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Jul 18, 2019

Healthy Living: Summer Slide

Have you ever heard about the summer slide? Well, if you’re a parent of a child on summer break, it’s something you need to know about.  It’s a term used to describe the academic regression some students may experience after the summer holidays.  We find out more in tonight’s Healthy Living.


Marleni Cuellar, Reporting
By the start of July students across the country eagerly embrace the start of their summer break. Naturally, they look forward to two months of no school, no tests, no pop quizzes and no homework but could it also mean two months of learning lost? For parents who have this worry, psychotherapist Jenny Lovell, says it is a valid concern.


Jenny Lovell

Jenny Lovell, Psychotherapist

“We all need to have some structure all of us especially children and I think a lot of parents feel like summer is time for them to just run wild but no. you are depriving your child of a lot of things when you do that.  If you allow your child to do nothing. They actually lose two months of math and two months of English of the information they learned. They actually lose two whole months of learning. So they go backwards so when they come back to school they have to play catch-up again.”


To understand the setback that summer causes on academic progress, simply think of how our skills in anything tend to get rusty when we take extended breaks. The same happens in   children.


Jenny Lovell

“Remember this frontal lobe right here is where we learn things over the summer we put it to sleep. The kids are just functioning right here in this part of the brain where they just play, play, play. They losethey actually lose two whole months of learning.  The older children, they’ve had two months off and they have been playing they have been playing running round doing nothing or tablet or TV. They forget. It’s just like the older people who are in college. You put your books down and you don’t look at them for a while and when you come back its like holy Toledo and you have to go back and read the entire book instead just having to just to refresh your memory. Have you ever done that? You say oh my god I don’t remember any of this! You forget your equations you forget all kinds of things. So if you kept a moderate amount of work, having the child go back in summer school and keep up with some of the material. Its so much easier for them when school reopens.”


This, however, does not mean a full academic schedule during the summer break. Instead, Lovell advocates a healthy balance of play and learning or programs that may integrate both.


Jenny Lovell

“Not the entire summer you want them to have some play time. You don’t want to overdo it. Im just saying. The thing is you can do some balance. NICH has a choir. Music opens up all kinds of things in brain; send them to go do choir, send them to go do an instrument. Thats a different part of the brain. Send them to do dance. Dance helps with flexibility and all kinds of things. Send them to go and do a course summer school where they are doing their Math and their English and their writing skills. They have writing classes creative writing classes. Do those kinds of things or they might go in and do some acting where they have to memorize lines anything that will engage their brain.”


Interestingly the research suggests that this academic loss called the “summer slide” tends to be greater in lower income households.


Jenny Lovell

“This happens especially in low income areas because the parents afford to put their kids in some sort of summer school where they are learning something new. People with finances will do something fun go to Disney world go wherever and then they will have them go into summer school to keep with the learning that they had started during the regular school year.”


This is why Lovell advocates accessing free summer programs – like the ones she noted from NICH – and others that are low cost to keep your child’s brain engaged.


Jenny Lovell

“As parents I want to encourage and beg parents don’t just let your child run wild the entire summer. They will lose ground when he gets back in school.”

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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