Friday, 21 June 2013

Last Day of School for Seven Weeks, Which Isn't Too Short at All...

This is the last day of school here: many kids have only a half day and walking around the neighborhood this morning, it was clear  that the young people are flying high.

In other places, the 180+ days that are standard for the school calendar fit into a shorter period.  Why I'm not sure.  No allowance for snow days?  Fewer teacher professional days? Shorter or fewer holidays? 

And given that kids go back to school here the last week in August, that makes the summer relatively short in a climate where the season is so brief. 

But there are a couple of advantages to the short summer vacation which I'm sure weren't on the table when the pattern was set a half century or more ago.    The first is the fact that so many families have two working parents: a shorter summer school vacation makes organizing the kids summer easier.  The norm seems to be summer day camp, often run by municipalities.  My kids loved them, particularly Lukas who still has as his best friends the guys he met at Outremont's Parc Soleil when he was just a tad.  They didn't go to the same school he went to for varioius reasons, but they found each other each summer and had a great time.

The other is that kids have less time to forget.  Teachers will tell you that the first days or weeks of school in the fall frequently must be devoted to reviewing what was supposed to be learned the year before. Where kids are stimulated during the summer, there may be less fall-off, research from Johns Hopkins suggests.  But for kids who are left to their own devices during the summer, the result may be critical for their success. 

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