Preventing the “Summer Slide” by Adding Movement to Summer Learning
“Summer school” may bring to mind an image of frustrated students slumped over desks while the sun is shining outside their classroom window. But, what if educators started adding movement to summer learning programs? Better yet, what if kids had so much fun moving around while learning that they wanted to practice their academic skills during the summer? Math & Movement is here to incorporate play-based learning into more than just classrooms during the regular school year, but also into summer programs and camps.
Since 1996, researchers have studied what many educators call the “summer slide”, or a regression seen in the academic proficiency of students during their summer break from school. A study published in 2021 by NWEA, a non-profit research organization, found that the average student in grades 1-8 lost 17-34% of the prior school year’s learning gains during summer break. Add in the new concept of the “COVID slide”, or learning setbacks seen in students due to the Covid-19 pandemic, these losses are likely even more exacerbated. (See our previous blog article on how the Covid-19 pandemic impacted student learning to read some of the newest learning loss statistics.)
Younger kids, including kindergarten, first-grade, and second-grade students, are prone to the most learning loss over summer breaks. This is because, at that age, children are at a crucial stage in development when learning is accelerated. How students perform in elementary school is often a good predictor of how successful they are in high school and beyond, so it is especially important to keep kids this age up on their skills during the summer and year-round.
Kids Want to Move and Play During Summer!
Kids often like summer because they do not have to wake up early for school, they can be outside more, and enjoy having fewer responsibilities in general. Playing is usually the priority for them, not learning. This is also why having to attend summer school seems to have negative connotations.
Scholastic suggests keeping kids engaged in math and reading during the summer by playing games and puzzles. If kids are focused on winning a game or completing a puzzle, they may not even realize if there are educational aspects to said activity. This is where Math & Movement comes in – to make learning fun.
How Math & Movement Can Help with Adding Movement to Summer Learning Programs
Math & Movement offers a variety of products, including floor mats, outdoor stickers, and stencils, that promote movement and play-based learning. By implementing a kinesthetic learning plan, kids’ engagement, confidence, and retention increase. Student data shows that math and reading skills improve after completing Math & Movement lessons.
Math & Movement recently attended the National Summer Learning Association (NSLA) annual conference in Washington DC. As quoted from their website, the NSLA “is a national, non-profit organization whose mission is to convince, connect, and equip program providers, education leaders, families, and communities to deliver high-quality summer learning opportunities to our nation’s children and youth in order to help close the achievement and opportunity gap and support healthy development.” At the end of October, we were able to meet with summer learning program directors, school district administrators, parks and recreation directors, and other leaders and researchers to share the benefits of adding movement to summer learning. This was a big step towards expanding the use of our materials beyond the regular school-year calendar!
We have selected a group of our products that we believe are well-suited for summer programs and put them together into a complete summer learning plan. A majority of our lesson plans include games, so many kids will not even realize they are practicing their math and reading skills. Students and campers alike will be excited to play and complete each activity! No more kids feeling trapped sitting at a desk.
If you are ready to add valuable movement-based learning to your summer program, our team is here to help. Contact us with any questions or for any assistance matching the best Math & Movement products to your individual program.