Education experts Dr Angelina Osborne and Joss Cambridge-Simmons are here to reassure parents that help is at hand.
The pandemic has had a huge impact on everyone, not least children and young people who have had their education and school experience disrupted by lockdowns, self-isolation and remote learning. It’s no surprise that parents, teachers – and even pupils have expressed concern about the effects the Covid-19 outbreak could have on their education
To support parents and children to fill gaps in their learning, the Department for Education has launched a new website featuring catch-up programmes and fun activities for children and young people in England.
Everything from support for children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities and early years to mental health is covered. And there are a range of resources to suit children of all ages and suggestions for activities parents can do with their children and ones that kids can do independently.
Dr Angelina Osborne, historian, lecturer and co-author of 100 Great Black Britons, and Joss Cambridge Simmons, nanny, childcare specialist and founder of Jossy Care, have come together to reassure parents that they can support their children’s learning over the summer through fun and educational activities.
Here they share some of their top tips on how you can help your kids catch up over the summer holidays.
Sign your children up for the Holiday Activities and Food Programme
Good nutrition is crucial for children’s health and development. As a nanny, I make sure that the children I care for eat well and healthily but this isn’t always easy – or even possible – for some families. And the pandemic has meant even more parents have faced challenges in putting food on the table. The Holiday Activity and Food Programme (HAF) provides healthy food and enriching activities to children who need them.
What’s more, families who take part in HAF receive access to information and support to help them develop their understanding of nutrition and food budgeting.
The programme is run by councils and is free for children who receive free school meals.
To find out how to get involved, contact your local council.
For extra summer support, your child might still have the opportunity to take part in a summer school, mostly aimed at new Year 7s, where they can take part in a mix of lessons and fun activities. Contact your child’s school to find out more.
Explore activities in your local area and around the country
As an expert in black history, I’m a huge advocate for educating our children about their heritage. With many of our favourite cultural venues and museums now open, summer offers a wonderful chance for families to explore history. Many of the landmark British museums feature extensive collections relating to black heritage and culture, but there are also dedicated spaces such as the Black Cultural Archives and various temporary exhibitions that offer great opportunities to learn about historical black figures and rarely told stories.
Aside from heritage activities, there are a whole host of creative ways you can approach learning. The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, together with the Department for Education, has put together a guide of what’s on offer around the country. It features information about challenges, events and resources relating to creativity, sport, nature and much more.
Read the Rediscover Summer guide here.
Dr Angelina Osborne
Take part in this year’s Summer Reading Challenge, and help improve your child’s vocabulary and expand their imagination
I’m a huge supporter of encouraging children to learn to love reading. Books are awesome tools for a range of reasons. Nowadays there is a greater selection of stories in which black characters and cultures are represented, making reading even more accessible and enjoyable.
The Summer Reading Challenge 2021 is a great way to assist your children with their literacy. Children can take part in the challenge by signing up at their local library. It’s completely free and each participant will receive a special collector poster that they can decorate with stickers each time they return the books they’ve read to the library. Once they’ve collected all the stickers and completed the challenge, they’ll get a special certificate recognising their achievement. There’s also an online version of the challenge where children can log their progress and unlock special badges and extras.
This is a great activity that children can do on their own or while you sit and listen to them, which will give you an opportunity to discuss any words or concepts they struggle with.
To find out more and how to sign up, click here.
Encourage your teenage children to register for National Citizen Service
I know that many young people often don’t know how to make the most of their summer holidays. But there are a range of programmes that can help them do just that and National Citizen Service (NCS) is one of them. Designed specifically for 16 and 17 year olds, NCS is a superb opportunity for young people to learn new skills, make friends and gain a clearer idea of what they might like to do in the future.
Through the programme, young people spend a few weeks in the summer learning a range of practical skills from first aid to cooking, and taking part in exciting sports and social activities. They also get the opportunity to have their voices heard and pursue a project they’re passionate about.
Once they’ve completed the programme NCS also signposts young people to a number of platforms that can help them compose a CV, secure paid work and get involved in environmental action.
You can find out more and register here.
Dr Angelina Osborne