One of the reasons the education secretary is proposing abolishing - or at least, shortening - the traditional six week summer holiday is because of the learning dip that affects some pupils. Six weeks is a long time, especially for younger pupils and although in teaching in secondary schools I found many that benefitted from the fresh start September brings, there is undoubtedly something to be said for keeping the learning habit going.
But children don't just learn in school. (Perish the thought.) I'm personally torn between an idea which goes some way to eliminating a well-researched learning gap and the tacit admission that we - parents - should simply 'leave it to schools'. No self-respecting mum or dad would, of course; but no doubt many a working parent would be glad to be shot of the burden of arranging summer childcare. The question is, how to keep the learning wheel turning?
In my role as a member of the LeapFrog blogger panel I've been sent some research this week confirming that many parents are already stressed about the holidays and the thought of having to play teacher. Two thousand parents of four to eight year olds were polled and results show that more than one in five parents (21%) are baffled about current learning methods in schools and are too nervous to try their own techniques in case they confuse their child. For a further 19 per cent, their fear of home educating is down to a simple lack of confidence.
So the arrival of LeapFrog’s new LeapReader is well timed. This break-through learn-to-read and write solution is aimed at four to eight year olds, and combines three unique experiences in one electronic device – Learning to Read, Learning to Write and Learning Through Listening. It is the ideal tool to keep little active minds topped up out of school hours and to build confidence in reading and writing.
And to help those parents in a panic about the summer holidays, LeapFrog is also launching ‘The LeapFrog Summer School’, dedicated to providing daily inspiration and support to keep children on track for the new September term. The campaign will go live on the LeapFrog UK Facebook page (www.facebook.com/LeapFrogUK) from Wednesday 24th July and will offer a wealth of fun reading and writing ideas and activities for children, as well as daily tips by independent educational expert and editor of The Good Schools Guide, Janette Wallis, for the full duration of the summer holiday.
All that remains, I suppose, is to have a holiday! And last week, you might recall, I offered (courtesy of LeapFrog) not one but TWO fantastic bundles guaranteed to keep kids amused and entertained on long car journeys. It's time to announce the lucky winners. They are *drumroll*...
+FromFun ToMum and
Congratulations to them. But if you didn't win, don't forget the free LeapFrog Summer School is open from Wednesday 24th July.