For some children, summer is rich with learning experiences, from trips to libraries and museums to educational camps and summer classes. For others, particularly children from low-income families, it means the “summer slide,” when children’s math and reading abilities stagnate or decrease.
This week on the National Journal expert’s blog, Early Ed Watch’s Laura Bornfreund offers her thoughts on avoiding the summer slide. Bornfreund is careful to explain that extending the school year is one potential solution, but only if schools use the time wisely:
Extending the school year is one way to stave off summer learning loss, and principals should consider it as a school improvement strategy. It is not just adding extra time in school that matters; the more important factor is how time is used. Much of the school day is spent in transition from one activity or location to the next. Teachers should receive professional development on how to reduce the time they lose to transitions, so they can spend more time teaching content.
It is also important that extended school years go beyond rote learning and test preparation. Schools should add time to build critical thinking and problem solving skills and to focus on science, history, and the arts.
Read the full post on the National Journal expert’s blog. For more, read Bornfreund’s Huffington Post article from last summer.