This, well documented, loss of school skills is most pronounced in rural children from low income circumstances, because they lack access to many of the organised learning opportunities available to their more affluent, urban counterparts.
West Virginia University has an extension service called, Energy Express. It is a six week program designed to keep kids on track through the summer.
According to the Energy Express website,
“Children living in rural and low-income communities often fall behind during the summer months, starting each school year behind where they were the previous spring. Successive summers of limited learning opportunities may cause children to fall below grade level by the end of elementary school – putting them further and further behind more privileged peers.”
While the children hardest hit are those with limited access to formal summertime learning opportunities, the reality is, the “summer slide” can affect any child.
The Alberta Teachers’ Association recommends that parents acknowledge the slide and then take action to combat it. They suggest parents work with their children through the summer by reading to them and giving them impromptu opportunities to practice their school skills, ie: doing the simple math involved in a shopping trip.
Parents can also sign their children up for summer activities, classes or day-camps to give them a fun, but structured learning environment for a portion of their vacation.
It’s tempting to relax over the summer and let everything slide, but going too far can mean kids have to play catch-up in September. Too many consecutive summers of slide can lead to scholastic losses that are difficult to reverse. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. – Jen R, Staff Writer
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