Logo
Logo
Logo
Logo
Logo
Logo
Logo

Exercise Your Child’s Brain This Summer at Treehouse

“Summer Slide” sounds like a fun activity, but in reality it represents the learning loss many children experience during the months when they are not in school. Research by John Hopkins University showed that children can lose a month or more in their skills as measured on academic tests in reading and math. That the decline is far worse for children from lower-income households. Summer learning loss appears to be cumulative, too, and over time can make a huge difference in achievement levels in school.

The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, a collaborative effort among dozens of foundations, lists summer learning loss as one of the three major obstacles to reading proficiency at the end of 3rd grade. The others are children starting kindergarten unprepared to succeed (Learn more about our “Get Ready for Kindergarten with Miss Bindergarten” initiative by clicking here.) and chronic absenteeism in the early grades. This early learning gap has far-reaching negative consequences. According to a recent study by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, “one in six children who are not reading proficiently in 3rd grade do not graduate from high school on time, a rate four times greater than that for proficient readers.”

Quality, fun enrichment programming in the summer months – the kind offered daily at Treehouse – can help students practice skills they learned in reading, math, science, and social studies classes, and introduce them to new ideas and skills, too. The “Summer Stretch” program at Treehouse is free with admission or membership, and includes a variety of activities every day during June, July, and August. Children at Treehouse have so much fun learning new vocabulary words, playing counting games from other countries, and performing simple science experiments with staff, that they don’t even realize they are exercising the most important part of their bodies – their brains. Brains aren’t muscle, except for a tiny bit. Brains are “gray and white matter,” but just like our muscles, the evidence suggests that stimulating our brains improves brain functions in adults and children.

Treehouse staff and Board encourage parents and grandparents to keep the learning going at home and stimulate those brains by reading aloud with your children to build listening skills, spark imaginations, and increase vocabulary. Find fun new places to read around your home, both inside and out, at a local park, or at Treehouse. (Have you tried reading a book in the Ger or inside the Doll House? They are great places to share a book and their lots of good reads in every exhibit area.) Parents and grandparents can play lots of games with children, board games, card games, any game that has a problem that has to be solved. Families can use car time to practice counting and alphabet letter recognition. Cook with your child and practice following directions and learning fractions and measurement skills. Practice writing skills by encouraging children to write letters to relatives or to send a note on a postcard. Buy or make a “Summer Journal” for your child to write and draw pictures in about all the great things your family does this summer.