A Civil World. Off-topic discussions on a variety of topics. > Trans-Atlantic Knowledge Exchange

School vacation periods

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kareng57:
People have touched-on this topic recently so I thought I'd start a new thread.  The issue is year-round schooling.

In most parts of North America, the school-calendar has followed the agrarian-calendar for the most part.  School goes from September through to mid June or the end of June, and then resumes in September.  100+ years ago, this made sense - the majority of the children lived on farms and were expected to be there to help with the harvest, although, in more northern areas, they could be needed through early September as well.  In any event, the local school-calendars accomodated this.

However, with increased urbanization, this is no longer relevant for most families.  I do know that in some areas there's been a movement towards more year-round schooling.  In some cases, it's simply due to space.  That means some schools (mainly high schools, from what I understand) are on a "multi tract" system.  Three-quarters of the students are in the building at any particular time; the others are on a three-week vacation period - so the school is able to accomodate 25% more students.  I'll admit that I have no experience with this sort of model.  In others, the school is single-tract.  That means that they have more frequent, and shorter, vacation periods - but it doesn't increase the school student capacity.

When the latter model was brought up with the provincial government about 15 years ago I honestly thought that it had some merit.  Students wouldn't get so restless as they often do after an 8-week vacation, and it could be more attractive to parents who couldn't possibly get any time off from their own jobs during summertime.  However, there was major parental opposition and it pretty much ended there.  (I was in favour of the idea locally, but no one paid attention to me... :-[)

At the same time, there was nothing preventing individual schools from trying this model, and a school in a neighbouring district has done this very successfully.  They still get the "standard" Christmas and Spring Break periods, but it's combined with shorter 3-week closures and the kids return at the beginning of August.  For both students and staff, this school has a waiting list.  I can understand the appeal for the staff at a standard-schedule-school - sure, getting July and August might seem great, but what if your spouse is the manager of a garden store?  He/she almost certainly couldn't get time off.  A modified-schedule school would be very attractive.

ETA: oops, I didn't really ask a question.  Is anyone here familiar with modified-school schedules that don't necessarily follow the agrarian-calendar?

Judah:
When my kids were in elementary school our school district had half the schools on a year-round schedule and half on a traditional schedule.  You could choose which school you wanted to attend, and the year-round schools had the highest enrollment.  There were four "tracks" to choose from so one track was always off-track (on vacation).  My kids' track had breaks in July, November, and March. We loved this schedule.

Unfortunately, do to shrinking budgets, the schools had to go to a traditional calendar with all the kids on campus at the same time.

ncgal:
My DD is on year around schedule.  She gets most of June and a few weeks of July off between school years and short breaks during the school year.  The only bad part of her track is that one of the track-out break falls in December, so her track-out break and Christmas break make for her having all of December off.  I choose this track anyway as it is the only one that gives them all of June off (well, except for maybe 2 days) and a few weeks of July.  The other tracks just have a few weeks off between grades. 

Hopefully she will stay on year around until she enters High-school  None of the high-schools here are on year around, only some elementary and middle school.

I like the year around track as it gives us more choices for vacation and not such a long summer break.  Her first track out is in September, so that still give us another "summer month" to hit the beach and other fun summer type places. 

CakeEater:
Wow - that's really interesting! As a (former) teacher, I think it would be a nightmare to keep track of, but as a parent, I think it would work really well.

I'm in Australia. It's different in each state, and I think Tasmania is very different, but mostly we have four terms of varying lengths (9 weeks-13weeks). It depends on when Easter is that year. There's a big break of 6 or 7 weeks for most of December and January, one week at Easter, and two weeks in both July and September.

Private schools often have extra weeks here or there because their school day often lasts longer. Very remote rural public schools sometimes have extra holidays as well to allow for travelling.

Leafy:
Following on from CakeEater - I am in Western Australia. The school year starts at the beginning of February. We have two weeks break in April (usually over Easter but not when it's in March), then two weeks break in July and two more in October. The school year finishes usually around the 17th of December, a week or so before Christmas. Summer holidays then last for about 6 weeks until school starts in Feb again.

Each term tends to be 10 weeks but this can vary - usually depending on Easter's placement. There are always 40 official weeks of school. Do other countries end up with 40 weeks of school in a year or does it vary? Or even other states in Australia?

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