What’s for break?
There are debates about the origin of the school calendar; with some crediting it to the agrarian revolution and others medieval times. Today, after a long, unexpected and eventually unwanted break last year we are happy to be returning to the “normal” order of things (as normal as we can make it anyway).
As a British curriculum school, St Andrew’s School, Turi’s term dates are guided by the British Academic year which runs from September to July (Unfortunately, our colleagues in the UK are now just beginning a phased return to school). The typical Easter Term for us begins in January, breaks for half term in February and concludes in late March or early April (depending on Easter dates).
This term has been a little different operation wise- the students have definitely had a break from class; (their teachers and caregivers have certainly not but that’s a story for another day) which doesn’t mean lazing around doing nothing, but doing something different. This term all this is being done at school and for those to whom half term is synonymous with going home, this term has been a lesson in the true meaning of half term- a break.
Playing games for relaxation and not competition, alfresco lunch at their form tutors’ house garden, watching movies, bonfire nights that feature marshmallows and nyama choma with house parents and generally a time to decompress.
While the pictures make it look easy and yes we have seen the memes alluding to our privilege (which we are grateful for- the privilege, not the memes) it takes a lot of thinking and doing to keep children happy, entertained and engaged while also trying to make up for time they would have shared with their loved ones at home.
Today’s ‘I’ll-rest-when-I’m -dead’ fraternity, glorify minimum sleep and frown upon deliberate breaks to rest- which we clarify here doesn’t necessarily mean do nothing! To them, we recommend Arianna Huffington’s Thrive.
We do not belong to that school of thought. Neither do we believe in endless hours spent studying whether in a day or a term! For learners, resting is just as important as learning. They need time for the physical and mental recharging; as well as a break from the “monotony” of school routine. They may sleep-in a little longer, have a relaxed afternoon chat with friends without glancing at the clock, anxious about being on time for prep or even finish that story book that’s been lying unfinished at the bottom of their backpacks.
While earnest efforts at study are encouraged, even insisted on; rest and relaxation is a must for optimal performance in class, socially, emotionally and even has a positive effect on behaviour.
After a week’s rest Year 9s and 10s are back to the grind (while the rest take their break this week); well rested and ready to take on the last half of the term.
For the adults who don’t get much of a break to ensure that the pupils did, you are appreciated.