By Komal Mahajan
Summertime breaks play a very important role in the academic cycle for both students and teachers. This vacation time provides an opportunity to both to break free from the monotony that might creep in due to continuous teaching-learning activities throughout the academic year. Investing this time in summer programs could be used to support an array of goals for the children and the development of varied areas of curricular and non-curricular interests. Hence vacation is a time to relax, learn new skills, read new books, pursue hobbies etc. It is an opportunity to rejuvenate oneself. This is the intent of summer vacations and other scheduled vacations in the academic calendar of schools. In the present circumstances due to COVID-19 and the context explained above, the intent of summer vacation must be realized not just in letter but in the spirit too.
Here is a book Shaping Summertime Experiences; which provides insights into how summertime experiences can affect academic, health, social and emotional and safety outcomes for children. It provides a special opportunity for families, schools, communities, and other sectors to work together to provide programs and services that promote technical and social skill development and advance learning as well as promote healthy lifestyles among the students. Now, to foster active Summer Learning, the following are some interesting ideas that could be recommended by the teachers to the parent community to adopt and make the maximum use of this time:
- Offer recommendations on active and live learning experiences: A list of the recommendations of the government and private parks about recreation and other activities could be shared by the teachers. The school should encourage the parents by providing a list of the exhibits, events and concerts that are happening in the town. These events could be embedded in a calendar of the summer learning activities. The experience of live learning could help in enhancing the interest in co-curricular activities too.
- Be an active citizen: The students who participate in the community service activities gain not only new skills but also boost their self-confidence and self-esteem. Activities like donating meals could help the child to understand the concepts of hunger and food. Parents can encourage kids to plan a day to donate food to roadside beggars or the disabled in their locality. Another activity could include setting up a “blessing box” in front of their house, where they can place free food and essential hygiene products. Kids can place a note on the donation box with a slogan like “Take a blessing when you need one. Leave a blessing when you can.” Another idea is to donate your children’s old clothes and toys to a local children’s hospital. This could be the easiest thing to do with old clothes and toys. For some more ideas, you can check amazing ideas to inspire the kids and teens.
- Read about your world: The teacher can recommend some websites/ resources that can inspire students to know more about world events. This would help children to explore the latest information around the world through various platforms like NatGeo, and Discovery Plus.
- Watch a garden grow: Watch a garden grow and build research, reading and writing skills with this useful website Kids Gardening. This website includes lots of ideas and resources for families and schools on gardening. The idea is to create opportunities for kids to play, learn and grow by doing gardening, engaging their natural curiosity.
g) Involvement in online activities: There are some good interactive educational websites that parents and young kids can explore together. like National Geographic Kids to watch nature videos, activities, games, stories etc. Discovery kids to watch videos related to animals, space, pets, history etc. NASA Kids Club provides a place to play games and learn about NASA through interactive explorations.
With the help of these ideas, the teacher community can provide meaningful learning experiences to students to ensure that they enjoy a successful and productive summer break experience.
The author is in academics and teacher training team, Schoolnet India.