Before finalizing summer plans, there is one very important fact that families need to keep in mind . It is this: the brain never goes on vacation.
Kids may be off for the summer, but the brain doesn’t have an off switch—it’s always on. In fact, kids never stop learning—even during sleep, when the brain is processing and storing information that was learned throughout the day.
That’s why, cognitively speaking, it doesn’t make sense for kids to take a complete break from learning over the summer.
Studies have shown that student’s learning momentum suffers major setbacks over summer break. By abandoning school learning routines, the brain loses many of the neural connections that were built during the school year. That’s bad news for students.
It means that when back to school time rolls around again, they are at a disadvantage: the brain is no longer functioning with the capacity that it had when school let out.
In and of itself, this is not a major problem, after all, students will be able to re-build these neural connections. The problem is that it can take up to six weeks to rebuild lost neural connections and to regain lost academic momentum.
Rather than diving into learning from the first day of classes, students are now tasked with recalling those lessons that they learned last year. They’re catching up. They’re reviewing.
This is where problems begin. They’re not learning new material and getting a jump on this year’s curriculum. This is when students fall behind.
That’s because students who maintained their academic momentum over the summer are ready to learn new material from day one. They have a head start. They preserved their cognitive functioning and are—from the first day of class—learning new concepts. They’re getting ahead.
That’s why summer learning is so important. Not only does it maintain cognitive functioning, it can also help students to make academic gains.
It help students prevent summer learning losses. It helps them get ahead. It gives them an edge.
Summer learning just makes sense.