Summer learning ideas and resources

Learning loss during the summer months is a real concern, especially after the challenging school year we’ve had. If you’re looking for ways to keep your child’s mind active over the term break, or just want to take part in some interesting summer activities with your kids, California State PTA has got you covered!

We’ve compiled the following list of resources and ideas:

Resource Library

These items and activities from our Resource Library will help you learn how to keep your kids’ brains engaged:

These are just a few of the summery ideas and resources you’ll find in the Resource Library. Be sure to check it out by using the simple search function!

Learning Heroes

Readiness Checker: Our Education Commission found this helpful resource for parents of students in kindergarten through 8th grade. It’s a simple-to-use tool that helps you check how your child is doing in math and English language arts, based on their grade level.

Using the results of quick on-line items, it also suggests some resources that can help you and your child use a bit of time this summer to get a targeted head start on next school year.

Summer Parent-Teacher Planning Tool: This one-page document can be used in a meeting with your child’s teacher to co-create a summer learning plan. It provides ideas for two-way communication and a chance for parents and teachers to share their observations of a student’s learning. Click here for the English version, and here for Spanish.

Create @ Home from Create CA

Our partners at Create CA have curated an amazing selection of fun and educational resources that allow kids to learn about and engage with the arts at home.

The #CreateAtHome activities are split into six categories, with at least four resources per section:

  • Integrated and General
  • Visual and Media Arts
  • Music
  • Performing Arts
  • Arts for Healing
  • Arts Educators and Professionals

Click here to see all the great ideas for art activities to do at home.

National PTA

Help Your Student Make the Most of Their Summer (and Still Have Time for Fun): Choosing vacations over summer school can be tricky, especially after such a difficult year. A good compromise is online, self-paced courses, which allow students to take their courses with them and work on them on their own schedule. Click here to read it.

10 Non-Tech Summer Activities to Build Language, Literacy and Learning: The dog days of summer are here—and many kids have a lot more leisure time on their hands. To prevent overuse of tech devices, try these ideas for non-tech activities that are fun AND promote language, literacy and learning. Click here to read the article.

Pinterest

Bet you didn’t realize that California State PTA’s Pinterest boards are chock-full of science projects, art activities and other summer learning activities! Click here to explore.

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Op-Ed: 10 Things California State PTA Recommends for the Safe Reopening of Schools

It’s been almost a year since California closed school campuses. And you know who is counting? Parents, teachers, and students are counting each day with growing frustration. The California State PTA shares that angst.

Not only are children falling behind academically but the social isolation and fears of illness and death are taking an enormous toll on their emotional health.

Since the start of the pandemic, the Governor and the Superintendent of Public Instruction have included the California State PTA in discussions dealing with the pandemic. We thank them for including the input of parents. This includes representation on the Community Vaccine Advisory Committee, the school reopening task force, statewide testing plans committee, as well as meetings with state officials. PTA held statewide listening sessions to gather the thoughts of parents throughout the state on pandemic related issues, and we continue to hear from parents, students and teachers across California.

Ten Recommendations

We urge the Legislature and the Governor to adopt 10 recommendations for the timely and safe reopening of schools:

1. Coordinate Efforts The Legislature and the Governor must agree on a coordinated approach to reopening schools as quickly as safely possible.

2. Equitable Sufficient Funding There must be sufficient funding to cover the additional costs related to opening schools in person. And it must be equitable. All students should generate the same base funding grant with an LCFF adjustment that recognizes the impacts of the pandemic on disadvantaged students. Opening schools will require social emotional support for students and staff, and services to meet students’ and families’ needs including safe transportation for students.

3. Extra Funding for Health-Related Costs Funding to pay for testing, vaccines, contact tracing, and other COVID-related health costs should not be from Proposition 98 funds. Every Proposition 98 dollar spent on non-instructional costs is one less dollar to educate our children.

4. Protect the Health and Wellbeing of Students, Staff and Families The Governor, the Legislature and local governments must prioritize vaccinations for school staff, early childhood educators and childcare staff, especially those who are already working in-person.

5. Parent Communication and Input School districts must provide opportunities for robust input and feedback as they prepare and execute reopening plans. They must ensure parents representing the diversity of the community are included in decision-making.

6. In-Person Attendance Parents and families should be able to choose whether a child returns to school in-person depending on the health of the child and their family situation.

7. Mental Health Matters Support the mental health and wellbeing of our students and staff by providing adequate resources to support their individual needs. To protect student health and well-being, middle schools should not start before 8:00 am and high schools before 8:30 am.

8. Expanded Learning and Learning Loss Afterschool, summer school and childcare programs need to be available, fully funded and coordinated with the school day. All schools should develop programs to address learning loss and meet the needs of the whole child.

9. Follow Health Guidelines Schools should not open in person unless it is safe for students and staff. School districts should adhere to the requirements set forth by the California Department of Public Health and county health departments regarding the reopening of schools.

10. Realistic Timeline Any timeline for the reopening of schools should consider the needs of parents and teachers and respect the most accurate health guidelines. This includes making sure the school facility is safe for re-opening.

Schools need to open as soon as practically possible while protecting the health and well-being of students, staff and families. California’s students are counting on the Legislature and the Governor to come up with a realistic school reopening plan that meets the needs of all our school communities.

These 10 recommendations were adopted by the California State PTA Board of Managers on February 20, 2021 and revised on February 26.

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