Summer is upon us, but for early childhood this is simply a new chapter in our adventures. We are here year round, rain or shine. Our focus of what we expect from ourselves to give back to the children does not change hardly at all transitioning from school year to summer time.
Yes, we often have new children and new responsibilities, but at the end of the day we are still here to help children develop their cognitive, fine motor, gross motor, and social interactions and most importantly have FUN! Early childhood lays the ground work for the next 13 years of schooling. Making a positive impression now will have a much more positive impact on all of the other years of school.
As teachers and parents we need to remind ourselves that learning should always be fun, and that learning does not have to be fancy. Any item in a room can strike an interest or conversation. Depending on how the adult chooses to introduce things to children plays a huge part in what kind of understanding that child will take with them.
Answering your three year-old’s one-thousandth question of the day is maddening, but the benefit your child takes away from that moment could be the life changing one. To a small child the whole world is a new and exciting; they are soaking up every inch of it.
Whether you realize it or not young children are gathering as much information as possible, and growing all of those connections in their brains. The 5+ year old kiddos that we have for the summer are using and pruning what they have learned in the past five years or more to get the best picture of their world.
Summer can be a fun yet stressful time for all. There are new adjustments to make, and you know that they are temporary. However, many parents can feel afraid that their children will lose all of the progress that they have gained over the school year.
This is a legitimate fear, so let’s alleviate that fear. This can be avoided in many ways: find your child a great summer camp like the 3 different ones offered at Young Scholars Academy! This will ensure that your child is getting time to work both their minds and bodies in a safe and social setting.
In addition to this, do simple things at home to keep them from turning into the ever dreaded “couch potato”. Here are some simple and cute baking activities to try from the Food Network: Recipes Kids Can Make
These recipes will range from some work to no work on the adult’s part depending on the age of the children. With younger children have them stir and lick spoons! Just them being included, spoken to, and getting to watch, and touch the process is enough to have their brains firing in all directions. With somewhat older children trace your finger along the words of the recipe as you read, and have them help measure things out.
For older children let them read the recipe and do the preparations (including cutting, cracking eggs, or handling the heating device). This will simply only require your attention for safety and help if needed. Just be engaged with your kiddos the entire time. Once the cooking is done does not mean that the learning is done. If possible extend this activity to an outside dinner setup, or create a snack stand.
Summer comes and goes very quickly so make the most of it by having fun. Each fun activity will have teaching moments. If you are doing things with your children and giving them the attention that they deserve, then nothing learned in previous school years will be lost in a few months of excitement. Get out and enjoy a hands on summer with your kiddos!
Curriculum Instruction Coordinator
Early Literacy Leader