Las Vegas Sun

December 13, 2018

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5-MINUTE EXPERT:

Keep your kids on the learning track during summer break

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Meet up and eat up

For parents who struggle with feeding their children in the summer, Three Square offers a free program throughout the Valley for those 18 and under. For times and locations visit, threesquare.org or text “Summer” to 877-877.

As teachers dismiss their classrooms for the last time, students rush to embrace a summer free of math tests, book reports and science projects. But many in the Las Vegas Valley will experience summer slide, or the loss of knowledge during break.

Disadvantaged students are especially at risk and typically lose two to three months of reading skills, according to the National Summer Learning Association, or NSLA.

“Part of that is parents with more resources and money tend to do more things in the summer that keep their students engaged,” said Jesse Welsh, assistant superintendent for curriculum and professional development at the Clark County School District.

Here are some tips and tricks for keeping kids of all ages on track throughout the summer.

Revving up for fall

The CCSD 2018-19 school year starts Aug. 13. Parents can register their children at ccsd.net/parents/enrollment.

The district has several back-to-school fairs that provide parents with information about registration, food services, transportation and more. Additionally, immunizations will be available. At right are the times, dates and locations of the fairs.

• July 21: Downtown Summerlin, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

• July 28: The Boulevard, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

• Aug. 4: Meadows Mall, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

• Aug. 11: Galleria at Sunset, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Steps to create your child’s personal summer education plan

1. Devise a plan. The plan should build upon your child’s education the previous year and prepare for class in the fall. Pay extra attention to subjects with which your child struggles. Parents should let their children know learning will be a part of their summer plan.

2. Merge mini lessons into day-to-day activities. Teach young children to add up the cost of groceries before checkout. Show older children how to set up and manage a budget before heading to college. Incorporating math into real-life situations helps children learn how the skill applies beyond the classroom.

3. Activity books. Activity books like crossword puzzles and coloring books help keep children occupied on long car rides or when visiting relatives. They also help develop motor and memory function and teach subjects in new and exciting ways.

4. Writing project. Encouraging children to write daily improves skills such as grammar and critical thinking. Let your child choose their writing project. For example, children can write in a journal, work on a script for a movie or write songs.

5. Reading time. “There’s pretty significant research out there that shows reading five or six books over the summer can decrease the impact of that summer slide,” Welsh said. “If there are no books at home, go to the public library and check out some books.”

6. Go global. Whether it’s learning a new language as a family, cooking a meal from another culture or studying geography, exposing children to new cultures helps widen their knowledge base.

7. Teach during family trips. “If you are going to travel, have the kids do a bit of research on what they might see. It just keeps them in that mode of learning,” Welsh said.

Get moving. Develop a healthy workout routine for your child and take time to enjoy the outdoors. Outdoor activities and learning go hand in hand at places like the Springs Preserve, the Las Vegas Farm, the Lion Habitat and more. In addition, the Las Vegas Valley is surrounded by trails. Use the app Neon to Nature to find those near you.

Activity roundup

• Free for toddlers: Organizing colors is one of the building blocks of cognitive development and can be taught through a variety of daily activities. For example, have your toddler separate their toys by color.

• Free for elementary students: Have your child help you cook dinner. Teach them fractions by using measuring tools or nutrition when chopping up vegetables. This teaches them a life skill while applying tasks they learned in the classroom.

• Free for middle-school students: Encourage your child to read the same story reported by three different news organizations. Discuss ideas such as bias in media, “fake news” and the importance of the First Amendment.

• Free for high school students: Take a virtual tour of a college campus via campustour.com. If you don’t have internet access at home, students can use computers at local libraries.

• Less than $25 for toddlers: Read The Paper Crane by Molly Bang and introduce your toddler to origami. Let your toddler choose which origami animal to make and spend time guiding him or her through the steps.

• Less than $25 for elementary students: Let your child pick out a science experiment and spend an afternoon helping to perform it. Bill Nye the Science Guy has several at home experiments. billnye.com/#educational

• Less than $25 for middle-school students: Have your child read a book that’s been turned into a movie or TV series, then compare and contrast the two. Examples include the Harry Potter series, A Wrinkle In Time and The Hunger Games.

• Less than $25 for high school students: Participate in community service activities such as volunteering at food banks, nonprofits and museums. Visit volunteermatch.org to find opportunities near you.

• Less than $25 for toddlers: Enroll your toddler in Vegas Roots’ “Lil Roots Garden Club,” where he or she can tend to a plot and have access to garden or cooking classes held once a month. Prices range from $30 for a quarterly membership to $100 for an annual membership. vegasroots.org/lil-roots-garden-club

• Less than $25 for elementary students: Enroll your child in a Discovery Children’s Museum summer program. Class topics range from exploring the depths of the sea to a “Mad Scientist Laboratory.” discoverymuseum.org/product-category/summer-programs

• Less than $25 for middle-school students: Enroll your student in a theater class. The Rainbow Company Youth Theatre and the Smith Center both offer summer camps ranging in prices and times.

• Less than $25 for high school students: “A lot of students in Clark County take advantage of our summer school program. We have a significant number of students who take classes during the summer to get ahead of the next year,” Welsh said. “It keeps you active. More importantly, a lot of students will do that if it frees up space in their schedule so they can take other classes.” Classes cost $125 per one-half credit for CCSD students. ccsd.net/schools/summer-school

This story originally appeared in the Las Vegas Weekly.