Here in New York City, the school year runs until the end of June, but we know that in some places summer vacation has already begun. Whether your child’s school year is winding down or behind them, there are some steps you can take now to make the summer more productive and to set your child up for a smooth transition when the next school year begins.
New School? New Class?
For students who are starting a new school next fall, whether because they are moving up in their own community or whether your family is relocating over the summer, becoming familiar with the new school building will help diminish any anxiety your child is feeling as September approaches. Often, incoming students will have had a chance to visit their new school as part of a class trip, but additional walks around the grounds, tours of the building (if it is accessible over the summer), and exploration of the neighborhood around the school may all help your child feel at home in a new setting.
If your child will be taking the bus, or the subway, or walking to school for the first time or in a new place, practice can make the process easier and less stressful for parent and student alike.
We’ve all had the experience of receiving a reading list at the end of the school year, with instructions to read a certain number of books and perhaps write a report – all due in September. It’s a rare student who has the drive and organizational skills to actually plan their reading and writing on their own so that August doesn’t bring a flurry of activity and anxiety. Parents can help by having their child unpack their backpack as soon as school ends, retrieving reading lists, assignment sheets, and supply lists for the next year. Breaking summer assignments down into manageable steps – and making sure that each step gets done on schedule – will alleviate the last minute rush that can interfere with a leisurely end to the summer.
Keeping Skills Fresh
Kids don’t want to spend their summer working on academic skills. Unless a student is required to attend summer school for academic reasons, or because he has an IEP that includes extended school year services, the best approach to keeping skills fresh or building new skills might be to use technology and games to make learning seem like playing. We’ve got more than two dozen suggestions for games involving almost every subject, for a wide range of ages. Check out these and our other ideas, such as coding and robotics resources, for fun ways your child can exercise their mind over summer break.