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Easy ways to get your child learning before the first day of school

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Posted at 8:31 AM, Jul 28, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-29 09:36:01-04

It may still be summer for kids across Tampa Bay, but teachers and educators are hard at work getting their classrooms prepared.

"So planning out what materials and curriculum that we're doing, what are the plans to like really invest students into wanting to do that work when they come back, we're planning an event already to celebrate our students that met their growth goal on the FSA," explained Marc Sachse, Principal of College Prep at IDEA Public Schools.

As Sachse said, this time of year is "Back to School magic" for teachers.

"We're spending this time really assessing where our kids and our scholars left at the end of the school year so that when we come and welcome them, we are ready to like get running right into preparing them for the school year," said Sachse.

Some of that learning can start right now, at home.

Studies show kids lose anywhere from 20-27% of what they learned the previous year during the summer months. That means teachers have to spend about three weeks of the school year recapping.

"Depending on the grade your child's in, right, the cognitive lifts shift very quickly in school. This year, there's going to be new assessments in the state of Florida. And so your child is not just trying to amp up for an end-of-year assessment. They're happening three times throughout the school year; they're going to be getting formative assessments," Sachse said.

"I mean, you don't want them to be so far behind in the first one that it makes the gap that has to be closed even wider by the time they get to the end of the school year. "

He continued, "There are like three easy ways that you can combat learning loss with your children. I think the first way is obviously books and reading. But it doesn't always have to be novels, right? It can be an article about a topic that they like. It can be the subtitles of a television show they like or even the words that are coming across the screen for their video games, just mute the TV and turn the subtitles on, and make sure that your children are reading."

Another idea is just having kids try something new. It makes their brain activate in a different way and gets them thinking.

His last piece of advice is just to do things with them.

"When you're asking your child to double this chocolate chip cookie recipe, so we're gonna be two half cups of sugar, they'll be able to say, Oh, I'm adding a fraction. Now I know the two halves make a whole. Or you want them to practice math estimation; how many times they're gonna have to take the lawn mower across the yard to finish mowing the lawn, and now they're estimating based on the width of the lawnmower and the width of the lawn. And they're doing math that is surprising and new," said Sachse.