Why summer hols are important

Why summer hols are important

During the long summer holidays primary school children will lose ground – but parents can help. This is exacerbated by the fact children have already suffered lengthy periods away from school during the Covid pandemic are trying to catch up.

A six week lay-off is not ideal from a teaching or learning point of view, but small, practical steps can keep young minds fresh.

What teachers dread is starting a term in September and having to go back and do refresher lessons on what the children have forgotten.

If parents want to help, they should focus on literacy and numeracy as the most important things.

It is not unreasonable for a child to read a book a week over the summer break. It might sound daunting to a child when put like that, but it isn’t.

Parents should choose books that are slightly more challenging than the reading age of the child.

A bit of planning can go a long way, so parents should note how many pages there are, set targets, and put aside a reading time each day. Routine and structure really help. As does the odd reward for hitting targets.

Children at primary school spend weeks in the classroom learning their times tables and there is a risk they’ll forget them over the holidays.

So, practising them can be of great importance, and they are of great practical, everyday use as well.

Just the idea of studying maths or practising mental arithmetic can cause some children to baulk and resist.

But there are plenty of games that involve mathematical calculations – such as Monopoly, card games and dominoes.

Numbers are part of the games and children will learn as they play without realising it. Others might like to try Sudoku or more mathematically involved puzzles or pastimes.

Obviously, some regular practice from maths books which are readily available from major retailers will help too.

The key thing is to develop skills in the four rules of number – addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.

While basic literacy and numeracy are important for school success, these skills are building blocks for life.

If parents can help their children over the summer holiday, they are helping them for the rest of their lives.