Keep students learning throughout the summer months

Families and educators alike feel the pressure of supporting students as they transition through an unusual school year. How did the COVID interruption of learning impact students academically and emotionally? With summer approaching how can we help students to continue to grow and learn? Those are all very valid questions and ones that can’t be easily answered. With time and being reflective on student learning, together we can make the most of a difficult situation. So, what can families do to support their learners?

  1. Start with your school district. Visit with your student’s teachers to learn more about the skills and concepts that you can support from home. What ideas or suggestions do they have for you in order to sustain student learning? Are there any summer options for learning provided by the school district? Some districts intend to provide enrichment programs as well as other summer learning opportunities in order to keep students engaged.
  2. Look around your community. What opportunities are available that would engage students? Are there summer library programs to participate in? Does the local park and rec department have summer camps and workshops? Look for other community organizations like the YMCA who often have programs to engage learners. All of these experiences provide opportunities for students to get involved and actively participate.
  3. In your own neighborhood. Students learn best by being actively involved. Find activities that get students thinking and moving. Provide experiences! Plant flowers or even a small garden or create a scavenger hunt through a local park. Ride bikes together or consider cooking a meal or baking something to share with others. Start a book club. Volunteer at a local animal rescue league. Draw pictures and share them with your neighbors. Talk through those experiences and seek to find activities with purpose and that bring joy to others.
  4. Look at the whole child. Learning is personal and is most successful when it is matched with the interests of the child. Discuss possible career options and look for opportunities to help young people to explore the work they are most passionate about. Students are never too young to explore ways to connect an interest into an occupation. Job shadow. Visit workplaces. Don’t be afraid to reach out as you may be surprised what opportunity will become available.

As this school year winds down, celebrate the successes found throughout this year of uncertainty. Embrace each opportunity of learning and use that as a way to move learning forward.

In closing, Central Rivers Area Education Agency is a partner to support families and students. If you have an idea or would like to find out more about how to support learning, we are here to help.

photo of Cari TeskeCari Teske is a Teacher Librarian/School Improvement Consultant for Central Rivers Area Educational Agency (AEA). She can be reached at Central Rivers AEA serves over 62,000 students in 18 counties of Iowa.