Help kids catch up, keep up, and move up over the summer

young boy and girl outside in the summer looking at a school zone big first grade workbook mom is bring out a tray of drinks

In a normal year, over the summer break kids lose some skills they learned and gained between September and June. But the past 2 years have been anything but normal.

The pandemic has set many kids back

Summer learning loss is real. Megan Kuhfeld authored a blog post for the Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA™), titled “Summer Learning Loss: What We Know and What We’re Learning.” She cites a study that found “the average student lost 17-34% of the prior year’s learning gains during summer break” and that “students who lose ground in one summer are more likely to also lose ground in subsequent summers.”

The data for those findings were gathered pre-COVID. Kuhfield and several co-authors published an article in March for the Brookings Institution, suggesting that the pandemic has had “devastating” effects on learning. They draw this conclusion from math and reading scores in grades 3-8.

However, the upheaval of routines has also affected younger kids just transitioning into school. A blog post by Sarah Jackson for New America notes that educators say kids will “need more support to succeed in kindergarten and first grade.” 

Both their social-emotional development and academic readiness in many cases will be likely lagging.

Yes, they need a break—but not totally

These months of non-stop change and uncertainty have created fatigue for everyone. Kids do need a break (and so do parents), but little ones also need supportive skill reminders and refresher lessons to stay at or get to their personal best. And even preschoolers who had not yet experienced a school routine may be somewhat behind in readiness skills.

dad adn young daughter reading a book together outside in the summer

When it comes to at-home learning, avoid pushing it. An average attention span for a 6-year-old is typically 12-18 minutes; many experts add 2 or 3 minutes for each year of age up until the teens. Same as grown-ups, factors that affect kids’ attention span include mood, personality, interests, and surrounding distractions.

Just a few minutes a day, in a quiet place, can go a long, long way in keeping kids on track or getting them caught up. Adding breaks, keeping things fun, and removing distraction help them focus.

on the left side of the image is a mother and young daughter on a couch laughing as they play an anywhere teacher game on a tablet on the right side is a screen image of another counting game on anywhere teacher

Anywhere Teacher, an award-winning online learning program for ages 2-8, is perfect for summer learning. It gives parents a break from teaching and makes it easy for kids to do activities a few at a time. Developed by teachers, it offers both guided, curriculum-based learning paths for preschool, kindergarten, and first grade and self-directed learning for freestyle exploration. More than one child can be on the program, using multiple devices. Safe, secure, and ad-free, it includes tracking features for parents to monitor kids’ progress and make changes as needed.

Explore a year of learning one activity at a time
kindergarten and preschool full learning programs from school zone with a detail image of what is inside each box set and a lifestyle photo of a mother and young girl using the preschool full learning program

To minimize “lesson planning” for more supervised learning time, consider the Preschool Full Learning Program and Kindergarten Full Learning Program. These comprehensive boxed sets take a classroom approach to learning. Because they cover a full year’s curriculum they are great for reviewing and catching things kids might not have fully mastered, making sure they are ready for the next step, or even giving them the confidence of being a step ahead come fall.

And because these Learning Programs offer so many options, settling in for small time chunks is easy. Ditto for changing things up and keeping them fun. Choose from one of 4 books, play one of several games, or dig into 3 progressive workbooks with stickers. A Write & Reuse™ Worksheet Sleeve makes for easy do-overs that build confidence and also extend the workbooks’ use and value. 

A glue stick and safety scissors take things into a playful crafty zone and also develop fine motor skills, eye-hand coordination, and the ability to follow directions. A Parent Guide offers tips for making best use of the materials. 

Helping kids catch up, keep up, and move ahead over the summer is more important than ever but also pretty easy with a little bit of planning and a few great tools and resources.

mom and daughter giving a high five over a table of school zone learning products