Beating the Summer Learning Loss

Beat the summer learning loss

The concept of the so called summer learning loss isn’t new. Much independent research has been done, going back 50 years or more. The focus of this article however, is not to elaborate on how much children can slip back in the long summer holidays. Rather, it is to discuss what parents can do about countering this potentially negative effect on their children’s education.

What causes the summer loss?

During the school year, children are fully engaged in daily learning. Then suddenly formal learning stops! The gap can be 6 or more weeks; the perfect opportunity for children to forget a lot of what they’ve learned throughout the year. It makes sense doesn’t it? Stop formal learning and there is likely to be an effect.

However, whether or not children actually do slip back a few months in maths and reading, depends to some extent on how they spend their time during the holidays.

What can I, as a parent, do about this phenomenon?

It may seem fairly obvious that if a child spends large parts of the holidays in passive activities like watching lots of TV or at the computer screen playing games for hours on end, the child may well be entertained; perhaps entertained, yes, but has it been helpful?

In fact, too much of this type of passive entertainment activity is likely to lead to the summer learning loss. The key words are too much. Everyone needs down time. The question is: how much is beneficial and how much isn’t?

Keeping your children active and stimulated

How children spend their time in the summer holidays is going to be the biggest factor in whether they have slipped back a few months in their levels, or whether in fact they have done the opposite and gone ahead a little more.

As Cambridgeshire residents, we are indeed very fortunate to have a wealth of interesting and intellectually stimulating activities right on our doorstep; right here in Cambridge and nearby. The good news for parents is many are free.

Here are a few suggestions:

The Fitzwilliam Museum caters very well for children. Pick up a Fitz Kit when you arrive which is full of adventurous activities for kids to embark on in the galleries!

Here’s an opportunity to engage your children in local history: Footprint Tours offer walking and cycling tours that have a novel approach using the more fun and interesting historical facts that are bound to interest children.

How about trying to encourage your child to become more interested in science. There’s the SEDGWICK MUSEUM OF EARTH SCIENCES


THE CAMBRIDGE SCIENCE CENTRE which offers hands-on exhibitions that are great for keeping little minds and little fingers busy!

If your child is interested in technology you could try the CAMBRIDGE MUSEUM OF TECHNOLOGY. This museum shows the history of power through the ages, collections include letterpress-printing and pump station equipment, information and artefacts from local industries.

Or another technology activity: the Centre for Computing History which is a hands on, interactive computer and video games museum dedicated to the history of the technology that has changed our lives! Many of the computers can be played with and they have programming guides for you to follow and learn to code!

More pure entertainment oriented activities such as Ghost Tours, Punting Tours and Bike Tours are offered by Oxbridge Tours.

The Botanic Gardens is a terrific pleasure and ideal for a picnic on a sunny day.

The ideas above are not recommendations, rather they are some ideas to get you started.

And we are busy too!

The summer programme at Excelr8 Learning:

We’re playing our part by staying open throughout July and August, offering summer holiday lessons. Morning lessons are available Monday to Thursday and, to encourage attendance, we’re offering some helpful reductions on lesson fees.

Free Back to School Lesson:

As has been our practice for many years now, in the last week of the holidays, we are again offering a free lesson to encourage your child back into formal learning ready for the Autumn Term.

Please contact Pooja on 01954 211888 to book a free Back to School lesson for your child or to book a Summer Holiday lesson.

Finally, if you’d like to understand a little more about the concept of the summer learning loss, the following two links may be of interest. A quick look at Wikipedia    provides more background information. The Independent Newspaper also published this relevant article.

Happy Holidays