Greetings, Oak Grove Family!

This month I wish to talk about the concerns that parents have over their child losing skills that they have obtained at school or preschool when summer comes. Often there are extended vacation times, family transitions, or simply summer breaks from the routine of a structured learning environment.

Not to worry, very young children learn primarily through play….

“For a small child there is no division between playing and learning between the things he or she does just for fun and things that are educational. The child learns while living and any part of living that is enjoyable is also play.”

Penelope Leach

What this means is that as long as a child has the opportunity to play, to interact in new and novel ways with their environment, they are continuing to learn. Play is often a rehearsal, a practicing, or experimenting with information that they have obtained. Rote learning may diminish without repeated instruction and practice, but is never really absorbed by a child until it is encoded through play and imagination. So allow your child to play, to experiment, to pretend. Provide the raw materials in the form of toys, experiences, and interactions. Read to your child, have them “read” to you. Activities such as swimming, the playground, water play, hiking, travelling, and just playing in the backyard provide experiences which lead to new and exciting learning.

For the older child that does struggle with learning academics, it is a slightly different story. Because skills are so hard earned, some support and structure is a good idea, but for good readers and those with other good academic skills, experiences are usually sought out in new and different ways. Trips to the library, independent reading, story time, and creative writing serve to develop these skills.

Enjoy the summer months. Be sure to spend fun time with your children and you as parents will grow and learn as well!!

Sherry Jordan


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