Well, it’s a wrap on another school year as of a few days ago. And with the end of school about a gazillion kids are suddenly ratting around poking their noses in all kinds of places and doing all kinds of nefarious activities.
I’m being facetious but the start of summer holidays also brings alarms from educators about the “summer slide”, based on a fear that kids’ knowledge will “back-slide” during the summer and they will forget many of school’s lessons in the coming weeks.
There are two things wrong with this perception, IMO: in the summer, outside of conventional classrooms, kids have all kinds of opportunities for learning that just don’t ever seem to make the curriculum: playing, thinking (on their own), creating, travel, being self-responsible, work-experience, accessing nature, etc. These activities and others are increasingly recognized as primes for important learning, in many cases more important for life-choices than grade 6 math or grade 11 science.
And speaking of these subjects, the knowledge of which educators fear kids will forget during summer recess, if these were taught in a way that actually provided deeper context – known to assist in memory recall and deepen learning – than kids would remember more content and probably be even more eager to pick up where they left off, come September. But these subjects in particular remain in lock-down – guided by mundane, abstract curricula. It shouldn’t surprise anyone that retention is minimal in any area of learning that is divorced from reality, but, speaking as a former scientist, that continues to be too true for math and science curricula in general.
And as for having the opportunities for kids to play, think, create, travel, etc., it is regrettable that some of these activities are less available to some kids in our society. During the summer many, many people work to make these opportunities available to more kids, and I commend you.
With this in mind, I’ll give a plug for a program I lead during the summer – 3 weeks from now in fact. The program is called SURPASS and it’s for teens, 13 – 17 years, out of the beautiful Camp Byng site nearby to where I live. For more information, see this site here.
Have a great start to your summer, and enjoy the slide, the swings, the parks and your tool-shed!
For information on my book: Learn Your Way! SelfDesigning the Life You Really Want, Starting Now (2011) and to order a copy, go here.