Metro schools are already starting to let out for the summer this week. Students are gearing up for a fun break, but many parents and educators worry about the break in learning.
Studies suggest students lose four to six weeks’ worth of what they’ve learned by the time they head back to school in the fall. Teachers often spend weeks going back over that material for a second time.
The fall isn’t yet on the minds of first graders, wrapping up their year at Scribner-Snyder school with a field trip to Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo.
Seven-year-old Ally already has her summer laid out. "I get to go to the pool and there's no homework."
But there are simple things she and her classmates can do which could help make a difference in retaining this year’s lessons. "With summer vacations coming up, there are lots of great things you can take in the car or on the airplane,” said Amy Coacher, owner of Learning HQ in Aksarben Village, 67th & Center.
Her store sells games, activities and teaching materials for parents and educators. “Lots of game that are either magnetic or the pieces are connected so you won't have pieces floating down the airplane aisle,” she pointed out.
“Fun activity books that have brain teasers, puzzles, things like that that the older kids would like. And they're a lot of fun, too, you start working on those and I can't put that book down,” Coacher laughed.
The key, she said, is keeping it fun. A family game night is one way to get everyone involved and keep it light. Board games are available in a wide range of subjects from science to math to literature, and for a variety of age levels.
Even a trip to the zoo can be educational. “Counting the animals, or for older kids, maybe have them journal about something they saw. Or read a book about an animal before you go,” said Coacher.”
Parents could kick it up a notch for their children by enrolling them in day camps. Omaha’s zoo has camps and classes from preschool ages to eighteen.
Julie Anderson, Curriculum & Instruction Supervisor, said, “This is definitely a non-traditional setting. So we can take things like penguins and teach math with penguins which is really exciting."
Coacher added, “To children, it's not sitting, you know, taking a test or doing a lot of homework every night. So, I think there's some ways to be creative."
Corey Schlueter, father of a first grader at Scribner-Snyder, said 4-H involvement will help his daughter stay sharp this summer. “Otherwise, they slow down and relax.” And, he believes you can get too much of a good thing.
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