Have you ever heard of the summer slide? It’s not a rollercoaster – though it does often include a sudden drop! The summer slide is when two months out of the classroom causes kids to lose some of the reading and math skills that they worked all year to learn. When they return to school, they must re-learn those skills before they can begin work for next year.
Two and a half months of math, two months of reading – these are some of the typical losses of summer, according to Johns Hopkins University. It’s not just mental, either: recent studies show that children at risk for obesity – which is a big problem in Arizona – gain weight faster in summer as well.
Low-income students are particularly affected by loss of reading skills. On its summer learning website, Johns Hopkins University estimates that “more than half of the achievement gap between lower- and higher-income youth can be explained by unequal access to summer learning opportunities.”
It doesn’t have to cost much to keep your child’s mind active and occupied. Turn a trip to the grocery into an impromptu reading and math lesson; an afternoon in the kitchen demonstrates fractions and science. Check your local library for free summer programs and kids’ activities, as well as borrowing books and computer time. The educational site Mind/Shift also has some great, simple ideas.
There’s one more thing you can do that’s simple and timeless, but can be tough on parents as well: Turn off the TV.
Both Heritage Elementary School campuses will be offering summer camps in June, with a math camp happening at our Williams campus. Please check our Facebook pages for Glendale or Williams often for details or call the front office of your campus.
Parents of kindergartners: Brace yourself for graduation!
It seems like just yesterday when you brought your daughter or son to school for the first day of kindergarten, didn’t it? Now, we’re already at the end of a year and it may have come as a shock to realize that your “baby” is about to graduate from kindergarten!
Kindergarten graduations give young students a feeling of pride and honor for what they’ve accomplished in school. If anyone in your family is feeling stressed about the idea of kindergarten graduation, remember that your child is seeing, hearing and may start showing whatever it is the adults are displaying. Having a positive, energetic attitude toward kindergarten graduation sets the stage for a child’s academic career. Be supportive and encouraging to the child.
Kindergarten graduation is also a reminder of how important education is in our community. Take a moment to consider your child’s teacher as well as the milestones that your child has achieved over the year and make a point of expressing your appreciation.
It’s a good idea to do some planning now to make sure the day goes smoothly and is enjoyed by everyone:
Both parents and children should get a good night’s sleep. We know how cranky children can be if they don’t have enough sleep, but sometimes, we don’t recognize that we might get a bit testy when we’re run down and tired.
You’re probably used to setting out your child’s clothes, backpack, etc., but you might want to consider doing the same for yourself. Chances are that you’ll want to bring your cell phone, camera or video recorder to photograph the graduation and other important moments throughout the day. Put them in a place where you won’t forget them. Make a gas run the day before graduation, so you don’t have to worry about it on your way to school.
Eat a good breakfast. Perhaps you can make the day a little more special for your soon-to-be first grader by letting him or her choose what to have for breakfast. Whatever you decide, on this important day in your child’s life, it’s a good idea for everyone to start the day well nourished.
Congratulations on your kindergartner’s graduation! We’re looking forward to seeing you both in the fall for first grade! To keep up to date on campus happenings, be sure to check out our Glendale Events and Williams Events pages.
Parents can teach kids healthy eating
It’s important that our children get a healthy diet. Students fare better in school when they have a healthy diet and we’ve all heard the shocking statistics about childhood obesity. Nutritionists say we should be filling half of our plates with fruits and veggies. Since we all know how much children learn by example, the Healthy Kids Challenge has some tips on how parents can show children how to eat well around the clock.
Plan meals and snacks that include produce.
Fill your grocery list with fruit & veggie choices (fresh, frozen, canned, dried) to have plenty at home.
Cut up fruits & veggies to keep in refrigerator containers for grab and go snacks.
On the go:
Pack a cooler with cut-up fruit and raw veggie slices to have while traveling in the car.
Bring a fanny pack with dried fruits for bicycling, hikes or park play dates.
One of the character values that we emphasize here at Heritage is fairness. We ask children to think in terms of dividing an orange into equal sections to share evenly among friends. A new study shows that younger children, ages 3-6 say sharing is a good concept and they others to share, but when it comes down to it, they say they won’t share and keep the goodie (in this case, scratch-and-sniff stickers) for themselves. A few years down the road, around age 8, children not only say they will share, but they do.
“The younger children focused on their own desires when explaining their predicted and actual sharing, whereas the older children talked spontaneously and explicitly about issues of fairness,” the study concluded. “The results provide some support for traditional accounts of moral development by showing that, in the course of development, children’s sharing is increasingly consistent with the norm of fairness that they endorse from an early age.”
“The littlest kids were talking about what they wanted: ‘I love stickers; I want stickers; I don’t have enough,’ ” the lead researcher, Craig Smith, told NPR. “The oldest kids were saying, ‘I think it would be fair if I did it this way; it would be the nice thing to do; I want the other kids to be happy.’ ”
Words matter … we hear that so often. The words you choose in certain situations make a big difference. By the time you read this, National Grammar Day (March 4) will be over, but its importance remains.
These days, when everything seems to be broken down to a sound bite or 140 characters (thanks, Twitter!), good grammar is more important than ever. No matter what career our children imagine to be working in someday, they will need to communicate well to succeed. That doesn’t mean we have to be grammar police (let’s face it, English isn’t the easiest language to master and we all make mistakes!) or try to sound like we graduated from Oxford or Harvard. But perhaps we should be aware of what language we use around children and try ourselves to use correct language.
Spellcheck is great (who hasn’t been saved a hundred times by spellcheck?), but, as we all know – either by experience or the funny posts we see in social media – spellcheck and autocheck on our cellphones aren’t foolproof. How many times have you written an email or text in a hurry and sent it, then immediately regretted it because it didn’t convey what you meant? It’s important to pay attention to what we say and write to make sure our message is heard correctly.