On Jul 13, 2021
Congratulations! You have made it to the end of the year teaching in what I am sure was one of the most challenging years yet. Even if you may not have heard it enough, you have made a difference in the lives of your students this year by providing safety and continuity in your classroom.
We all know that the pandemic has exacerbated learning loss for students over this year, commonly referred to as the “COVID slide,” and as educators we know that the “summer slide” is a real phenomenon. These two regression patterns may combine this summer to create a substantial disparity in the fall for certain students who need the most assistance. The good news is that there ARE steps families can take this summer to combat the combination COVID and summer slide, and they do not have to be intense for students (and families) who may have felt overwhelmed by school this past year.
Before you head out the door to some much-needed and deserved rest, here are some low-stress tips to share with your students’ families to mitigate summer learning loss:
1. Encourage Extra Help and Programming
2. Give Parents Skills to Work on IEPs At Home
3. Get Outside
- Here is a timely list of 10 Nature Activities to Help Get Your Family Through the Coronavirus Pandemic.
- Explore community parks and gardens in your local area, or travel to new ones! Families could have a checklist of local spots.
- Take a walk or hike on a trail or even just around your neighborhood.
- Have children help with gardening or give them a small place to have their own garden—even a pot on your porch will do.
- My daughter and I have been taking many classes at our local nature center—check those in your area for camps, story times, and classes.
- Here is a list of tons of nature activities for kids of all ages.
- The Tinkergarten website has many wonderful DIY resources of different nature activities, searchable by age range or skill; they offer classes in many areas as well or families can participate online
- Check your community for other resources specific to special education services, such as those provided by Outside OT, an occupational therapy program that specializes in helping kids with sensory, coordination, attention and social challenges through nature-based programs. No matter where you are located, you can check out their free downloadable resources here.
- Learn more about the National Wildlife Foundation’s “Green Hour,” a movement to get kids outside each day, or 1000 Hours Outside, the global movement trying to replace screen time with time outdoors.
4. Read Everyday
By encouraging these activities, hopefully we can slow the “summer slide” for students who have already had a difficult year. Enjoy your break, and thank you educators for all you do!