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Are the summer holidays too long?   

Across North America and around the world a number of different school calendars have been adopted over the years. The standard model used in Canada has students and teachers taking short breaks throughout the academic year and then ends with the 10 week summer holiday, after which we repeat the cycle.

The BC government has mandated that the academic calendar is now up for debate and school districts may now request a different calendar setup than has been previously used.

Year round schooling represents a model in which students take a much shorter summer holiday, but enjoy additional weeks off throughout the fall, winter and spring. The end result is that students will still get the required number of days in class each year, but individual districts can spread holidays throughout the year as desired.

There are about 100 schools across the country who have already adopted the year round learning schedule, yet none have requested a trial of the new system here on the Sunshine Coast.

Most people will argue that when the current system was created back in the late 1800s, it was done to accommodate children helping their parents on the farm during the summer months.

Studies here in BC have demonstrated that a push to have schools adopt a year-round calendar could help create smarter, happier and even fitter students. The BC legislation to allow year round schooling, was primarily based on preventing children from forgetting their core skills in math, science and reading throughout the ten-week break. The Canadian Council on Learning estimated that students can lose up to one month’s worth of learning over the summer holidays. That inevitably leads to a lot of unnecessary review each September.

Having said that, there is also a growing opposition to the year round schooling and it’s not just coming from students looking for long summer holidays.  It’s coming directly from the teachers and the teachers union. CUPE has communicated that instead of year-round schooling being an innovative system, it’s actually just a way to cut costs between kindergarten and grade 12.

This debate will continue, but this year students on the Sunshine Coast should enjoy their full break, as you never know when things might change.

Jim Dorey, Editor

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