Learning How to Combat Summer Learning Loss

preschool education activitiesSummer learning loss — a phenomenon you may have heard of before. It’s not just a way to poke fun at how quickly kids forget everything they’ve learned once school is out — it’s a real, observed issue that occurs to millions of children every year.

Previous studies estimate that the average child forgets about 2.6 months of mathematics education and 2 months of reading. In fact, a percentage of the achievement gap in reading that occurs later in high school has been traced back to summer learning loss.

Why does this happen? The current school schedule is based on an outdated system. In the beginnings of the public school system, the majority of Americans were involved in agriculture. Today, few Americans work on farms — and yet the long break persists.

So how can you combat summer learning loss in 2016?

Enroll Your Child in Summer Learning
For younger children, taking an academic preschool curriculum over summer can help them prepare for the rigors of grade school. About 75% of kids in the U.S are currently enrolled in a preschool program, yet the summertime is often ignored. Getting children involved in grade school readiness during July and August allows for a more smooth and prepared transition into their first year of grade school.

Research All Your Local Options
According to a recent study by the Afterschool Alliance, many students and parents want summer learning programs — they just don’t always have access to them because of location or finances. Luckily, preschools often cater to a wide range of demographics, and about 45% of children living below the federal poverty level are currently enrolled in preschool. It’s easy to assume that no summer program will fit your family’s requirements, but in many cases, the right program is out there.

Things to Look for in a Preschool for the Summer
There’s a difference between daycare and preschool. Preschool focuses on grade school prep. Daycare, on the other hand, is essentially the same thing as babysitting. Look for preschool education activities that focus on encouraging scholastic growth. It’s worth noting that 60% of at-risk youth were found to be less likely to go to college if they didn’t receive a quality preschool experience.

Make Frequent Trips to the Library
Not everything you do to combat summer learning loss needs to be a massive undertaking; sometimes, it can be as simple as visiting your local library. Middle income students actually experience slight gains in reading over the summer compared to their peers — and this typically relates back to the ability to access books through a library or bookstore. Preschool education activities often include reading time.

Whether it’s preschool education activities like reading a new book, or attending a summer learning class, there are ways to cut down on the effects of summer learning loss.

The Long-Term Benefits of Enrolling At-Risk Youth in Preschool

preschoolAs one of the cornerstones of contemporary society, receiving a quality education is a priority for many parents and children alike. The benefits of receiving a quality education have been showcased for decades. However, little attention is brought to the benefits of starting young, especially for at-risk youth.

With 75% of young children through the country participating in academic preschool programs of some sort, many parents are getting their kids’ educational careers off on the right foot. Unfortunately, that number shrinks dramatically when turning the lens on impoverished families. Only 45% of children who live below the poverty level are enrolled in preschool.

Research shows that participating in a quality academic preschool curriculum gives at-risk youth a much better chance to continue their education long-term. A recent study found that 60% of at-risk youth — three in five — were more likely to avoid college if they didn’t receive a quality preschool education.

Aside from continuing their education, there are many short-term effects of enlisting your child in academic preschool activities. Here are just a few.

  1. Socialization: By spending time around other children and adult authority figures, children learn how to harmoniously interact with others. They also learn about conflict resolution, varying cultural differences, and social cues. Exposing your child to different people from a variety of backgrounds allows them the opportunity to become open-minded.
  2. Grade School Readiness: Preschool is designed to get a head-start on your child’s educational career. While many preschools choose to avoid the traditional sit-down and teach method that many kids encounter in elementary school, they are nonetheless exposing children to new knowledge they’ll absorb and retain. Preschool features a large level of exploration for young children, something that allows them to learn more about their interests and the world around them. Activities such as telling stories and singing nursery rhymes helps build language and pre-reading skills, all the while keeping a child interested and intrigued.
  3. Independence: A huge part of preschool is teaching kids how to be independent and think for themselves. For many youngsters, the first day of preschool can be their first day away from their parents. Though it can be daunting, it teaches children that to be more self-reliant. They will learn that it’s okay to be away from their parents and there are plenty of things outside of their comfort zone that are enjoyable.

If you have any questions about the benefits of preschool, feel free to share in the comments.