How school can influence the family summer holiday calendar!
Summer homework? How about some school-recommended family days out instead?
Not every school gives out summer homework. It is a good chance to give pupils and parents a real break before moving up a year. However, the “summer slideback” is something you will want to avoid by ensuring pupils keep their brains active and don’t follow all the “siting in their room playing video games” worries. Parents do not want to necessarily be given a list of things to do with their child in summer from an arbitrary list (sorry Mr Hinds) but as a core part of your local community you can probably signpost some good events and local places to visit for any budget. Your school website calendar is a great place to add these so that parents have good choices for the summer. This also helps to support local events and get children out and about in their local area.
If you do not have some sort of school diary in your website already get in touch with us to find out how to add one and also how you can allow parents to download the events straight into the phones and their own online diaries.
What kind of events and places might you consider adding?
You may have museums very close to you, which is great, but if not maybe add information for how to get to the nearest ones. Often parents, especially those new to the area, won’t know that a certain bus/train/tram takes them straight to the door of a museum not too far away. Those without cars are then less likely to get out and about in the holidays. Letting them know approximate travel times can really help them to make informed decisions. You might want to especially also point them to certain exhibits you know will help with the topics for next year, or which will embed learning done this year.
Nearly all large parks have events of some sort in the summer. Whether it is a visiting funfair, a big picnic get together, or even bands playing on the bandstand, you will want to ensure parents know what is happening locally as many of these will be free or cheap days out.
Art and Craft activities
Many local community halls, playgroups, museums and art galleries lay on art and craft events in school holidays. It is worth looking in local free papers to find out what is on and sharing this with parents. Some are free whereas others involve a cost. Some are for families to attend together so can include younger or older siblings, and some are drop-off so can give parents a couple of hours off. Share each with some explanation so parents can be confident to pick the right one for them.
Local libraries and even larger book shops often have events to encourage reading over the summer holidays. From author readings to the summer reading challenge, have a look at what your local library is offering. Many libraries (of those staying open) have also gone high tech and have filmmaking classes and family workshops which are often free or very cheap.
Soft Play Centres
They may not sound like the most educational of places but soft play centres provide much needed exercise for children in cities especially if the weather is too hot/cold. It is also a great chance for children to socialise and they often bump into friends from school if it is local to you.
Again not the most educational choice for all ages, but cinemas put on plenty of “First Cinema Experience” type events for younger children and these are much more interactive than sitting to watch a standard film – with opportunities to sing along with characters on screen and do dance actions – so fits very well with the Early Years curriculum. For older students the special cinema showings for young people can be a good chance for a bit of independence in a safe environment.
There are so many offerings these days for school holiday clubs and not every parent knows about them. They range from sports weeks to theatre weeks (with a full production for parents at the end of the week) and multi-activity weeks where children can try and huge range of activities from art and craft to sports and rock climbing or sailing. You may also have some specialist camps depending on your geographical location – rowing on the local river or potholing in local caves. Holiday clubs cater for a wide range of ages and is extremely cheap childcare which can save parents a lot of money compared to childminders in the holidays. They don’t usually cover the whole 5 or 6 weeks but could help parents to cut costs for part of the holidays if you share all the available options.