Keeping minds engaged over summer

By Ariel Thompson

13 July 2021

School’s out for summer!

Students look forward to this, the longest break of the school year, as it often means sleeping in late, spending time with friends, going on vacation, or, for older students, getting a summer job or internship and earning their own money.

However, a little continued learning never hurts anybody — and, in fact, can do just the opposite.

Even though school is not in session, it's beneficial to enrol students in activities that can keep their minds engaged during the break, ensuring they aren’t at a learning loss transitioning out of summer and into the new school year.

Learning opportunities do not have to take away from summer’s primary function as a time for children to take a break and recharge. Summer learning can take different approaches and can easily be recognised — or disguised — as a fun activity. 

For example, Cayman International School organises an annual summertime reading challenge for students. But it’s not your typical reading challenge. Students are encouraged to read for 1,000 minutes over the break and record it by colouring in an activity sheet of books — one book for every 20 minutes of reading.

Students submit their sheet to the librarian to gain entry to a "lemonade party" in the new school year and have a chance to win a prize.

Some children have a natural love for books and could fill out the sheet in no time, and others may prefer to spend that time with technology. So why not build on that interest?

kids at computer coding camp
Attending a computer coding camp is one way to keep a student's mind engaged in an activity they would enjoy over the summer.

Local technology-based, non-profit organisation Code(Cayman) offers summer camps for students ages 7-17. These camps provide computer programming courses in a friendly and non-intimidating setting, fostering avenues for the next generation of coders. 
To take part, the organisation recommends students have basic knowledge of using computers. This includes having experience using a web browser, a basic understanding of navigating digital files and familiarity installing basic software such as Microsoft Office.

If your child has other interests such as sports or just being outdoors, there are camps for that, too. Local camps such as the multi-sports camp or the synchronized swimming camp at Camana Bay keep children physically active and often teach or enhance athletic skills, or the benefits of teamwork and sportsmanship.

Soft skill development is another form of learning to be found through everyday summer activities — children may just need a little help identifying the lesson.

From taking responsibility through household chores, caring for others by volunteering at the local non-profits or applying creativity and problem-solving through a new hobby, learning opportunities can present themselves in varying ways that your child will also enjoy. 

This article originally appeared in the July 2021 print edition of Camana Bay Times.

Fair skinned biracial woman with curly dark brown hair wearing glasses and a green shirt smiles at the camera

About the author

Ariel Thompson is a content manager at Dart, having joined the company in 2017. A lifelong writer, Ariel was born and raised in the Cayman Islands before studying abroad at Oakwood University in Huntsville, Alabama, for her degree in public relations and film and television. With eight years of experience in communications, Ariel joined Dart after working as Cayman International School’s first marketing communications officer. As her name would suggest, Ariel is a Disney fan and has a singing voice to rival The Little Mermaid’s. She loves to conceptualise TV and movie scripts and hopes one day to be a director. When in Camana Bay, Ariel can be found enjoying Mizu Asian Bistro + Bar’s Pad Thai, or shopping with friends and a scoop of gelato in hand.

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