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The Goddard School - 2021 Summer Learning program

As families recover from the pandemic, some parents have expressed concerns regarding the impact of potential “learning loss” experienced by their young children. First Coast News recently conducted an interview with Dennis R. Maple and Dr. Helen Hadani, where the impact of the pandemic on young children was discussed at length. Maple is the Chairman and CEO of Goddard Systems, Inc., the franchisor of The Goddard School. Dr. Hadani is an expert in early childhood and creativity development, a fellow at the Brookings Institution, and member of The Goddard School Educational Advisory Board.

Throughout the interview, Maple and Dr. Hadani stressed that 2020 was not a lost year, children continued to grow and develop throughout the pandemic, and the focus should be on how to best support children moving forward. In particular, the importance of children returning to a structured learning environment this summer was highlighted. They detailed several benefits of summer learning including children regaining some normalcy, reengaging face-to-face with their peers and teachers, and most importantly – having fun! As parents seek summer learning opportunities that feature a structured, in-person environment, there are some important questions to keep in mind.

How important is structured, in-person learning this summer?

Summer learning programs pave a smooth path toward restoring normalcy for young children and provide structured play environments that foster creativity, peer engagement, and social-emotional development. Not only do summer learning programs provide the opportunity for students to reestablish face-to-face interactions, but they also help kids re-establish routines.

Routines are a parent’s best friend when working with children on adapting and adjusting to new situations like participating in a summer program. When a child knows the routine in a household or a classroom, they feel safe, confident, and ready to explore and create. Involving children in some of the decision-making around routine introduces the concept that they are a part of their own learning.

What is The Goddard School’s Summer Learning program?

To support parents and their children, The Goddard School is offering their 2021 Summer Learning program from the beginning of June through the end of August. The new curriculum is built for infants and toddlers to pre-school and school-age children. Recognizing the need to support the social and emotional needs of children seeking a return to normalcy, The Goddard School designed a curriculum that will focus on two key themes – In My World and The World Out There. The themes are meant to engage children’s natural curiosity, creativity, and excitement to explore while fostering important social-emotional development.

How important is creativity to young children, and how does it impact the rest of their lives?

One thing this past year has shown is how much everyone needs interaction and involvement with each other – and this is especially true for growing, young children. Learning environments foster creativity for young children. According to The Goddard School Educational Advisory Board, children learn a great deal from interacting with their peers. Other children are an important source of discovery, challenge, problem, creativity, and joy.

One important way summer learning stimulates creativity in children is the engagement with nature. Children can typically be outside more during summer, enjoying fresh air, sunshine, and movement.

Outdoor play provides endless opportunities for exploratory and multi-sensory play. Being able to touch, feel and experiment in the outdoors is the best way for children to learn science. They can get messy!

Research proves that this type of play builds and promotes children’s confidence, resilience, and executive function skills such as planning and flexible thinking, all of which will help them the rest of their lives.

What other resources are available this summer?

The Goddard School remains focused on helping parents know what health and safety protocols to look for and is dedicated to exceeding parents’ expectations. Goddard takes pride in providing safe, nurturing environments where children can return to have fun and reengage with the world.

To help parents answer the difficult questions surrounding their children’s education during a pandemic, Goddard created Parenting Under Five, a video series sharing practical advice from Goddard parents, teachers, and other third-party subject-matter experts in early childhood development. Topics include the social and emotional impact of virtual learning on children, the unique opportunities of summer learning, and ways to ensure a confident return to the classroom. To serve as a resource for ALL families across the country, these videos have been made available on The Goddard School’s website and YouTube channel.

To learn more about The Goddard School, the 2021 Summer Learning program, and Parenting Under Five video series, visit