5 Parent Engagement Strategies for the Summer
While everyone is ready for summer break, missing out on learning can lead to a learning loss for students. According to NWEA, students can lose up to 2-3 months of reading skills and 20-50% of math skills by not doing any learning over the summer. It can be compounded over the years making a huge gap in student knowledge. This gap can make for frustrated students who come back to school each year a little further behind. We already know that parental involvement is crucial during the school year, so keeping parents engaged over the summer is just as crucial for continued student learning.
Check out 5 parent engagement strategies below.
1. Share Statistics
Many parents are unaware of the summer slide. They are also often unsure of how to help their child avoid this loss of learning. Share the statistics with parents. Make sure they are aware of how much they can help their child.
2. Parent Newsletter
It can be a daunting task for parents to come up with ideas to teach their children over the summer. They probably don’t realize that learning with their children doesn’t have to be a full lesson like their child would receive at school. Parents should help boost exploration, adventure, and fun to show that learning doesn’t always take place within the classroom. Most parents don’t know where to start. Your school can send home a monthly or weekly newsletter with information for parents about what activities they can do with their children to help avoid the summer learning loss. You should include educational trips and reading lists in your emails.
Start with educational trips. Work with local parks and museums to see what exhibits and activities they have over the summer and share those opportunities with parents as well as how they can use it to help their children learn. Not only will you be creating a parent-child bonding experience, but you will be helping a parent teach their child.
You should also work with local libraries who most likely have a summer reading program. There is usually some type of kick-off party that is fun for everyone to attend as well as incentives for children to keep reading over the summer.
3. Make Your Own Reading or Math Challenge
It can be a challenging task to create curriculum for over the summer, but schools can create their own math and reading challenges to be completed over the summer. The idea is to recommend that families complete the activities together but not require that they be completed. You could even create incentives for families to complete the activities. Use your Twitter account with a special hashtag for families to take and share pictures of their adventures. These challenges should be fun yet still hold an educational element. Schools could even create certain challenges for each grade level. For example, completing certain summer activities can help prepare a child for a specific grade level. These tasks could be created once, but then be kept from year to year.
Family fun activities should be included, like visiting a local, state, or national park or taking a trip to the public library together. Create a suggested list of books to read for each grade level. Your school or local librarian can help you create this list. You should also create a list of real-world math problems for children to solve. The idea is to show students and families that the skills they are learning at school are relevant to their real lives outside the classroom.
4. Encourage parents to share their learning experiences
Parents are the greatest teachers of their children. Encourage parents to share their own learning experiences with their students. Parents can show their children how to balance a checkbook, how to create and stick to a budget, how to read a map on a road trip, or how to measure ingredients for a family favorite dinner. Students should see their parents reading whether it’s a book or a newspaper. Parents can watch or read the news and talk to their children about it, depending on how old they are.
If parents have an opportunity to take their students to work, sharing that learning experience can be very meaningful for the student. Parents do things every day that involve reading and math skills. Encourage them to explain and share those activities with their children to show them the value of those skills outside the classroom.
5. Check in
Whether it’s once a week or once a month, check in with parents. You can host a monthly parent meeting or send an email with a book suggestion, but let parents know that you haven’t forgotten about them. Keep in contact with them so they don’t feel overwhelmed. If you leave communication open then when they have a question about an activity or skill, they will be more likely to contact you for help.
Parents can get overwhelmed with having their children home over the summer, so give them some suggestions that encourage not only family bonding time, but also learning skills that will help them avoid the summer slide.
How do you keep parents engaged over the summer? Share your parent engagement strategy with us on Twitter @Schoology