As many look for ways to improve education of children, some schools are considering the change to a year-round schedule. Before sending a child to one of these schools, there are several advantages and disadvantages to consider.
The summer vacation schedule was originally designed to serve an agrarian society. Children were needed to help with crops during the summer months. As most of the country as veered from this path, the need for three months off in the summer is no longer needed.
Children need to be re-taught some of the information that they learned during the previous school year. With year-round schooling, this would not be as much of an issue. The students’ break would not be as long, usually only a month off at a time, so they would not lose as much information. This helps reduce the time that the teacher has to spend on reviewing material. The teacher is then able to use this time to go more in-depth on the subject matters that is needed to be learned in the current year. This also helps to alleviate some of the stress by the teachers and students as they do not have to feel crunched for time when learning the material needed to achieve curriculum and state goals for education.
Another advantage for a year-round school schedule is the issue of daycare. When students are out of school for three months straight, parents may be faced with the question of what to do with their children as they did not have to face finding childcare during the school year, except for a short time after school. With year-round schooling, most of the breaks are centered on national holidays, so parents may be more likely to be available when their children are off. There are also more opportunities, during the shorter break time, for children to receive remedial assistance or take part in mini-sessions during the off time.
With year-round school, there is also one less chance for children for economically or academically poorer students to be left out, or left behind, their classmates. Quite often the students that do better academically, or who’s families are better off economically, attend enrichment programs or summer camp which can make the other students feel excluded and can bring down their self-worth. With a year-round school, these poorer students have the opportunities, through lack of loss of knowledge, or through lack of resources for special classes, to feel left out.
There are also disadvantages to a year-round school schedule. The first deals with finances. Many schools tout the idea about year-round school being economical. However, more money is being paid out for maintenance and utilities as the schools have less down time to maintain facilities. Also with year-round schools is the necessity to use more energy in the summer month as the temperatures soar.
Another downfall in this kind of schedule is that there are some students who are not developmentally able to handle the longer educational times may experience burn out and may not be able to learn more through the extended time periods.
As far as for increasing the achievement level of the students by limiting the down time, the results have been mixed. There are those students who do benefit from this type of schedule, but there are also those who cannot handle the added material.
Child care is also an issue when for those who are looking at the disadvantages in year-round school. The breaks are for shorter times and are spread throughout the year. Many child care providers do not want to deal with a schedule where a child may only be with them a few weeks and then will be gone for a few months. They are looking for children on a regular schedule, so it may prove difficult to find someone to watch children when they are on the smaller break times.
After hearing both sides of the debate, parents need to decide if a year round school schedule is the answer for them, then take their opinions to the school board or state board of education and make the opinions be heard.