Educators offer tips to prevent academic slides during winter break

Posted at 10:00 PM, Dec 17, 2014
and last updated 2014-12-18 00:00:22-05

SALT LAKE CITY -- Children love the break from school, but is the time away from the books during the holidays a good thing?

Michelle Ortega, a mother of four, knows that during the holidays the last thing on her children's mind is school.

"It’s probably the hardest thing to make sure that they're going to remember what they last learned in school over the winter break,” Ortega said.

Educators said if kids keep their books shut during the two-week break, it can lead to academic slides.

“We want the kids to have some break from school and to be able to enjoy and have a little down time, but we also want students to keep their minds active and engaged in learning,” said Valerie Shaw, who is the Principal at Park View Elementary School.

Teachers said keeping your kids sharp during that winter recess can be as easy as going through a couple of flash cards every day.

“For many students, the first couple of days out of school they love, they are enjoying it, but then they kind of get a little bit bored," Shaw said. "These are activities that don't take a lot of time but will still help us and help the teachers when they come back to school."

That's because once students come back from the hustle and bustle of the holidays, they start state level tests.

“It can be really detrimental to a child's confidence to come back and be so far behind," said Megan King,  who teaches fourth grade at Park View Elementary School. "To look at a sheet of math they used to know how to do and now they've forgotten it."

Educators said the holidays can be a time to make learning fun, by doing things like writing holiday cards, using science in the kitchen, or reading a favorite Christmas book.