Ready, Steady, Code - Fire up those synapses for back-to-school
On September 3, 2021
By Mimi Van Der Looy, Customer Insight Manager
Moaning and groaning, incessant bickering, round-the-clock snacking, vying for attention and seeking out quick endorphin hits from screens – by the end of summer holidays many parents will be able to identify a step-up in restless behaviour in their children that go hand-in-hand with a lack of stimulation, routine and challenge – well documented as the “summer slide/slump”.
Summer learning loss, or the “summer slide” is defined as children’s loss of knowledge and academic skills over the summer break from school and is often evident in their behaviour.
So, how do we help our children get their brains back on track, spark interest and re-engage in learning, ready for the new academic year?
Here are a few of our favourite tips:
1. Develop reading skills
Reading is our pathway to learning and it’s a gift to be able to read together - children love sharing stories and insights with us parents. Take turns with your little ones to read out loud, allow yourself to fall in love with stories and together with your kids, bring books to life through sound, touch and sight. With older children it can be immensely rewarding to set up a family book club (holidays are a great time to kick-start this). Make it a special event and keep it going, as kids grow older this will offer you a rare window into their world of interest and fantasy, providing you with a platform where you can explore, discuss and connect.
2. Develop verbal skills
Encourage your kids to review or capture their summer activities /holiday away – drawing pictures, writing a diary, putting together a scrapbook of mementoes or telling a story, will all develop their ability to construct, develop and deliver.
3. Develop writing skills
Children often don’t get to write much during the holidays but sending a postcard to a loved one is still a great way to capture and share a special moment in time and it will give your kids a great exercise in being concise, entertaining and informative. For a modern-day twist, get the kids to turn their top holiday pics into customised real-life postcards with TouchNote – cue happy grandparents!
4. Develop numeracy skills
Ease your children back into mathematical thinking by making it relevant and fun. Get them to plan and budget end-of-summer trips, such as an outing to the movies or even shopping for school shoes (throw in an ice-cream to sweeten the deal).
The start of the new school year could be a good time to set up weekly pocket money, allowing children to take ownership of spending, saving and gifting. But don’t forget the fun factor; personal, much-treasured holiday memories include games (late nights playing card or board games with cousins, chess matches against grandad and Scrabble battles with parents). So, sharpen up the kids’ (and your own) math skills with some epic challenges. Firm family favourite in our house is the calculation card game Arithmanix (suitable for 8+) but also check out this excellent “Big List of Board Games that Inspire Mathematical Thinking” and choose your favourite.
5. Ease kids off screens
As a company that teaches coding, Cypher, is very aware of parental concerns on screen time and if, like me, you have kids in the 10+ age bracket, you possibly face the uphill struggle of helping kids transition off various screens after relaxed holiday regulation. But there is help - the best advice I ever received was to use that last “10-minute warning” to ask your child to show you what they have been busy with. Without fail my son is keen to introduce me to his characters or give a tour of his newest Minecraft mansion. Instead of pitching my will against his, it helps us connect, build mutual understanding and helps him detach from the intensity of the game.
6. Re-imagine screen time
Have you ever considered kids coding classes and how coding for kids can revolutionise your child’s relationship with the screen time altogether? Turning your child into a creator rather than consumer of technology is incredibly powerful, it gives them the computational thinking skills and coding tools to use their creativity and apply it to affect a real-world outcome. These transferrable educational skills have an impact on other areas of learning of course, but it is when we are looking at the bigger picture of getting our kids future ready for an ever-evolving workplace that creatively designed and well-delivered kids coding classes really stand out as the ultimate way to skill up for the future – not just for the new school year. If you are interested in coding for kids and giving your children a future-ready skill set, check out Cypher’s teacher-led offering of after school clubs, weekend sessions or holiday camps.