FROM THE SUPERINTENDENT'S SEAT:
All Set for Summer?
What are the kids doing this summer? That question starts to surface every January and gets more and more urgent as the season approaches.
Summer offers parents and children a unique stretch of time when they can together choose what activities will occupy their days. Whether your children will be attending a full-time structured summer camp, or will be taking each day as it comes, you should encourage them to use their time to explore their interests and to try some new things that they may not have the time to experience during the school year.
What is the best thing for your children to do this summer? Obviously, there is no single way to answer that question, but it is important to see that learning does not come to a complete halt. There are so many opportunities in the summer to expand your children’s knowledge. Your children’s ages and your family’s availability to provide supervision and assistance will be major factors in your decision. Preschool and elementary grade children generally have an abundance of programs to choose from, and schools and communities offer many free or low-cost options. You are the best judge as to whether it would be better for your children to attend a specialized program or participate in a general recreation and social experience. It’s when the kids get into the preteens and beyond that summer planning takes on a whole new dimension.
At this age, several different factors come up for consideration for working parents. Do your children require full-time supervision or are you comfortable leaving them on their own for substantial times during the day? Do you and your children agree on the answer to this question?
By middle school, many children benefit from trying a few different things during the summer. They may want to concentrate on a sport or academic area of interest for a few weeks, join the summer band, or just go to the beach or pool with friends. Any combination of these choices can add up to a pleasurable and productive summer for your children, as long as you agree beforehand on how and when this schedule will be accomplished.
With high school students, the question of summer employment often comes into play. The traditional job of working at a summer camp can be a great choice for the summer, but it may be rejected by teens who want to earn a significant amount of money, or who don’t relish supervising younger children. Summer is a great time for teens to add something special to their college resume such as volunteer work or internships.
Finally, but no less significantly, is the question of how to fit a family vacation into a fully scheduled summer. Base this decision on how your family will be spending the majority of the summer. Will your family need a vacation to rest from intense activities, or will you want your vacation to add excitement to weeks spent mainly relaxing at the beach or park? Do try to make the time to all be together. These are the memories that will last a lifetime.
However you decide to spend your summer, you will need to take some time for planning and consider the needs and interests of each member of your family. Have fun together, because sooner than you expect it will be September once again.#
Dr. Hankin is superintendent of Syosset Central School District. Randi Sachs is Public Information Officer of Syosset Schools.