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Posts Tagged 'Summer Learning'

Reflecting on the School Year

The school year is coming to a close.   After a busy year, the last couple of weeks of school are a wonderful time to reflect on what your child has learned, their successes and opportunities for the summer and year ahead.

Here are some conversation starters to have with your child to stimulate dialogue.

1) What school year accomplishment are you proud of the most?

2) Are there are new skills or strategies that you learned during the year?

3) What project or homework assignment are you the most proud or excited about?

4) What are three things you did this school year to help your classmates?

5) What there something you did not know at the start of the school year, but you know now?

6) What did you learn from your biggest challenge?

7) If there was something you could change this year, what would it be?

8) Did you have a favourite part of the day in class?

9) Were there any surprises this school year?

10) Did you have a favourite story or novel in English class?

11) Was there a Science lab or experiment that you enjoyed the most and why?

12) What was the funniest thing that happened?  End the school year on a positive note!

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Five Strategies For Accessing Quality Summer Reading Materials

One of the factors contributing to the summer slide is that students don’t read as much over the summer. Reading less may be partially caused by a less structured schedule and camp activities, but there’s another critical reason: access. During the school year, students can get reading materials from the school library or their classroom teacher, but over the summer they lose this easy access to a steady flow of quality reading materials.

We polled our team of Toronto tutors to ask for their strategies for finding quality reading materials to enjoy all summer long.

Visit The Local Libraries: Toronto has many branches across the city with several having storytimes and summer reading programs. Sign up for a library card and then pull out your family calendar to plan biweekly outings to exchange books. And if visiting the library is difficult, with a library card, your whole family can even borrow books digitally!

Organize A Book Swap: Purchasing new books can add up quickly, but a book swap is a free way for children to find new reading materials that come recommended by their friends. There are a few options to make this as easy as possible: Invite your children’s classmates over for a pre-summer book swap or work with your child’s teacher to host one in the classroom. Another low-key possibility would be to place a box at the school and have students bring in their pre-loved books in exchange for another.

Go Book Shopping: Celebrate the end of the school year with an outing to the book store. Be prepared with a list in mind; consider buying the next book or two in your child’s favourite series. And before you leave the store, browse through famous family classic’s, we love Harry Potter, for a family read-aloud that’ll take the summer to enjoy.

Explore Your Bookshelves: Often when we ‘shop’ our bookshelves we’ll find several never been read books and ones that are worth rereading. Use the end of the school year as a good time to tidy the shelves, gather books that are no longer loved (but in excellent condition) for swapping or donation, and rediscover what’s already available.

Visit The Children’s Book Bank: Located in downtown Toronto, the Children’s Book Bank’s mission is to improve literacy in low-income communities by providing free books to children living in these neighbourhoods. It’s a warm and welcoming space, much like your favourite bookstore or library, which invites children to choose books and keep them, for free. They also provide regular programming and are open all summer long.

Posted in: English Tutoring

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Summer Enrichment – Strategies From Our Tutors

Summer Enrichment Tutors

Summer is almost here!   With the warm weather, vacations and fun activities, learning loss can be an issue over the summer.  Some research has suggested that students may lose one month of knowledge over the summer break.

However, the summer break does not have to be boring  and completely focused on learning.  There is an opportunity to enjoy the summer break while continuing to keep up knowledge and learning from the school year.

We have reached out to our tutors for their advice on summer enrichment and how to avoid the summer slide:

1) Read every day: Make the reading fun with fiction, non-fiction, newspapers, apps, poetry on topics your daughter or son is interested in.

2) Summer Camps: There are a ton of education based summer camps in Toronto that focus on STEM and arts.  Check out Our Kids camp resource to review different options.

3) Vacations: Make your vacation a learning experience.  On any trip there are a ton of opportunities to learn about geography (location and maps), history (site and their background), science (physics of driving, weather, different climates) and math (distance, speed). Here are also some fun educational games for road trips.

4) Educational Field Trip:  Toronto has tons of exciting places to visit for educational field trips.  Here are some of our recommendations.

5) Make Math Fun:  Math does not have to be only worksheets and tests.  There are ton of real world examples, games and apps to work on over the summer.   For more ideas click here.

6) Summer Scrapbook:  If your child is interested in arts, encourage them to take pictures over the summer and create a summer scrapbook.

7) Learn a New Word Each Week

8) Cook with Your Child:  Cooking helps teach your child math skills, nutrition, directions, critical thinking, measurement, cultural awareness, creativity, and sensory awareness.


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Toronto Summer STEM Field Trips


Summer is approaching.  The holiday break and warm weather doesn’t mean that learning has to stop.

