By Emma Patti Harris on July 13, 2020 5:01 PM | Video and text by Kaylee Domzalski
The coronavirus pandemic has forced many summer programs across the country to cancel or switch their hands-on programs to a virtual platform. After a spring of online learning and canceled summer enrichment activities, parents and educators worry about their students’ academic losses.
“It’s the most unusual, atypical summer we’ve seen,” said Matthew Boulay, the founder of the National Summer Learning Association and author of How to Keep Your Kids Learning When Schools Are Closed: Tips, Tools and Activities to Help Parents Discover the Power of Summer Learning in the Era Of Covid-19. “We’ve talked for a long time about summer being the most unequal time in America… so all of those inequities are exacerbated this summer.”
For parents whose kids are without a summer program this year, Boulay says one of the most important things is to create structure and routine. What’s also important is creating a summer learning routine that is as child-centered and child-driven as much as possible
“We always say summer learning is not summer school,” he said. “You don’t have to teach your child trigonometry and advanced chemistry. You want to foster their interests, support their learning, make sure they have access to materials… Find ways to sort of capture and spark your kid’s imagination and encourage them to jump from topic to topic, idea to idea, that is aligned with their interests.
From cooking and arts and crafts, to watching documentaries and doing yoga in the living room, Boulay says there are many options that parents can utilize for their kids.