Thursday 1 August 2019 4:17 am

DEBATE: Should the long summer school holiday be shortened?

Should the long summer school holiday be shortened?

Jenny Afia, a privacy lawyer and partner at Schillings and member of the Children’s Commissioner’s Digital Task Force, says YES.

One week into the summer holiday and I need a break, let alone my daughter.

It’s argued that long holidays are needed so children can rest. But trying to fill her weeks while my husband and I are at work is not at all relaxing for her, while the anxiety about the change in circumstances is making her sleep less well.

I also worry about the good progress she’s made at school receding. Children need to constantly refresh their memories by going over their work, and long study breaks are not helpful. I’ll try to keep up her studies, but I’m a poor substitute for her fantastic teachers.

I am fortunate in that I can afford proper childcare, but a lot of working parents also lack the resources, especially for such prolonged periods. Many parents want to go back to work after having children, but financially it doesn’t make sense for them to do so.

These extended holidays are a big part of that, and are detrimental for both parents and children.

Daniel Senn, chief executive and founder of Poio, the app that helps children to read through play, says NO.

Holidays are to school as sleep is to being awake: the latter without enough of the former is unhealthy, unproductive, and damaging.

Substantial holidays are critical in children’s development, just as education is. Extended time to bond and explore with peers, outside the confines of the school day, is vital for personal growth.

Long holidays also provide unique opportunities for family units to knit and bond, enhancing the cohesion and relationships that are critical to a child’s future.

The opportunity to navigate real and challenging outdoor environments – something almost no school could provide – helps develop motor-skills, spacial awareness, and problem-solving. Not to mention that the holidays provide an opportunity to find new intellectual passions, or catch up on subjects that kids are worried about going back to school for.

Extended school holidays benefit education, allowing children time to renew, to rest, and to grow.

Main image credit: Getty

City A.M.'s opinion pages are a place for thought-provoking views and debate. These views are not necessarily shared by City A.M.