By John Monfredo, Worcester School Committee

This summer I’m worried about our students: they just experienced a loss of learning during these past four months due to the pandemic crisis. Now comes summer vacation! Again, my advice to WPS parents is get your children and teens into an on-line summer school learning situation. It’s not the best – but it’s something!

Remember, research clearly shows us that students who read over the summer start school in the fall ready to learn. The same applies to math loss as well. Remember, summer vacation is great as a break from school, but it doesn’t have to be a break from learning. Now, due to the pandemic crisis, students have had more time on their hands. Here are more facts for you to consider about learning and safety during the summer, from the researchers. It applies as to what has taken place for the past four months:

🔰All students experience learning losses when they do not engage in educational activities during the summer.

🔰On average, students lose approximately 2.6 months of grade level equivalency in mathematical computation skills during the summer months.

🔰Low-income children experience greater summer learning losses than their higher income peers because middle-class parents have the means to engage their children, for example trips to a number of learning institutions and museums.

🔰Students may not have the same structured meal schedule and sometimes lose access to nutritious meals during the summer.

🔰Studies show that out-of-school time is a dangerous time for unsupervised children. Research shows that at least 11 percent of children between the ages of 6 and 12 care for themselves over the summer months (unsupervised.)🔰🔰🔰

In addition, the academic delay that occurs over the summer is one of the greatest problems confronting teachers each fall. In fact, when your children return to school, they may have experienced such learning loss during the summer – added to learning-loss during these past four months. Students will need to spend several weeks catching up to where they once were academically!

On the positive side, as a former WPS elementary school principal (Belmont Community School), I know that families have a major influence on their children’s achievement in school – and throughout life. Many studies have found that students with involved parents, no matter what their income or background, were more likely to succeed in school if parents or guardians encouraged and supported learning at home.

Again, you MUST BE INVOLVED IN YOUR CHILD’S LEARNING! Now more than ever!
Let’s look at what can be done. These suggestions come from the National Association of School Principals:

Devise A Plan. Tell your child that reading and learning activities will be an important part of their summer. Assure them that they’ll still have lots of time for play.

Transform everyday activities into learning opportunities. Children can count change, read directions for a trip, write a shopping list, or calculate a recipe’s measurements.

Gather activity books. Give children their own activity book with crossword puzzles or number games customized for their specific age group. Set a “due date” to keep them on track, but let them work at their own pace.

Initiate a writing project. Have your child keep a summer journal, write letters to family members or friends, or craft a play to perform with siblings or neighbors. Start a family cookbook with your favorite recipes, instructions, and shopping lists.

Strategize screen time. Educational computer games or apps can engage students’ minds, but make sure your child is spending enough time away from the screen.

No electric devices. Assign a daily block of time for family members to turn off phones, computers, and the TV, and instead play a board game or read together.

Designate daily reading blocks. Set aside at least 20 minutes a day for your entire family to read. (That means parents, too!) Organize a summer read-a-thon with goals for each family member, or sign your child up for your library’s summer book. Need additional books, contact me!

Go global. Set aside several nights during the summer to have an international evening. Together, cook a meal with recipes from a different nation. Learn basic words in that country language. Find the country on a map, and together examine a book or article with information on what life is like there.

Don’t forget math. Finally, try to motivate your child to complete 5 to 10 math problems (from a grade-appropriate workbook) a few times a week, ask him/her mental math problems as one drives in the car and play math problem games ( or card games) as the situation arises. Hopefully, the work will be fun (keep it low-level and simple), and the child will do it for enjoyment.
Learning alone and informally, or via a structured group for either part of the day or part of the summer will help to prevent learning loss and help your child stay sharp for school next year.

Remember to be creative during summer learning and, most important, have fun with learning!! Also, be sure to check out various learning websites for other ideas, too. Good luck! Most important, be consistent with a plan each and every day.

😸Have any questions, class?😊Please ask John via