As teachers say goodbye to their students for summer holidays, there is often concern over whether the newly acquired knowledge and skills will be retained or depleted while students are out of the classroom for several weeks. Before summer vacation, teachers will encourage their students to read novels or play educational games to keep their brains active. While some students will be successful in accomplishing intellectual tasks, there are others who will forget to practice and may lose some of the literacy, numeracy, problem-solving or handwriting skills that had been fine tuned over the course of the academic year.

As teachers and parents, it's important to develop a plan of action to ensure kids do not fall behind over summer break and start the next academic year at a lower level of academic attainment. Many parents look to teachers for advice on how to keep their kids engaged during the summer break. Here are a few suggestions:

1. Freedom of choice. Take your kids to the library or book store and encourage them to select books or novels that are of interest to them. During the academic year, students are often told what books they will be reading. In the summer, it's the perfect opportunity to encourage kids to choose books that excite their curiosities. This freedom of choice will make the activity more alluring and will therefore motivate lifelong reading.

2. Create a schedule and set goals. For kids that are hooked on the latest technology or gadgets, devise a schedule that consists of timed educational games or activities, as well as free time. Once students have fulfilled the educational game or activity for a designated time period, reward them with free time to play games of their own choosing.

3. Sign them up for camps or clubs. There are many summer camps and programs available that help kids develop and re-fine specific skills, such as canoeing, archery, arts and crafts, swimming and other sports. Many of these activities involve strategy, problem-solving, teamwork and sportsmanship. These camps also encourage students to make friends and develop positive social skills. 

4. Encourage them to play outside. Outdoor play may not seem mentally stimulating at first glance, but it provides an opportunity for kids to apply what they have learned over the course of the academic year in adventurous and exploratory activities. 

While it's important for kids to have a break from school, it's equally important to keep kids mentally active and motivated. By encouraging them to participate in stimulating activities, this will ensure they do not lose or forget the skills they have learned during the academic year. It will also provide them with the confidence they need to transition back into the classroom in September.

Tags: Break, Learning, Students, Summer

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