During long vacations, parents can protect their youngsters from losing what they learned in school.
Most students experience some regression over a long vacation, such as a summer vacation or other extended break. Standardized tests show that students in general education and with moderate disabilities regress by approximately four percent, or about one month, according to research by Tilley, Cox and Staybrook. Students with severe disabilities regress at a faster rate and have more difficulty regaining lost skills. These students can lose not only academic skills, but also language, gross motor, fine motor and self-help skills. Research also shows the vacation break is more detrimental to spelling and math skills-especially math computation-than to reading.
To help children retain as much as they can, parents and teachers must work together to plan enrichment activities for children, says the Council for Exceptional Children. That way, not only will students retain knowledge and skills they learned during the school year, but effective instructional practices can also be reinforced during the vacation. Parents should contact their child’s teachers before the vacation and ask, “What skills is my child having difficulty with? Which skills need to be reinforced? What did my child just learn and will be more likely to forget?” Finally, teachers and parents must consider what the child enjoys.
With this knowledge, parents and teachers can come up with vacation-time activities that will reinforce skills but not overburden children, such as one or two books to read and some games and activities children can play to reinforce math, spelling or other skills.
When teachers and parents work together to plan educational activities for a student, they can all be more sure that they’re targeting essential skills and preparing for the next step in the student’s educational progress.
The Council for Exceptional Children is the largest professional organization dedicated to improving educational outcomes for individuals with exceptionalities, students with disabilities and the gifted.
You can learn more about effective educational practices for all children at www.cec.sped.org.