Published: May 16, 2022

Turn The Summer Brain DRAINS into Brain GAINS!

For years, parents and children have been faced with the dreaded summer slide, a time when the school year ends and summer learning loss begins. And as if it wasn’t detrimental enough in its own rights, since 2020 the summer slide has been made more serious by COVID restrictions and traumas related to the pandemic. The reality is that some children’s cognitive performance has decreased more than normally expected. To counteract this, it’s essential that children have access to a summer program that fosters brain development while also keeping health and safety top of mind.

For most children, actual learning of new information was abruptly interrupted in March 2020 and school districts did their best to put something into place to aid in finishing out the year. This continued into the 2020-21 school year. However, even with the most well-intended efforts, children just weren’t getting out of school what they typically do. Coupled with the stress of complete routine changes and minimal social interactions, children’s enthusiasm, for just about anything, eventually dwindled. This all has culminated in “brain strains” which stifle healthy development.

We know parents want the best for their children and in the wake of the pandemic, health is of the utmost concern. In a parent survey completed by parents of Jessamine County middle school students, parents listed health concerns as one of their top 3 concerns. Excessive screen time was another. We also know that children’s development doesn’t stop because of a pandemic. Because of this, finding programs that follow recommended guidelines to protect children’s health while also turning “brain strains” into “brain gains” is essential. And although this may seem like an impossible feat, there is a solution.

The SKILLZ program at Lion’s Pride Martial Arts is a child development program that uses martial arts as the vehicle for advancement in physical, intellectual, emotional, and social growth. This system was developed from the latest research in areas of child development and psychology. By using unconventional ways of learning, students’ active learning is engaged, which initiates their working memory. As this is done, new neural connections are being made so fluid intelligence increases.

Our classes are scientifically designed to include components that prime kids’ brains for learning, set a clear purpose for learning, strengthen their bodies, teach new skills, and check for learning. Since fun and motivation are used as part of the SKILLZ process, these positive experiences activate the brain’s reward center, which ultimately creates new neural connections. This, in turn, activates and strengthens cognitive performance.

This year is the first since 2019-2020 that many children have been in school full-time, and it’s been an adjustment going back to a full school day schedule, plus homework and other activities. It may be tempting to take the summer off from all schedules. But while children definitely DO need a break, maintaining some routines and schedules help children feel secure, maintain healthy behaviors, and can prevent summer brain drain. It is essential that they engage in programs that create “brain gains” in healthy ways. The SKILLZ program has multiple ways of doing both ranging from day camps, to in studio classes, to private lessons for special interest skills. The teaching techniques used are applied in all these settings and ensure that children are using their brains to improve cognitive performance and gain confidence and enthusiasm again.

Published: May 16, 2022

Categories: Health, Martial Arts