For many students, school holidays are the best time of the year. It is the time when they don’t have to study and rest from the mind-numbing school work given to them every day. Some even pray that their holidays will be longer so they can just relax.
However, there is a growing debate amongst parents with regards to how long school holidays are in Singapore. While some parents are thankful that these holidays give them opportunities to bond with their children, there are those who are against its length.
In an article posted before Christmas last year, a concerned parent mailed her opinion about the school holidays to The Straits Times. School holidays began on November 16, 2019, and lasted until 2nd of January 2020
For Joy Lee, these holidays are too long. She shares that her children and her friend’s children are becoming restless because they ran out of things to do.
Parents like her also find it hard to find holiday activities that will get their children to think and spend their time.
She also believes that the long break can affect students who find it hard to learn certain subjects, especially the Mother Tongue. The holidays, she believed, will cause children to forget their studies because of how long they don’t practice it.
To solve the issue, she suggested that the Ministry of Education revises the country’s holiday calendar.
In this case, she suggests cutting down the December holidays and transfers two weeks of the holidays to March and September. That way, the holidays are balanced.
How did the Ministry respond to this concern?
In response to the concern raised by Lee, the Ministry of Education said that these long holidays are not just for the students. It is also for the benefit of the teachers who also have been busy during the school months.
In a reply published on January 6, the Ministry said that the period is used by both students and teachers to recharge from school activities. It also paces down the school curriculum and improves the school experience.
The timing is also done to ensure that national exams are launched on time and allow teachers to prepare themselves before the start of a new year.
However, they did say schools can take the time to introduce optional enrichment classes and programs for students, especially during the June holidays.
Ways to Keep Your Kids Learning During School Holidays without Homework
If you are worried about your child’s activities during the holidays, there are several activities can keep them learning. Down below are some examples of activities they can do during their holidays.
Inspire them to make their own games
Kids are very creative and if you give them all the resources to make their ideas come to life, they will do well.
In this case, you can inspire them to make their own games based on the things they like. You can give them the materials to make the game and help them form the rules.
It will be a great bonding experience as well.
Schedule trips where they can explore and learn about key events and facts
Why not look into your child’s books and visit historic places that are not normally visited? When is the last time you visited the Former Ford Factory at Bukit Timah or Changi Museum or Fort Siloso?
Check out these areas and sign up for tours that will educate your children about the history that happened there.
You can also join festivals, community events and factory visits to give your child ideas about global issues and cultures.
Chess is not only a good game where you can pass the time. It is a game that can teach your child patience, strategy, and critical thinking.
You can play and learn together, or you can sign them up in a chess club in your community centre.
Bring them with you during errands
If you got errands that will take you around the city, why not bring your children along?
As you run your errands, you can help them get familiar with public modes of transportation. This will help them get their way around an area and learn how long it will take to travel from one place or another.
I love bringing my child to the supermarket. I allow her to compare prices of similar products and consult her decision on which are the items I should get. We also spend time to write up our grocery list so she can help me to hunt down those items in the supermarket aisle.
This is a good skill to learn early since they can use it when they get older.
Introduce them to music
Is your child musically inclined?
Challenge them to sing their favourite songs in full or invent a song of their own. You will be surprised at how well they take the challenge, especially if the song is dedicated to something they love.
Watch all sorts of movies with them
Movies are quite educational, especially if you pick the ones your child will be interested to learn. After each movie, ask them questions about it.
Some examples of questions you can ask include the themes of the movie, and the events that struck out to them. You can also challenge them to make their own ending for the movie.
We have a movie marathon on Sundays where we allow the kids to pick out a movie, we get to pick out a movie and we get to explain our choices and watch two movies in a day!
Let them explore art
If your child is great with art, why not get them to replicate the images they love?
It can be their favourite book or their favourite artwork. You can also let them do art their way, like blend paints with collages or balloon painting.
Bring them outdoors to inspire them. Take a hike on Bukit Timah Hill or draw the beautiful pavillions at Chinese Gardens, take time to appreciate the greenery with your child.
Cooking is very educational for kids, from the moment you prepare the ingredients to plate the meal. When you go buy the ingredients, ask your kids to compute how much you need and how much will it be in total.
As you cook, let them help you prepare the ingredients and measure the items. You can also have them design the plate to make it appealing.
They will pick up the activity easily and it is a good life-skill to learn for the future.
Holidays are a great way to rest and destress from our busy schedule. In the case of students and teachers, holidays can prevent them from burning out from all the concepts and tasks they have to complete each semester.
For parents who are worried about the length of these holidays and how it can affect their children, there are ways to keep them entertained and educated at the same time. Follow the list above and discover which one works for you and your child.
Need more ideas on how to occupy your child during the school holidays? Here is some help: