Advantages Disadvantages Year Round School Scheduling

As with most things, there are pros and cons.  What is considered a pro or con depends on the goals.

A year-round elementary school schedule isn’t just a job creator.  It’s an opportunity to revitalize and revolutionize how children are taught and how they learn.  Social interaction and structured play time are also learning opportunities as long as bullies aren’t allowed to rule.

To offset expenses to year round schools, volunteer positions need to be created that allow part time or full time involvement of parents and interested (and qualified) parties.  Those positions might include field trip chaperones, playground monitors/attendants, class room clean up, lunch room helpers or escorts, computer maintenance/technicians, or story readers.  To entice participants, a free lunch and a travel stipend may be useful.  A certificate of participation may be an added kudos for their time.

Some problems for this type of schedule can include an unwillingness of certain school administers to give up a 6 or 7 figure income to hire more teachers, maintenance, and utility issues.  In addition, some areas of the world may have different needs in relation to labor, money and agricultural work for some teens.

The original reason for no school in the summer was for the children to help with the labor of a farm according to various sources.  A year-round elementary school schedule may improve test scores as long as children are given proper time or breaks for social interaction or play. There are advantages and disadvantages to this type of school schedule.

A year round school curriculum has merit, but only if it is tempered with reason and understanding of human nature.  The current situation in most U.S. schools is less than ideal.  It needs improvement.

Changes in technology and information can overwhelm a person who isn’t trained in how to sort through it all or who doesn’t manage it well. Until society figures out how to do that, children who don’t have a more organized form of education are at a disadvantage.  Having public education in sync with parent’s work-life may also lend to better education by default due to fewer stresses.  

Stress may negate some of what a child learns.  Poor diet, exercise and too much stress (over stimulation as well) affect the adrenal glands which affect everything else.  This includes mental functions.

Kids everywhere might groan with dread at the thought of having school all year long.   Depending on how it’s handled, there are numerous advantages and/or disadvantages to having school open all year long. 

To design a successful year round educational tour, one might look to why children dislike school in the first place.  If those issues can be resolved, then a modified year round program may be ideal.

Educational processes includes curriculum, teacher to student ratios, length and/or location of each class, and methods of teaching.  Attention to needs of students by age or situation is also a part of a process.

Advantages:  Better test scores, less in daycare costs for the family, more learning retention, a reduction in child crime and vandalism, a more structured and disciplined child (to adult) possibly, learning of productivity habits, a possible reduction in the cost of summer programs, better preparation for working full time when they become an adult, possibility of creating more jobs for educators and other staff, more short (week long) breaks instead of the average of 8 or 9 weeks long which allows for better vacation planning for the families, a more efficient use of the school building, better left-brain development, more opportunity for social development, more opportunity for physical activity, and the possibility to learn stress management methods.

Disadvantages:  Property taxes for schools may increase, building maintenance costs may rise, children with ADD disorders or other disabilities may require different educational processes in order to manage the longer time, teens who need to work to support their families may also require their own educational process, funding issues, new programs or processes will have to be devised to keep costs of employing the appropriate amount of staff and teachers manageable, improvements and changes to curriculum will be necessary, possibly more paperwork for teachers, and there may be less profit by summer or youth camp owners (unless they find a way to work this into the school curriculum).

Some of the reasons kids hate school revolve around distractions of social issues and boredom.  There is, however, more to it.  There’s very little physical activity, down time and problem solving.  These things would need to be addressed with a redesign of activities and lessons.

Social issues involve clothing that places emphasis on wealth and status, bullying, self-esteem, and popularity contests that reward some students with positions of power or status (class president, etc.) that naturally excludes children who have no idea what any of it is about.

The predominant method of teaching in public school is by lecture and reading of information.  This is labor intensive for teachers and time consuming for the children.  There is little ‘learning’ through this method without rote memory.  Rote memory doesn’t teach understanding.  Intelligence tests measure intelligence, not memory of facts or events.

Lecture and reading are passive activities that rely heavily on visual and auditory learning.  Learning tasks that involve tactile learning as well as problem solving are more effective methods of teaching.

Typically, a year-round school curriculum would involve more short breaks than one long one.  To be effective, it needs longer hours to allow parents to get their kids off to school and get home before they do or at the same time. 

The longer hours at school can include more physical breaks along with a snack break with an earlier lunch.  The food breaks may reduce the distraction of hunger.  If the hours are long enough, additional classes in nutrition/health and stress management would help them prepare for adulthood better.

To combat boredom, lab time and practical application exercises need to accompany each class.  This can also be an opportunity for the teacher to get paperwork done while students are engaged in some types of ‘lab’ work.  Some teaching methods involve individual cubicles or divided spaces with audio or visual equipment (computers or tapes) assisted tests or puzzles.  Both individual and small group (maximum of 4 students per group) lab learning is effective.

The lecture part of classes should be shorter.  There needs to be one short (30 minutes) study hall period per day for reading or class projects where there is no interaction or major distraction allowed.  Both breakfast and lunch with a snack period should be at school so as to control distractions from hunger.  Lastly, there should be at least one elective class that involves creative endeavor.

These recommendations for improvement in curriculum, processes and methods are the bare minimum recommended for having school year-round.  If done well, students can enjoy and learn to be motivated and prepared for a productive adult life.