Should children study during the summer holidays this year?
Children screaming, “SCHOOLS OUT FOR SUMMER!” and running to the gates throwing their books in the air is the stereotypical image of the last day of the academic year in July. Six weeks of freedom from the structure of the school day, forty-two days of laying in, playing hide and seek, kicking a ball in the garden, catching up with friends and visiting the seaside (here or abroad).
And then came 2020.
Most of our children have not been to school since the middle of March and even those who went back, did not receive the same education as they would normally have had. Although schools have done their best with online resources, without doubt, our children have missed out on a great deal of important learning. For this reason, I am asking the question: Should children study during the summer holidays this year?
Last year, around this time, I put an advert on Facebook for summer lessons and received a terribly negative response from one lady, who felt that children worked hard enough and should be playing outside. Whilst I could not agree more regarding the playing outside, is this what children these days are really doing? Or are they locked away in their bedroom playing Fortnite or Roblox whilst their parents desperately try to remove the dreaded device?
I posed the question to some of my Year 5 students, asking them to write a discussion piece on the subject and here are a few interesting insights. Josh automatically raised the devices issue in his writing, stating that, “Some children have used the time away from school as an excuse to play on their Xbox all day. This is not only bad for the brain but also anti-social.” Every child admitted that if allowed, they would be on their tablets/ phones twenty-four hours a day…
Clearly, many parents are concerned that their children have missed out on so much education, but I was surprised to discover that many children are equally as anxious. “We should so some extra work as we will be doing our SATs next year and I want to be prepared,” declares Jessica while Roshan adds, “We don’t want to fall behind, There is no doubt that children have missed out on a lot of schoolwork.”
Remembering the important of balance in a discussion text, Francesca makes the counter argument that, “Alternatively, some could say it is a punishment for those children who have done all the work. These children could be playing outside instead.” Her feeling was supported by Isabella who believes that “We need our education. We could do three weeks of schoolwork and three weeks of rest.”
In summary, I have arrived at the conclusion that there is no harm whatsoever in children working for an hour each morning before heading out for fun in the sun! Children are happier when their brains are being used and challenged and it is important that they don’t lose the ability to concentrate or forget how much enjoyment they get from learning new facts and skills.
None of us will know the true impact of the school closures until next year. One thing we do know though, is that children are resilient, and our teachers will do their absolute best to minimise any damage done.