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Students act out a skit in their Grade 8 language arts class at St. Joseph School in Calgary, June 13, 2011. (Todd Korol for The Globe and Mail/Todd Korol for The Globe and Mail)
Students act out a skit in their Grade 8 language arts class at St. Joseph School in Calgary, June 13, 2011. (Todd Korol for The Globe and Mail/Todd Korol for The Globe and Mail)

Time to lead

The case for staying out of school all summer Add to ...

In fact, historically, the summer heat - and not rural agricultural practices, as many of us think - was a key factor behind the extended summer vacations students now enjoy.

A student's ability to learn in a hot classroom remains one of the key obstacles for any year-round school to overcome, educational researcher Robert Brown of the Toronto District School Board wrote in a 2008 report.

Readers weigh in

Against year-round schooling

Caw Mentor

When you think back on your own childhoods, do you remember learning to read, or math problems with fondness? Or do you remember learning about tadpoles in the pond with your friends? Do you remember structured recess of jogging around the gym or do you remember biking on an 'Adventure' all day Saturday in the summer?

Parachute parents might appreciate the shorter holiday, because they will just lock there kid into some sort of overly structured and expensive daycare anyways. But the reality is kids need time to be kids, to explore for themselves, to discover things with friends to develop those friendships. During winter and march break they will be cooped up in the house, or on a family vacation, but the summer is the kids time alone to have fun and be a kid. Don't take that away.


There are some issues here particular to Canada. I have great difficulty getting my children to bed on time when it's light out until 10 at night! It's hard to concentrate in school on beautiful days when you want to be outside. And a shorter summer break would mean that all parents would be trying to take vacation at the same time. This would drive up prices for that period and would mean many families would have no vacation together. Are we programming machines or raising children?


Year-round school would essentially crush any hopes of those kids that have to WORK in the summer to make money for post-secondary education. Not everyone has their tuition offered up on a silver platter. Many have to earn the money through summer jobs.

Under the year-round system, all you end up doing is penalizing these kids, forcing them to work more hours during the school year to make up for the lost income during the summer.


I'm not sure if anyone else has posted on this, but speaking as someone who runs an organization that has a summer day camp, moving to a year-round school system with shorter breaks would pretty much destroy the summer camp industry and make it more difficult for those university students whose summer jobs are in child-care and child-focussed sectors to find other work.

Not to mention that if these numerous shorter breaks didn't line up with the university or college calendar, it would be difficult for the organizations that run programs during these breaks to find adequate staff, since most of these organizations use university and college students as their staff.

There are a lot of other factors to be considered here besides the obvious ones, especially if the overall benefit ends up being negligible.


The schools are not built for summer use. I can remember how hot and stuffy the classrooms were throughout June and how difficult it was to learn under those circumstances. Kids need summers. Parents do too. It is the one thing that forces them to vacation as a family.

For year-round schooling

Connie Posavec

Not all families can afford to take two months off or pay for extra childcare for the two months. Yes, it is great to go camping and spend time teaching our children outside of school, but two months is a long time to pay for extra childcare.... Not everyone if fortunate enough to take that much time off or to pay the extra childcare needs. One month off is more realistic than two months off. Most kids get bored by the end of the first month anyways because parents still have to work and can't go oh holidays for more than 2 weeks during the summer.

Steve E2

My mother was a teacher for 35 years and she could attest to the accuracy of this article. She would have to spend weeks in September going over everything the students had forgotten over the summer, and for the slower students it took even longer. The main challenge to year long school is the lack of air conditioning in most schools. Even in June the schools can get oppressively hot, and trying to get the students to focus on their work is next to impossible. As older schools get torn down and new schools built, year long schooling will start to become more realistic.

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