The Summer Slide looks different this year than any other year and has an impact outside of the intellectual part of our children – the social, emotional, and physical have been a part of the earlier and abruptly started summer slide. It is really important everywhere just as it is here in Graham, Burlington, Haw River, Mebane and all of Alamance County.
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For years, parents and children have been faced with the dreaded summer slide, a time when the school year ends and summer learning loss begins. And as if it wasn’t detrimental enough in it’s own rights, this year the summer slide has been accelerated by the COVID slide and trauma related to the pandemic. The reality of this is that children’s cognitive performance has decreased earlier than usual. To counteract this, it’s essential that children have access to a summer program that fosters brain development while also keeping health and safety top of mind.
For most children, actual learning of new information abruptly ended and school districts did their best to put something into place to aid in finishing out the year. However, even with the most well-intended efforts, children just weren’t getting out of school what they typically do. Coupled with the stress of complete routine changes and minimal social interactions, children’s enthusiasm, for just about anything, eventually dwindled. This all has culminated into “brain strains” which stifles healthy development.
Parents want the best for their children and in the wake of the pandemic, health is of the upmost concern. We also know that children’s development doesn’t stop because of a pandemic. Because of this, finding programs that follow recommended guidelines to protect children’s health while also turning “brain strains” into “brain gains” is essential. And although this may seem like an impossible feat, there is a solution.
The SKILLZ program is a child development course that uses martial arts as the vehicle for advancement in physical, intellectual, emotional, and social growth. This system was developed from the latest research in areas of child development and psychology. By using unconventional ways of learning, students’ active learning is engaged, which initiates their working memory. As this is done, new neural connections are being made so fluid intelligence increases.
One of the most effective ways this is done is by utilizing neurobics in each class. This alternate approach to learning involves “warming-up” the brain to prime it for learning. Things such as counting backwards by 10’s, counting by using superhero names, etc. gets the right and left hemispheres of the brain engaged and working together. And since fun and motivation are used as part of the SKILLZ process, these positive experiences activate the brain’s reward center, which ultimately creates new neural connections. This, in turn, has a way of healing past trauma all the while, activating cognitive performance again.
There are many other programs that have the ability to use the same teaching styles and active learning engagements with children as the martial arts. The important part for parents is to speak with the instructors, coaches, etc to find out the philosophy of teaching the kids and how they are going to help the kids in 4 areas – social, emotional, intellectual and physical. All 4 areas of the child are so very important right now and need a lot of specific attention.
This summer children need a break from a break. It’s essential that they engage in programs that create “brain gains” but also put health and safety first. Try to find programs like the Martial Arts Classes that Skillz 4 Kidz Offers be it Gymnastics, Dance or other Sports that are allowed to continue.
Summer Camp is another Great Tool for helping kids develop over the summer and regain some of the social, emotional, intellectual, and physical normalcy they recently lost. Many camps are either opening and those that do will have a limited capacity to ensure the safety of the campers. So your job as a parent in securing a summer camp will be even more difficult this year but even that much more important. Talk to the camps and ask questions – how do they foster the development of the child of the summer and what protocols do they have in place to keep the campers as safe as possible. Keeping kids safe and engaged over the summer will be even more important then ever – it will help kids overcome and begin healing from the trauma they may be experiencing from a life abruptly interrupted.