Summer Learning Day for Preschool DLLs

by Karen N. Nemeth

Diego and Mei-ling may be small, but they worked hard to learn in their preschool this year. They did a lot of preschool learning, social learning AND language learning, but what will happen to all that knowledge over the long weeks of summer leading up to the first day of kindergarten?  The National Summer Learning Association is organizing Summer Learning Day on July 14, 2016.  How can we support these efforts to focus on young DLLs?

wyatt loves beach

My daughter and son-in-law are teachers in London. Their summer break is only 6 weeks long and they have several 2-week breaks during the year. I can see this makes a big difference in the school experience. In the U.S., the summer is more like a time that school just stops and a couple of months later something new starts up. September is challenging for the teachers AND the children. How can we help? Here are some ideas to try.

  1. Ask your local library for information about programs they offer in the summer so you can send details to families.
  2. Clean out your book collection by sending home one or two bilingual books with each child at the end of the school year.
  3. Ask your local recreation department or day camp counsel what they are doing to encourage and support participation of children who speak different languages. Maybe they need a little advice from knowledgeable teachers so they can make a real difference in the summer experiences of young DLLs.
  4. If your preschool changes to a less structured version over the summer, make sure that all summer staff are well prepared to support each child’s home language while playing, laughing, and exploring together.
  5. Send home a simple note to families about the importance of reading, talking and playing with their child in their home language all summer – here is a good one to use: http://bit.ly/1lbHssr
  6. Remind families to look for fun learning and language activities online at www.colorincolorado.org and http://earlylearningcollaborative.org
  7. For families that speak a language other than English or Spanish – there are great resources for reading in many languages on www.icdlbooks.org
  8. Partner with the elementary school that will see your children in the fall to contact the families once or twice over the summer to offer learning ideas and support. Could you call or send email or text message to the families reminding them about a few simple ideas for learning and literacy play over the summer?
  9. Teachers can participate in the nation-wide discussion about concern for learning losses over the summer by following the twitter feed for #KeepKidsLearning
  10. What summer learning supports have you tried? Share your solutions on this blog and we’ll pass them along!

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