There’s a new slide in town—a slide you won’t find on the school playground. Known as the COVID Slide, it describes the decline in academic retention that is affecting students nationwide. Through extended months of quarantine, school closures, and parents scrambling to fill in the gaps, kids everywhere are experiencing learning loss, and in some cases, a reversal of academic progress. What used to be limited to the summer months, has now been extended in the wake of COVID-19. And for many families, this is one slippery slope our children need help climbing back up.
According to researchers, “The time is now to start thinking about what those students will need and how to provide it.”
As parents, we want to provide what is needed, however overwhelming it may feel in this moment. We remember continuing education at home this past spring, and being met with resistance, lack of concentration, and all-out chaos. The truth is, many parents never expected to carry such a hand-on role in their child’s education, and need more resources to help them help their kids back on track.
While statistics indicate that prolonged periods of school absence is likely to impact a student’s achievement, there is help for you and your child. We’re here to support you through the COVID-Slide and ensure your student has the best chance at successfully climbing back up the educational incline.
How does memory affect learning?
If you have noticed that your child requires frequent redirection to stay on task, or additional exposure to material to retain the information from one day to the next, they could be at greater risk to fall further behind with the large school break and change in teaching environment.
Memory is the ability to take in information, store it, then recall it at a later time. This is an important aspect of cognition, and is a multi-faceted feature that continues to develop over time. Because memory is related to development, a child who is behind, or immature in aspects of development may struggle with aspects of memory, requiring greater repetition for information to stick. This is especially common in children who struggle with aspects of attention. It is hard to remember what you aren’t paying attention to. It is also important to note that there are many types of memory, and just because you struggle with one aspect of memory does not mean you will struggle with all types of memory. A child may remember a family story from years ago, but struggle to recall simple math facts.
Helping Your Child Navigate Their New Learning Environment
There’s no doubt that we are facing an uncertain path this school year. It’s likely to be a journey of ups and downs that no one can predict. However, there are certain steps parents can take to help their kids gain confidence and ease back into the school environment.
For students who were already struggling before COVID-19, they might find the transition back into the learning completely overwhelming.
Take it slow.
Don’t expect your kids to jump back into the learning environment without an adjustment period. Keep your expectations reasonable and follow the old mantra: “Slow and steady wins the race.”
Know your child’s learning style.
Invest some time in determining your child’s learning style. This will help you understand how your child processes information, retains facts, and actually enjoys the learning process.
Engage the brain.
Engaging the senses, adding movement to your child's day and providing context for the information they are learning are great ways to engage the brain throughout the day! Each of these elements engage additional areas of the brain, and the more pathways involved in learning the higher the likelihood of success in retaining the information. So, make sure to incorporate quick breaks throughout the day for movement and incorporate activities that engage the senses.
Have a heart-to-heart discussion.
Talk with your child about the changes in their learning environment. Encourage them to talk about their feelings. The upcoming school year is filled with uncertainty. Understanding where they are at emotionally can help you see how their feelings might affect their focus, motivation and behavior.
Work closely with teachers.
Many teachers are feeling a lot of apprehensions as they prepare for the new semester. Not only will they be required to teach effectively, they’ll need to adhere to strict classroom protocols. It’s important for parents to work closely with their child’s teacher by supporting them and keeping the lines of communication open. Most teachers will greatly appreciate your understanding and support moving forward.
Be sure to allow plenty of time for creativity at home. Encourage your kids to play outside, have fun with arts and crafts, try out a musical instrument, and engage in creative play. This will provide an emotional release for them, while still stimulating the brain’s pathways.
What This Means for Children with Learning Disabilities or Attention Issues
For many families that have children who struggle with attention issues or learning disabilities, COVID-19 has been a wake-up call to the need for more resources. Not only can children with attention issues slip through the cracks, they can get so far behind it seems impossible to catch up. The big concern is, students who are struggling will not receive the time and instruction they were used to in the past due to new competing priorities and the new e-learning format.
How Brain Balance Can Help
At Brain Balance, we are committed to supporting both parents and students to help families get back on track. Our goal is to prepare every child for whatever learning experience awaits. After all, Brain Balance was designed to help your kids build a foundation for learning and equip them to navigate successfully.
The program takes an integrative, drug-free approach. Through physical exercise, with an emphasis on coordination and timing, as well as online, interactive brain-based activities, the program helps open up new pathways for learning and retention.
Many families have seen amazing results from the Brain Balance program. Often, within a short amount of time, parents have watched their struggling child go from un-engaged and unfocused to highly engaged and excited to learn.
No matter how far your child has slipped down the COVID-Slide, we are here to help them climb back up. Whatever support you need, to ensure your child succeeds in the upcoming school year, please reach out to us with any questions. Learn more about how the Brain Balance Program can help you today by clicking the “contact us” button below. Fill out our form and one of our team members will contact you.