Keep kids' minds active to stop 'summer learning loss'

Published: Jul. 16, 2015 at 9:36 AM EDT|Updated: Jul. 16, 2015 at 12:16 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Having a few months off for relaxation might seem beneficial to students, but it can actually have some serious consequences, it can lead to "summer learning loss."

Think about when you take time off of work, it's hard to get back in the swing of things; that's what happens to students when they have time off of school. Local organizations are trying to change that. The Claire Chapin Epps Family YMCA joined Ocean Bay Elementary to push forth a summer learning loss prevention program.

"We have an opportunity to impact our community in the summer, because we know that children are going back to school either staying at the same reading level or actually regressing," Chief Operating Officer Shane Riffle said.

Data from YMCAs across the country, proves summer learning makes a difference. Riffle said students gain 2.4 months of reading skills in these programs.

To find out it's effectiveness here, organizers will be anonymously comparing students test scores - before and after camp - to see if they improved.

Your student doesn't have to be part of this program; organizers just urge you reinforce summer learning, for your child.

Clarissa Pittelli teaches the Summer Learning Loss Prevention Program at YMCA and also teaches at Ocean Bay Elementary. From experience, Pittelli notices, two months off means children often forget what they learned during the school year, which leads to teachers starting the semester, playing catch up.

She compared the importance of continued learning to exercise. If you take time off from the gym, you may have to retrain your body; your brain works the same way.

To keep your kids engaged, she recommends keeping it fun and playing educational games. You can use items in your own home, to teach math, like cards and dice.

Also, have your kids journal about exciting topics. Overall, the goal at home should be to keep the brain stimulated, all summer long.

"I know a lot of the kids and the parents feel like kids need a break all summer long and I agree, everybody definitely needs a break," Pittelli said.  "I think it's important to somehow incorporate something all summer long, even if it's just a little bit here and there, it definitely would help and be an advantage to the children."

She recommends focusing on English and Math, since she says those subjects are top of the agenda at local schools.

"If the parents are reading with the kids, and having them do math problems, even simple things just to keep your brain active, studies show that it's very important and it helps," Pittelli said.

It's not just about being mentally active, we need to keep our kids physically active, too.

Riffle said it's important to stress working in teams, leadership and respect.

At the YMCA, they also address healthy eating, and set examples with healthy snacks.

If you haven't begun summer learning loss prevention, it's not too late. Riffle said these small steps can help your child leap forward each year, and not fall behind.

Copyright 2015 WMBF News. All rights reserved.