Why is the School Holiday Period as Vital as School Terms?
Everyone needs to recharge, even the kids.
The Christmas break is looming and most will be looking forward to some time to recuperate.
Whether you are selling shoes, teaching, or driving across the country in a food laden semi-trailer, work is tiring. Managing the home, children, shopping, cooking, and cleaning is also tiring. Attending school instils the need, and value of working. In this sense learning might seem like work to our children.
On average school-age children attend school 35 hours per week. Australia continues to have school hours that were set in the 1950s. Uniforms, broad brimmed hats and daily permission notes are all part of the school week. The time spent in a classroom, actively learning, is tiring, and there is a finite amount that students can learn at school.
School holidays are vital for the development of the skills and values that will enable your child to be successful at school. Holidays give families an opportunity to spend time together. Often the summer holidays are the only time that parents can take a break from work and spend time as a family. It is also a time when children apply what they have learnt at school into the outside world.
According to Bhamani et al (2020), parents identified that physical interactions such as shaking hands, hugging, celebrating in parties and eating are important for tolerance and harmony, and hence play a key role in their kids’ social development. At the same time, they also realised (school breaks) could be turned into an opportunity to increase family bonding and engage in various activities together.
Baking a cake requires an understanding of the language of maths to measure flour and literacy skills to read the recipe. Making a cake alongside a sibling or parent requires group working skills and ability to read social cues. This is a simple example of the most important skill and the ability to transfer and apply acquired knowledge to new situations. In this case from the pages of a maths text into baking a cake. In the same way that schools have behavioural expectations such as, be respectful to others and listen to learn, families have many of the same expectations of their children at home and on holidays. The time spent travelling or relaxing at home reinforces and develops the positive learning habits in their children.
The holiday breaks in the school coincide with many cultural celebrations. Importantly, this can shift the focus of learning away from school, and onto family and community events. Learning about culture and religious practice is important learning. Longer school breaks such as, the summer holidays allow families an opportunity to reconnect. The school week is always busy, and occasionally fraught with homework and tired children. The weekends are filled with sport, and parents racing from one sport to another. The remaining time is spent watching a screen and sleeping on a repeat cycle.School breaks are often the only time when children can slow down. The rush of school, friendships, fears, and fun consume a lot of emotional energy. Time away from school can refresh and recharge your child’s vigour. This can be time to recharge relationships within the family. The odd day off here and there can provide students with a short mental break. The alarming increase in reporting of poor mental health and incidence of severe psychological distress is confronting. Some challenges of a school day are unique, while others are felt in common. Holiday breaks create the space for families to spend time on activities that everyone enjoys. Schools offer a broad curriculum. The school year is around 200 days. Holiday breaks are as vital as school terms because our children are worth it.
ROCHELLE BORTON EDUCATION TODAY
NOV 23, 2022