Summer Student Learning: Helping Families Learn With, From, and About Their Child

Family Playing JengaMany families are concerned about providing their children with enriching learning experiences during the summer months while offering them well-rounded, out-of-classroom adventures. Families most often opt to enroll their children in tutoring programs and summer classes to address this concern. However, instead of only thinking of what their children need to “learn” during the summer to prevent the “summer slide,” families and caregivers can leverage the summer months instead to learn from, with, and about their children. Here are some ideas you can share with the families of your students for summer activities:

Event: Outdoor festivals, concerts, and movies
Benefit: Observation and inference skills 

Possible questions families might pose at these events are:

  • Why do you think the choreographer chose that soundscape?
  • What did the characters’ costumes tell you about their personalities? 
  • What do you think matters most to the storyteller (choreographer, playwright, composer)? What matters most to you? 

Family Swimming

Event: Volunteering at local organizations
Benefit: Empathy and connection to purpose

Possible questions families might pose after volunteering are:

  • What did you learn about the ways we can care for our neighbors/our planet?
  • How does your heart feel?
  • If you could create an organization to solve a problem you most care about, what would it be?

Event: Zoo or nature trips, botanical gardens, local walking trail, or public park
Benefit: Connection to other living beings

Possible questions families might pose during a visit:

  • How did the animals show care for each other?  What did they do? How is it similar to or different from how we care for you? How can you show care for your friends?
  • What did you notice about how plants grow? How is it similar to or different from how you grow?

Do you have any recommendations for no-cost events where families can learn with, from, and about their children? Please share them with me via email or on Twitter @LINC_PD

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