Summer is full of opportunity

June 26, 2017 - 5 minutes read

DSC_7983The last bell is just around the corner, and summer is finally here. Year-end ceremonies at elementary and secondary schools have almost all concluded, so it’s time to turn our attention to fun, and the incidental learning opportunities that free time — or at least more free time — offers. If you haven’t seen it, please check out the video that some of our advanced film students at Rockridge Secondary have created to wish us well as we close the 2016-2017 year.

While some people will be heading off on vacations or to continue their education at post-secondary institutions over the next few months, others will be at summer school. This year, we have more than 1,100 student registered in our K-12 summer learning programs. That’s a big slice of our school population, and it is good to know that so many of our families support continued learning over the holidays.

But there are many ways to learn, and even those headed to the classroom for a few weeks will find they have much more time to enjoy the warmer weather as the school term comes to an end. Summer camps, sports, beach outings, play dates, summer jobs, weekend barbeques – the summer break brings many opportunities to shift gears. However, it is often a shock when we have to readjust in late August for the following term, so I’d like to share a few ideas to help keep learning fresh so that younger children, in particular, are ready to learn when they return this fall:

  1. Set up the months of summer with a weekly schedule, paying particular attention to the last few weeks of August. Establish evening and morning routines over the summer months that will help your child adjust incrementally to the scheduling demands of fall.
  2. Read with your child, or have them register for the summer reading club at the West Vancouver Memorial Library. Discuss with them what you or they have been reading by connecting the family’s summer experiences to characters and plotlines in the books.
  3. Soak up the amazing learning that summer offers through outdoor walks or hikes with family and friends, beach scavenger hunts, games, picnics and community events.
  4. Start a summer journal or summer website to document adventures on- or off-line; if your child can write, they can keep a daily log of the things they are doing, what they’re learning and how they’re feeling. If your child cannot yet write, you can provide them with a sketchbook that they can use to illustrate their activities and feelings each day.
  5. Many of our school teacher-librarians are using tools like StoryBird that help children create stories; try setting this up on a home device to keep creativity flowing over the long weeks of summer.

As summer comes to a close:

  1. Set up a study area in the house, where you can review notes and your child can tackle any assigned homework.
  2. Review digital tools that schools may be using – like Google Apps for Education – or even reminding students how to use a USB stick to save their work.
  3. In the last days before school starts, a quick-look at some of your work from this year can help get you back in the school frame-of-mind.
  4. For older students it is a good time to ensure that your course load aligns with your current goals and post-secondary aspirations.

I want to thank our students, staff and families for a wonderful school year, and wish everyone a pleasant and relaxing break. I look forward to welcoming back our returning families this fall, as well as the hundreds of new families and staff who will be joining us in September.