Schools work to keep students engaged over break
Published 5:32 pm Wednesday, December 30, 2015
Students and teachers alike look forward to a Christmas break, but upon returning to school in January, there may be a lot of catching up to do.
Alicia Vosburgh, principal at Chocowinity Primary School, said enlisting the help of parents to keep their children up to speed is of utmost importance.
“We always encourage them to always go home with something to read. … We have programs that we use at school that they can access at home as well,” she said. “Just encouraging them to stay, you know, fresh on some things.”
Vosburgh said January is a harder month in which to keep students on track, as it’s dotted with a teacher workday and the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. State benchmark assessments also begin in January.
“They will be hustling when they get back,” she said. “There’s not a lot of recoup time.”
Teachers also send out newsletters to keep parents abreast of what their children are doing in school and to encourage them to do learning activities at home, Vosburgh said.
“There’s so much to do when you’re home over break … make them learning experiences,” she said.
Jennifer Watkins, administrative coordinator at the North Carolina Estuarium, said the Estuarium is a good educational outlet for children, especially over break.
“The last couple days we’ve had a big influx of visitors,” she said, adding that many are out-of-towners visiting family. “I think everybody gets, you know, cabin fever.”
Although the Estuarium doesn’t have any special tours this week, such as the Mistletoe River Roving tours of early December, the regular tours are continuing as usual.
“We talk about estuaries and the importance of estuaries,” Watkins said. “It’s arts, it’s culture and environmental.”
“It kind of goes across all spectrums,” she added.
For Jennifer Walker, kindergarten teacher at Eastern Elementary School, keeping students on track with learning is important over Christmas break, but it’s also just as important during the whole school year.
She said it can be difficult for the younger students to retain information, but fortunately, during the second half of the school year, the kindergarteners start to mature a little bit.
“We had a parent night in December and made up little games and stuff for them to do at home to practice sight words and letters and numbers and shapes,” Walker said. “We have a very wide variety of learning styles and speeds.”
She said she and her colleagues are always encouraging parents to boost their child’s learning in small ways at home, such as getting the child to sound out words on the grocery list or asking the child to read signs while riding in the car.
“It sounds so small to us because it’s an everyday task, but it really helps bring home what we’re learning at school,” Walker said. “All we can do is hope that parents are taking a minute to help out with the kids.”
By doing this, students will be more ready to learn after Christmas break, as well as more prepared for moving to a higher grade the next year.
“Parents have a constant plethora of activities that they can do at home with their kids,” Walker said. “They’re always learning.”