This chaotic school year is coming to a close. Whether your child was in school full-time, part-time, remote full time, or a mix of everything throughout the year, they had a learning routine of some sort. Looking forward to the long days of summer ahead, we all want to take our collective breaths and just sit back and relax. We made it.
While taking some time to regroup is always a good plan, summer is the best time for kids to develop new skills or catch up in areas that may have been lost during the school year. As a parent, you are most likely familiar with the term “summer slide.” The summer slide is when a child loses some of the achievement gains they made during the previous year. The degree of loss varies by child, but studies have shown that this year’s gaps will be wider due to the unusual school year, and students can significantly benefit from planning ahead for summer well-being.
It’s Not Always About Academics
When it comes to summer, most parents and schools focus on reading and math proficiency. There are summer reading schedules, math camps, tutors, and a wide range of activities to incorporate academics into summer fun. Encourage your child to use the summer break for diving into their interests, passions, and things they love. Brainstorm about how they can practice and improve on over the summer. However, make sure Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) is in the conversation. It is arguably just as important. With a better sense of responsibility, respect, empathy, and perseverance, you will see natural enhancements in your child’s academic performance.
Why We Need Social Emotional Learning Now More Than Ever
We must now pull ourselves out from our cozy nests, pods and intimate social bubbles with the hope vaccines bring. We need to not only make new friends but also to repair what has been damaged during the pandemic.
Most of us agree that it is just as important for a child to develop good character, integrity, and find happiness than it is to get good grades, a good job, or to be accepted into a good college.
Teachers agree and hold themselves accountable for guiding students to build confidence, help others and apply classroom learning outside the school. But parents need education and support to know how – how to help children learn social-emotional skills.
Connecting School to the Real World
Students themselves want more social-emotional and service-learning opportunities in school. In a recent survey of students who chose to drop out of school, the leading reason was that they did not see the relevance of school to real life.
Parents, teachers, and students are seeking opportunities to link learning to life. If anything has been learned from the pandemic it is that schools and homes need to prioritize such efforts. The next generation of parents and leaders must create a learning structure that includes knowledge, empathy, resilience, appreciation of diversity, and civic dispositions to innovate through times of crisis.
Social Emotional Learning Today in Schools
Fewer than 1 in 4 teachers report SEL is implemented in their school. The path forward is clear. States need SEL implementation on a programmatic, schoolwide, and districtwide basis. In addition, both SEL and service-learning must be integrated into workforce development systems in order to match our students’ to employers’ needs.
Summer is The Time for Reflection and Resetting
The pandemic has changed the way we see the world, now and in the future. Our children will be dictating how society, economy, and democracy evolve. The skills that are built today will be the ones employed and taught to the following generation.