You may have heard the term “Summer Learning Loss.” It is a proven fact that some students spend four to six weeks at the beginning of school re-learning what was lost during the previous three months. But it doesn’t have to be so. Summer is a great time to build on the knowledge acquired during the academic year. It can be a time of enrichment and feeding the interests of the child while also creating new ones. Children joyfully embrace the beginning of summer as it is a change in pace from the school year, but how do we keep them engaged in learning during this fun-filled season?
Nature provides countless learning opportunities, and children naturally want to explore every one. All children love to be out-of-doors, to wander about, to climb trees, to pick flowers or berries, to play with a dog or investigate bugs and worms. Even the simple act of taking a walk can unearth hidden treasures as the child spies a pretty bird or plays with a toy.
“The land is where our roots are. The children must be taught to feel and live in harmony with the Earth,” said Dr. Maria Montessori, acclaimed for the philosophy of education that bears her name.
Montessori believed that putting a child in touch with the environment would feed the child’s spirit. For example, creating a butterfly garden and observing the activity within puts children in touch with their environment and creates memorable summer-time experiences. Montessori schools develop an attitude of stewardship of the Earth within our students. We want them to enjoy the forests and meadows and leave nothing behind except pleasant memories.
“How often is the soul of man, especially in childhood, deprived because he is not allowed to come in contact with nature?” Montessori said.
Summer camps are another way for children to build on what they learned during the school year. Montessori camps create a balance between indoor time and time spent in the natural world, following Montessori’s philosophy that “Such experience is not just play, it is work he must do in order to grow up.”
During summer camp, the children will focus on different subjects, integrating art and creative, hands-on experiments to enhance their learning. Summer camps give children an outlet to create, be free, choose their own level of activity, read, run and play, and build relationships that can last a lifetime. All this while expanding their knowledge of the wide world around them.