Students across the country are counting down the days until summer break. Plans are being made with friends finding good ways to spend this downtime. While parents plan plenty of outdoor time and maybe even summer camps to keep their children busy, the children likely have other ideas to fill their days. With the abundance of electronics, streaming, and social media, you can bet many students are planning a lot of screen time this summer. Students tend to avoid activities that resemble anything they would do in school during the summer, and this can lead to summer learning loss.
What is summer learning loss?
When students return to school each fall, teachers across the country frequently see a noticeable decline in reading and math skills. This phenomenon is often called “summer learning loss.” Summer learning loss has been studied since the 1970s, but more recent studies have helped researchers understand where the deficits occur and why. Many students in the United States take Measure of Academic Progress (MAP) assessments from the Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA) in the fall and spring each year. MAP testing shows student growth during the school year, but it also shows the summer slide, when scores from spring are compared to scores earned the next fall. On average, students lose about 20% of their learning during the summer months. These numbers can be slightly higher for students with learning disabilities and those from lower socioeconomic backgrounds.
What are schools doing to prevent summer learning loss?
Schools have been looking for ways to help slow or stop summer learning loss for years. Many schools send home summer reading lists to encourage students to get ahead for the next school year. Some schools have put together lists of age-appropriate computer-based education games students can play. Many districts offer summer school and short summer camps to help prevent achievement loss.
How can FunShine Express help?
FunShine Express has created a three-month, thematic summer curriculum to help prevent summer learning loss in school-age students. Each day is filled with opportunities to create and think outside the box, read and write, and keep math skills polished. There is also time built in for large group, gross motor activities and time for students to choose activities to complete on their own.
The activities in the Summer School-Age program are divided into 5 categories:
- Makerspace activities focus on Science, Technology, Reading/Writing, Engineering, Art, and Math (STREAM). During these activities, students think and create using recycled materials and art supplies. Students will participate in virtual field trips to learn more about our world, and things out of this world! Makerspace activities are developed with the intent that students will spend a good portion of their day working together to solve a problem, to create something new, or simply to design and develop models of things in our world.
- Get Up and Move! activities help students remain active during the summer months. Each day there are two active games suggested, with frequent reminders throughout to incorporate free-choice, unstructured play.
- Making Friends activities are times for students to socialize and work cooperatively with others, usually in small group settings. The activities in this category include relay races, logic games, fluent thinking challenges, making plans for celebrations, and more. Each day includes two activities.
- Quiet Time activities provide ideas for reading and writing, but also include independent art projects, card and board games, puzzles, and more. Quiet Time provides a chance for students to break from the busyness of the day and have some downtime.
- Arrivals and Departures activities include at least five generic activities students can do during times when others are arriving to and departing from your program each day. This category also includes a set of six simple STREAM Box ideas to put together during each theme. The Reading/Writing activity includes a list of theme-related books students might want to read. Students can complete the STREAM Box activities during Arrivals and Departures times, or any other time during the day.
A day in the life…
Here is a look at a day in the FunShine Summer School-Age program. Preview 6 activities from the America the Beautiful theme:
- Our Lady Liberty
- Statue of Liberty Stair Climb
- Statue of Liberty Ring Toss
- Tea Party Relay and Snack
- Statue of Liberty Crowns
- A Vacay for the Statue of Liberty
Interested? Subscribe today for an entire summer of brain-building fun for only $75 per teacher.