Active Summer Minds
Help keep your child’s learning alive over the long summer, and give them a head start for 2016. Kids 12 and over could start a job, since being out in the world learning new skills is great for keeping brains active. For their first couple of summers, get them doing something which gives them responsibility – it will help them to stand out and give them confidence when they want a real job in a few years time.
Under 12s could keep a holiday journal – what they did each day, or maybe a photo and a story written about an event, even if it’s only once a week. The public libraries also run great summer reading programmes for children.
Lists are great incentives to write: a to-do list, shopping list, all the animals that start with an 'a'… with a 'b'… Thank-you letters for presents are an often forgotten skill, and lots of drawing keeps their hands fit for writing. If you don’t believe how important this is, try handwriting for an hour: it hurts when you’re not used to it!
Flash cards are great for younger primary school kids – start with about 45 frequently used words. Google them, make them beautiful, keep them in cute containers. Pull out one card a day and read it, write it, spell it, play games with it. Known words can go in another container. When it's tidy, neat and available, it will be used and loved!
Preschool-aged children can also use flash cards utilising only letter sounds. Other ideas for this age-group: learn the name of a new vegetable or fruit each time you go to the supermarket – these could be written - and drawn - back home. Write letters and numbers in the sand on the beach. Read the numbers on letterboxes when going for walks and play ‘I spy’ using sounds instead of letters.
Even spending just a few minutes a day with your child will make a significant difference to their learning for the start of a new year.
Words by Tia Woller, Totara Hill Montessori Preschool