Kids academic skills and knowledge regress during the holidays. They forget stuff. Teachers know it instinctively and there is over 100 years of academic research which has outlined and measured it. Put simply, children’s CAT (Cognitive Abilities Test) scores are lower at the beginning of the new academic year than they are at the end of the old one and the effect particularly pronounced in children from lower socio-economic groups. Especially during the longer holidays.
In order to help combat this phenomenon, a new project ‘Flowing Tales’ is in the process of trialling online creative writing camps in the UK, designed to enthuse and engage young writers during the holiday periods. The project is a collaboration between experienced educationalists and graphic designers with the focus on the 7-12 year old age bracket.
Accessible from anywhere in the world using a computer or tablet, the children receive daily support from professional teachers and authors as they create characters, locations and chapters for their story. They are also able to safely collaborate with each other using the online platform that has been developed, as well participate in live text chat with their ‘camp leader’ after each chapter has been completed. What is unique about these camps is that they provide a development pathway for the children to become published authors – on every camp the children produce a high-quality book with an individually designed cover: a terrifically motivating outcome for children.
Parents who have participated in the early trials have been unanimous in their praise for writing camps.
Amanda, Mum of two boys who took part in the first trial commented…
“The boys made terrific progress and they were so motivated to write. They couldn’t wait to find out if their chapters had been included in the final story.”
David Goulbourn, Headmaster at the prestigious Pownall Hall School in Cheshire who are one of the ‘early adopter schools’, agrees.
“The children that participated during the first phase trial during the Easter holidays made excellent progress. The internal assessments conducted by Flowing Tales demonstrated that the children made 2.5 months progress in the English writing strand during the 12 day camp. Our teachers agreed with this. But what was even more pleasing for me was the way that the children came bursting back into school, fired up with enthusiasm and renewed confidence in their own writing ability.”
Flowing Tales work in partnership with schools to offer camps to their pupils. With the final trials before the national launch due to start on the 18th August, this is a potentially very exciting innovation for raising attainment in children’s writing as well as being part of the solution to help combat skills regression during holidays.