Is Children’s Summer Vacation Becoming Extinct?

Published on July 8, 2019

In the early years of formal education in America, school calendars were designed to meet the needs of each community. Some groups had lengthy winter shifts that released kids from school in the spring to assist with growing and in the autumn to assist with harvesting, while metropolitan schools sometimes ran on eleven or twelve month cycles. By 1900, migration from farm to town and a rise in household mobility developed a need to standardize the time spent by kids in school. The current nine month calendar arose when 85 per cent of Americans were engaged in agriculture and the regulation of the climate in schools was controlled. Today, about 3% of American’s livelihoods are linked to the agrarian process, and air-conditioning enables schools to provide pleasant teaching conditions all year round. However, the 9-month school year is routine.

Teachers and families often express three worries about the possible adverse effects of summer vacations on student learning. One issue is that kids process better when their training is constant. Long summer vacations disturb the rhythm of training, contribute to forgetfulness, and involve a considerable quantity of content reevaluation when learners move to school in the autumn.

Summer failure was more pronounced for math facts and reading and spelling than for other ability fields evaluated. The interpretation of this consequence was focused on the fact that both math computation and writing abilities require the development of scientific and procedural knowledge, fields that are conceptually oriented. Cognitive psychology findings indicate that without exercise, information and procedural abilities are most likely to be forgotten. Summer failure was more pronounced in math generally than reading overall.

Three methods for stopping the deterioration of instruction are: expanding the school year, offering summer school, and altering the school calendar. Most of the statements put forward in favor of the extended school year are based on global associations, which show that the amount of days American learners invest in school lags behind most other industrialized nations. For instance, NCETL (1993) revealed that most learners in the United States work between 175 and 180 days each year in school, while Japanese learners work 240 days in school.

In short, what do we understand? (1) It is clear that students do forget mathematics material over the summer, and poor children lose reading skills as well. (2) Extending the school year by a few days is a questionable intervention, but we should not rule out the possibility that substantial increases in the length of the school year, coupled with the corresponding reform of the curriculum, could have a positive impact on student learning. (3) Summer programs are an effective intervention for the purpose of academic remediation, enrichment or acceleration, and a accumulated knowledge base that can help make the most of summer school. There are many factors that need further analyses.

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