Since March of 2020, students across the globe have been faced with many challenges when it comes to their education. According to UNESCO, in-person learning was largely put on hold for an average of 56 weeks in the United States and 47 weeks in Canada since the start of the COVID-19 Pandemic. One of the questions we are left with now is, how will this affect our children?
Although the shift in the learning environment may have been difficult, countless extraordinary educators worked tirelessly to go above and beyond in order to keep students engaged and on track. The result? While there are undeniable learning gaps caused by a break in in-person academics, it’s important to look at the positives: the experience has left kids with strengthened soft skills like focus, independence, organization, and more.
Now that summer is approaching, it’s important not to let typical summer learning loss compound learning gaps. Research says that a student can lose an average of 2-3 months’ worth of learning during summer break. Let’s take advantage of these six crucial skills that kids strengthened over the past year to kick summer learning loss to the side!
When schools around North America shut their doors to in-person learning during the pandemic, educators and students alike had to set up shop at home. Students not only had to adjust to the new learning environment itself, but also stay regimented in their learning, oftentimes without direct supervision. The experience inevitably boosted students’ independence – a skill that will not only help them to stay on track this summer academically but will also continue to stick with them next school year.
The thought of an unsupervised first-grader in front of a computer in their home, successfully focusing on their teacher and schoolwork for hours on end, might have seemed farfetched in 2019. But countless students have accomplished just that, day in and day out for over a year. The dynamic learning circumstances, although difficult at times, resulted in an undeniable increase in ability to focus in students of all ages. Now, that newly sharpened skill can be leveraged this summer to hunker down and get caught up over the summer.
Part of the benefit of being in a classroom is the structure and organization that a teacher provides. While teachers worked hard to create stability for students, being divided by spaces and by screens did destabilize the structure and organization that students are accustomed to. It was largely on the student to keep themselves organized while learning at home, resulting in yet another strengthened skill that can pay dividends this summer and beyond.
One major consequence of the pandemic was the fact that students were isolated from their peers. Although they may have been able to see each other through a computer screen during the school day, the circumstances still required students to be creative on their own. The separation meant extra exercise for their imaginations, and the creativity fostered during that time will stick with them to keep summer learning interesting.
The COVID-19 pandemic and the challenges it posed for students and educators alike were both unpredictable and difficult. Regardless, students persevered through countless changes in their lives. Whether it be the shift in learning environment, lack of in-person socialization, or uncertain day-to-day routines, our children weathered the storm and demonstrated extraordinary resilience. Now that resilience can be leveraged this summer to stay on track, and to enter the school year feeling ready for anything.
The continuous shifts in daily life during the pandemic took time for us all to adapt to. Students had to deal with the added stress of school completely changing overnight. The pandemic affected the way they learn and socialize but they learned to adapt. For example, they had to become experts in technology required to attend class. Summer is also a time when routines are disrupted, so students are well-equipped to transition to a summer learning routine. Regardless of what supplemental education program or activities you integrate into their schedule, they have proven they will be able to adapt and most importantly, succeed.
Kumon —the world’s largest after-school math and reading program— goes beyond typical tutoring, by actively developing critical thinking skills as children progress independently through a carefully crafted math and reading curriculum. The program will continue to build upon and strengthen these six crucial skills, leading them to success both in and out of the classroom.