September is here, the kids are back at school and the weather is becoming autumnal so now is a good time to reflect on the summer just gone. I listen to many parents and teachers debate the role of summer revision: “does it really help children, or should they be able to rest and recover from what we all know has been a tiring and busy academic year”.
Firstly, let me start from a teacher’s point of view. Each September as a classroom teacher I would meet my new class, unfortunately often finding them less confident and than they were during the summer assessments. In many cases they have forgotten some of the learning from the previous year. However, had they done some work in the summer this may not have been the case.
On the other hand, as adults when we take a holiday from work we are not keen on the idea that we should keep working. There is a lot of evidence that rest is good for the brain and the body. Should children, especially in this busy and information overloaded environment should have the same opportunity to rest and have fun?
So, what should we get our children to do over the summer and how much is acceptable? A lot depends on the age of your children; younger children need more free time to rest and play. I personally believe that all children should be at least reading over the summer. As adults we read for pleasure and this is a good habit to instil in your child. Additionally, they could be encouraged to write a diary page per week or for younger children they could draw a picture and write a sentence. If you go out for dinner your child could work out the cost of the meal before the bill; furthermore, they could read and understand train timetables before a journey.
In January we make New Year resolutions, so why not make a September one! Next summer encourage your children to enter the Library summer reading challenge. Also enter Growing Young Minds writing competition but most of all help them to see that learning is not just in school but in everything we do daily.