Do not take a break from learning over the summer holidays

Do not take a break from learning over the summer holidays

As an education expert, I am calling on families across Britain to keep their children’s minds active during the long summer holidays.

Studies, and anecdotal evidence from teachers, have shown that children academically regress following the six-week break.

As a teacher, tutor and education author, I have noticed that quick and fun learning activities can stop children from falling behind.

Any teacher will tell you that when they welcome children back to the classroom in September most of their pupils’ academic ability has fallen back by about two to three months.

This is particularly noticeable in primary school-aged children in their reading and maths.

I’m not advocating that children should study throughout their holidays or even do lots of homework but simple, fun brain activities will make their return to school so much easier.

The brain is like any organ – it needs regular exercise to keep it at its functioning best.

Working through activity books such as Non-Verbal Reasoning, which are designed to stimulate children’s brains through visual activities, can have a knock-on benefit for children from any background.

This is especially true for those whose first language is not English, as images rather than words are used to solve problems.

There are lots of ways, however, we can keep children’s minds active and continually learning without destroying the fun element of holidays.

On rainy days, card games that have visual clues can help children to solve problems and stimulate that part of the brain.

Or on sunny days why not set your children a ‘treasure’ hunt while on trips to the beach or park?

Such activities don’t have to cost a lot of money or take up too much time.

Regular, but short doses of activity that involve some element of problem-solving, will keep the brain in tip-top condition.

I would also recommend children read during the holidays.

Public libraries often hold fun – and free – challenges throughout the six-week break.

Bringing maths into everyday activities for very young children will also help them start school again with a flourish.

It doesn’t take much to keep children’s brains up to speed.

When buying an ice cream give your child the money to buy it and ask them to tell you how much change they have.

Or when they have friends over to play, get them to share out and divide the toys up between them.

Small things like these will help your child start school in September just as strong as when they left in July – while still thinking they’ve had a wonderful holiday.