Summer is beautiful. From the brilliant rising of the sun to warm up the fields of childhood adventure to its dramatic setting accompanied by cicadas and laughter, what graduate from childhood can’t remember some great summer memory. Those days were wonderful, I remember as a kid as soon as school was out for summer we were outside.
There were so many things to explore beyond the school; the neighbourhood, the wilderness, new creative exploits through summer cultural programming. It was the freedom of summer that fueled my imagination and my appetite for adventure. So, naturally I am against the idea of eliminating summer vacation for children and sitting them back in the schoolroom.
I am a kinesthetic learner, meaning I learn best by doing. The current curriculum in the Canadian education system, and this includes universities, is not geared towards myself and others with different learning styles. Looking back, having the summer to run, jump, catch bugs and laugh with my friends were integral to my education. Through the act of doing these various activities concepts cemented themselves in my mind; concepts of how the world works, how to see beauty and how to interact with others.
If we are going to remove the joyous adventure that is summer we need to do more for those creative and experiential learners. Do not simply put them in another math class instead of a soccer field. Bring back more funding to arts education like theatre, music and visual art. Expand physical education, use the summer advantageously by organizing courses for camping, portaging or mountaineering. Bring in courses that involve field trips to national parks and cultural events of this country.
To take summer away from children can rob them of the unofficial education they get by traveling with family to national historic sites or by playing outside until their parents call them in.
Even though the elimination of summer vacation can rob children of a wonderful two months it doesn’t have too. In fact, it can even protect it and ensure that our children have a great summer experience. It is no surprise that kids spend more time staring at screens than riding bikes or going on hikes. Only if summer vacation activities, like camping or visiting national parks and historic sites, are worked into the curriculum then school during the summer can improve the health of our children and preserve the adventure of the summer months.
So let’s keep kids in school throughout the summer but let’s do it wisely. Do not simply place them at a desk like the rest of the year. Use the beauty of the summer and turn education into an adventure. Get the children out there learning like they would on their own. Help them to have the best summer ever while in school.