OUR VIEW: Same school holidays, less summer break

Some students might find it harder to get back into the swing of things with the start of school. Might shorter summer holidays help?

Much to the delight of parents and the chagrin of students, school began on Tuesday.

For most students, this will mark the first time since about June (depending if you’re in high school or elementary school) that they will be hitting the books and for some, it may take some time to become re-acclimatized to school as it has been a lengthy lay-off.

Earlier this year, B.C.’s Education Minister George Abbott – who recently announced he wouldn’t seek re-election – said that school boards would have control over the school calendar and some people talked about the possibility of a more balanced school calendar, with one of the suggestions being three, one-month breaks throughout the year and that might be a better alternative in terms of learning.

Some have said that because of the lengthy summer break, students tend to forget the things they learned and in fact, a paper from the Canadian Council of Learning (dated 2008) suggests that students can forget upwards of one month’s worth of lessons learned while on summer break.

Forgetting that much material can be detrimental to students’ progression and putting students in class 208 days a year (with SD51’s four-day school week and 52 weeks in a year) isn’t the answer but staggering the holidays throughout the year would be beneficial.

Some have suggested that the first month back from summer vacation is often used for review but that wouldn’t be the case with shorter holidays as information from the previous semester would still be relatively fresh in students’ minds, with the shorter time off.

There seems to be evidence of this as an elementary school district in Arizona (Balsz Elementary School District) is said to have seen reading test scores increase 15 per cent since adding 20 days to the school year in 2009.

Many have said a key to learning is constantly reviewing material and wouldn’t more time in the classroom aid with that?

It’s good for students to have a break from school but having such a long lay-off could stunt the learning process.

Going year-round isn’t the answer but giving the same amount of days off but staggered throughout the year is a good compromise.

– Grand Forks Gazette