Unlock your child’s full summer potential with practical tips to prevent learning loss!

By California State PTA Education Commission

This summer you may be wondering how to make the most of your child’s time while still supporting their education. Learning loss can occur when students are away from school for a long break like summer. But don’t worry. With some planning and fun activities, you can turn summer into a chance for growth and learning. This article will give you practical ideas to prevent learning loss and keep young minds active during the break.

Let’s start with reading. Make it an exciting adventure for your child. Create a special reading list based on their interests and let them explore new genres and authors. You can even set up a mini-book club with their friends or siblings to talk about the books they read. Going to the local library regularly is not only fun but also helps them discover a wide range of books and connect with the community.

There are many cool educational games and apps available that can make learning super fun. From math puzzles to language learning games, these digital tools can help your child review and strengthen their academic skills while having a blast. Just make sure to keep an eye on their screen time and pick apps that match their age and learning needs.

Now, let’s dive into science. Summer is perfect for hands-on learning. Plan nature walks, visit botanical gardens, or try simple backyard experiments that teach cool scientific stuff. Exploring the great outdoors sparks curiosity and makes them appreciate nature and the environment.

Cooking is another exciting way to mix learning and everyday life. Involve your child in measuring ingredients, adjusting recipes, and calculating cooking times. It’s a great way to boost their math skills and promote healthy eating habits.

Next up is art. Encourage their creativity by providing art supplies and letting their imagination soar. Get an early start on this year’s PTA Reflections theme, “I am Hopeful Because…” Whether they love drawing, painting, or dancing, these activities are fantastic for developing fine motor skills and boosting their brain power.

Physical activity is not only fun but also essential for their development. It boosts brain function, improves concentration, memory, and cognitive abilities. Outdoor play and exercise are great stress busters and promote overall well-being. When they play with friends, they learn important social skills, teamwork, and cooperation. Encouraging physical activity early on sets the stage for a healthy and fit lifestyle.

Need more inspiration or some specific ideas and resources? Go to the California State PTA Resource Library and search for the category you’re interested in, such as Activities to do at Home, Arts, and ELA (English Language Arts) & Math. 

Remember, summer learning loss is a concern, but with your active involvement, you can turn this vacation time into a time of growth and exploration. Make learning enjoyable, relevant, and part of their daily life. You can create a complete summer learning plan that fights learning loss and prepares them for a smooth return to school in the fall. Embrace the summer as a time of growth and offer the support and encouragement your child needs to succeed both academically and personally. Happy summer learning!

15 Tips For New Leaders

The first months as a new PTA leader may seem overwhelming, but California State PTA is  here to help! A lot needs to be done to get things up and running. This list will help you figure out when and how to schedule meetings, create calendars, and perform other tasks that will ensure that your PTA gets off to a good start!

  1. The president should set up a meeting with the school principal and call meetings of the board as soon as possible. 
  2. At the first board meeting, ratify appointed officers, fill any vacant positions, ratify committees and chairs, and make plans for the coming year. Strive for a balance of experienced and new leaders, keeping in mind that all areas of the community should be represented.
  3. Consider conducting a survey of needs that would go out to the entire school community. Have it returned prior to your PTA’s first budget meeting, where past unit activities are reviewed and suggestions for new activities are solicited.
  4. Use input from the survey for brainstorming session(s) with the board to establish your goals. Set realistic goals and prioritize programs.
  5. Set a calendar for the upcoming year and provide membership campaign materials to the school for any summer or start-of-school mailings they may be planning.
  6. Meet with outgoing officers to understand your job and to collect materials belonging to your PTA.
  7. Become familiar with the duties of each chair by reviewing the California State PTA Toolkit. Share job descriptions and materials as noted with the chairpersons and help them to secure historical materials from their predecessors. 
  8. Consider reviewing your PTA bylaws with the entire board (even if the bylaws are not due for renewal.). The bylaws contain many job responsibilities and timelines/due dates. Reviewing them together gets everyone on the same page with the same expectations.
  9. Encourage every board member to attend training. The Training Center on the CA State PTA Leaders Website is a great resource for this.
  10. Prepare a preliminary budget and present it for adoption at your next association meeting.
  11. Verify with the outgoing financial officers that the books have been closed and that the following documents were prepared:  Annual Financial Report, Year-end Financial Review, documents organized for preparing tax filings.  
  12. Update signature cards for bank accounts.
  13. Make sure that your board roster is uploaded into MyPTEZ. Provide names and contact information for board members. If you do not have access to the roster system, contact your council or district to assist you. 
  14. Make sure each of your board members knows how to contact their counterpart at district (or council) to get questions answered.
  15. Don’t forget to breathe! There is no such thing as a PTA emergency.

Involving Students Strengthens Your PTA

By Membership Services Commission 

Adding student members to your association and having students serve on your executive board is great for them and great for your PTA.  

PTA was established to be a powerful voice for all children. Having student and youth involvement in your PTA, or on your PTA board, brings an important and different perspective to your organization. It also helps students learn to speak for themselves in a safe, supportive environment. Who better to speak for students than students? 

Can students become PTA members? Yes!

Per the California State PTA Toolkit, “Any individual who subscribes to the purposes and basic policies of PTA becomes a member upon payment of dues.”  This includes students. Many of our units decide to become PTSAs to stress this focus on students. 

Go to the Involving Students section of the PTA toolkit for more tips on how to successfully engage students as active PTA members and leaders.

Student leaders suggest points to share

The student representatives on our California State PTA Board of Managers tell their fellow students about these advantages to joining PTA: 

  • Gain leadership experience you’ll use for the rest of your life
  • You have a voice in how your school can serve and affect you
  • Receive access to scholarships
  • Enjoy lots of member benefits and discounts
  • Share your ideas and let your voice be heard
  • Positively impact your community through service (most schools require community service hours in order to graduate)
  • Make a difference for your generation and the generations to come

When reaching out to students, be sure to stress the ways PTA membership helps students. This website section has more ideas for what to say.

PTA Membership: Teacher is Our Middle Name

By the Membership Services Commission

In the PTA universe, we know how important our teachers are! Having the teachers and administrators at your school join your PTA and participate in your programs is a great way to encourage children and families to join as well. A collaborative partnership among all the adults at the school is one of the best ways to strengthen communication between families and schools. 

So as you plan and promote your PTA membership campaign this back-to-school season, encouraging teachers to join PTA should be one of the focal points. (And don’t forget other school staff as well.)

We’ve put together a list of ideas and some helpful tools to help you get teachers on board. 

  • TALK with teachers about the value of PTA. Provide breakfast or a snack for teachers and use the opportunity to discuss the value of PTA at your school. Back-to-School night can also be a good opportunity to speak with both teachers and parents about supporting PTA.
  • SHARE information about PTA’s Continuing Education Scholarships. PTA offers scholarships to teachers, school nurses, counselors and volunteers to continue their education.
  • REMIND teachers and staff about PTA’s advocacy work. PTA is much more than a local fundraising group for your school –  we are an advocacy organization focused on student success!
  • ENLIST the support of your principal. A principal’s encouragement for teachers to join PTA can go a long way.
  • OFFER incentives to join. Award teachers and staff with a lunch or celebration when 100 percent teacher membership is reached, or offer teachers who join reimbursements for classroom supplies.

Questions about running your PTA membership campaign? Contact us at membership@capta.org.

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