use every opportunity you can to encourage them to use their maths skills. Adding up the shopping, weighing ingredients, working out bus timetables for when they start secondary school or measuring up for their new school uniforms. It all helps with their numeracy skills.
3. Enrol on a summer school programme
Summer school doesn’t have to feel like hard work and is an easy way for you to make sure your child carries on learning and builds their confidence over the summer. In fact, the MagiKats Summer Programmes are designed specifically to stimulate and educate but without pressure.
With renewed focus in the National Curriculum on reasoning, we’ve enhanced our programmes this summer and this year they will include mathematical reasoning and also work on developing the ability to follow instructions carefully and correctly. English students will work on verbal reasoning and developing their writing skills, especially when applied to non-fiction.
Learning at our workshops doesn’t feel like learning. Our workshops are fun and interactive, but at the same time, they provide your child with all the skills they need to get the new term off to a flying start. Better still, we provide all our students with workbooks which are great for doing on those long summer car journeys or flights, making your life a little less stressful too.
So, tempting as it is to ignore the rest of the term’s homework and relax the Xbox or TV rules, it really won’t help, when your child starts at their new school next term. If you’d like to know more about our Summer School Programmes or what we do, please get in touch today.