There are numerous activities and places to visit around Toronto that are fun and promote STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) learning.   Here are some of our favourites for families of all ages:

Ontario Science Centre:  The Science Centre features over 500 exhibits, live demonstrations, Toronto’s only public planetarium and IMAX® films in the dome theatre. The AstraZeneca Human Edge is a new exhibition hall that explores all the wonders of the human body. Bring your little ones to KidSpark, a unique discovery playground and learning space for children age 1-8.

Canada’s Wonderland:  How does an amusement park teach us about science?  At Canada’s Wonderland with all the excitement of roller coasters, there is a ton of science behind building all of the structures.   Consider all of the measurement, motion, gravity, speed and acceleration that teaches children about science and physics.

Lego Land Discovery Centre: Looking for a STEM activity on a rainy summer day?  Look no further than the Lego Land Discovery Centre a family experience with over 3 million bricks under one roof. There are Rides, a 4D cinema, Master Model Builder workshops and more! You can also see Toronto’s iconic attractions made out of LEGO in MINILAND.

Ripley’s Aquarium: Experience  one of Toronto’s newest and most exciting attractions. Containing over 5.7 million litres of water, the 12,500 square metre (135,000 square foot) interactive aquarium immerses guests in a thrilling underwater adventure that showcases more than 16,000 marine animals

Staycation: After a busy couple of weeks, why not bring the activities home.  Click here for some fun science experiments for kids do with you at home.  These activities have a Canadian bend to it to celebrate Canada 150.



Posted in: Educational Technology

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Five Ways To Learn And Play Over The Summer Holidays

Preventing the “summer slide”, a loss of learning over the summer, may be on your mind as you plan summer holidays and camps, along with a healthy dose of down time. We have five ways you can easily incorporate learning into summer activities to maximize the fun and the learning!

Play Games

Traditional board games such as Scrabble are great for family fun while developing new vocabulary.  Practice math skills with a new hit, Moby, described by some as the number version of Scrabble. We also enjoy these math board games. You can also make your own version of ‘Go Fish’ by writing number facts or spelling words onto index cards and playing a few rounds a week!

Visit The Library

Many libraries have summer reading programs which encourage children to read throughout the summer with fun incentives like stickers and tracking their reading in notebooks or online. These programs are a wonderful way to introduce new genres and authors to your child especially reluctant tweens and teens readers since they are free from school book lists. Once your child signs up for a library card they can even borrow books digitally!

Make Math Matter

Put your child(ren) in charge of some summer meal planning and give them a budget to spend. Depending on their age, encourage them to take charge from the recipe planning through meal preparation. This will help your child learn valuable life skills while growing their independence and financial literacy.

Road Trip Fun

Increase the fun in the car while driving to your holiday destination by planning some playful learning opportunities. We love the traditional, I Spy Games or spotting License Plates. Read this list to find eight more road trip games to add to your repertoire. Don’t forget to pack a bag of books at your child’s reading level or if they’re not reading yet, choose books you’ve previously read together. If your child gets carsick, download some audiobooks that they whole family will enjoy (Harry Potter, anyone?!)

Learn To Geocache

Geocaching is an adventurous way to have fun as a family wherever you go. Explore new places while using GPS coordinates to find a treasure. Your child will learn navigational skills and feel like a detective as they follow search high and low for the hidden cache. Bring along some simple trinkets to replace the treasure you chose as a memento of your adventure.

Looking for more ways to keep young minds active over the summer holidays? Read our suggestions on Help! We’ve Got Kids.

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Summer Learning with the Pan Am and Parapan Am Games

Summer learning is top of mind for many families looking to keep their youngsters engaged over the break.

Jessica TudosThe Pan Am and Parapan Am Games taking place this summer in Toronto provide a special learning opportunity for students.

There is much to glean from this major athletic event – teamwork, perseverance and working towards a long-term goal – just to name a few.

In her latest column in the Huffington Post, our Director Joanne Sallay explores this very topic in a Q&A with Jessica Tudos, author of Kika the Upside Down Girl. Read the full interview here.


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Transitioning to the Summer Break

With the school year drawing to a close, the summer holidays provide an opportunity for you and your family to enjoy additional time together and reflect on the past year.

While the holidays can be an enjoyable and relaxing time, the change to a different schedule may pose challenges to your child’s routine.

We have included some tips that may be helpful for you or any friends as the summer approaches:

Ease the Routine Transition

  • Review your child’s routine in advance
  • Post a family summer schedule, including blocks of unscheduled time
  • Prepare for scheduled activities.   If they are attending day camp, visit the location ahead of time and engage with counselors

Engage Your Children

  • Involve your child when preparing for family trips and activities
  • See if s/he would like to help contribute to a family calendar of events
  • Review the summer plans you have made to date

Encourage Summertime Learning

  • Summer is a great opportunity for your child to get ahead, build stronger learning skills and improve on areas
  • Take advantage of the extra time to read, play games and visit places you would not normally attend during the year



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