How to prevent kids’ summer brain drain

Education expert answers your questions on how kids can keep learning over the summer

How to prevent kids’ summer brain drain

Summer is coming and the one things parents worry about the most is how to keep kids learning and growing over the holiday.

Time Out Kids UAE speaks with Dr Paul Lieblich, director of schools for Scholars International Group and co-founder, co-author and steering committee chair for the Primary Years Program of the International Baccalaureate (IB), seated at Clarion School Dubai, so you can make sure your children are ready.

How can children be encouraged to continue learning over the summer?
Children learn through stimulation, which can be provided through playing with interactive media and equipment, as well as visiting locations where interactions with the environment can prove beneficial.

This is the “learning by doing” approach advocated by schools such as Clarion School Dubai, which makes children active participants in their own learning.

What activities do you recommend for summer learning?
It’s critical for parents to take on an active role in steering their child’s activities towards beneficial learning experiences. One path to achieving this aim is through not giving them a lot of screen time on electronic devices.

Initially challenging, children should be pushed past a withdrawal period where they seem bored and keep clamouring for their iPads, and then steered to the pool, toy box or pile of books. Here, they’ll be provided with numerous tools invaluable to their development.

How can schools play a role in summer learning?
Schools can host summer camps where the focus is on children carrying out activities that see them interact with their peers. The environment can also be used to promote interactions with equipment and media which allow them to be creative.

This should be a part of a broader learning vision for schools that steps outside of the boundaries of classroom textbooks, and into creative open spaces where learning can be accelerated through joyful learning experiences.

Most kids travel during the summer on family holidays – how can children learn on-the-go?
Talk, talk, talk with your children about what they’re seeing, hearing or experiencing – engage their curiosity through responding to what fascinates and interests them.

You can encourage reflection and thinking through supporting the creation of travel diaries, achieved through discussion, followed by supporting your child in putting the diaries together.

The aim should be to bring concepts to life through dynamism, igniting curiosity.

What are the top three online/offline learning tools or activities you would recommend for children to use during the summer?
We would recommend interactive media, which can see creativity through the use of clay, paint, paper, markers and crayons.

Alternatively, children can be encouraged to let their imagination run wild through the use of blocks, puzzles, books, sand boxes and water tables.
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