by Amanda Carter, Head of School
This year, Noble Academy’s Spring Break falls in the last full week of April. In my nine years working in Independent Schools this is the latest the break has ever been. I have friends in other schools spending this week at Disney, somewhere in the Caribbean, or binge watching Netflix. I won’t lie to you, it’s painful to see their pictures on social media and know that our vacation from school is still almost four weeks away.
The origins of the modern day Spring Break can be attributed to college swim teams traveling to Fort Lauderdale to do early training for their upcoming season. The movement rose among college students, and other educational settings adopted the practice of giving students and staff a vacation in early spring.
There have been many academic studies completed to measure and quantify the effects of vacations and breaks on one's ability to perform work and learn. All signs point to the fact that taking a break from work and school are imperative to mental and physical health, which is why schools continue to employ these practices today.
So, how do we stay motivated, focused and mentally healthy while we wait for our break to finally be here?
1. Kids need time outside! We will continue to offer our students the typical outside, unstructured time Noble Academy builds in to each academic day in all three divisions. However, at this time of year our teachers will take students outside during class, participate in outside movement breaks and utilize our outdoor classroom. Parents should consider kicking their kids out of the house in the evenings and weekends allowing them time to burn off some energy in the yard or with their neighbors.
2. Recognize that this a long stretch of time without a break. There is no need to minimize the amount of time between our Winter Weekend in February and April 19th! Kids need to know that feeling stir crazy and a little bit off balance when the time between breaks is extraordinary is OK. They are not any different than the adult who hasn’t had a vacation in a few years (which I know may be the case for many people reading this)! Kids feel that same sense of frustration and exhaustion that adults do, but often in a shorter time period. This is a lifelong situation many of us continue to manage, so recognizing the emotion and assuring kids that it won’t last forever can be helpful.
3. Manage expectations. For students with ADHD, not having their batteries recharged can often lead to some changed behaviors, which can look either more mischievious or more lethargic. At school we continue to have expectations for student behavior towards each other, themselves and the school. We set those expectations clearly with the students and work hard to reiterate they still hold true even when it can be hard. But, we do remember, as adults, that this time of the year can be hard so we discuss managing our own expectations of student behavior. This could also be a great conversation in your home.
Noble Academy makes the choice each year to align our Spring Break with Guilford County Schools (GCS). We do this because the majority of our families have at least one child attending GCS, so coordinating the breaks helps these families immensely. It is the same for our faculty. The majority of our faculty with school aged children are working off the the GCS calendar. Some years, like this year, it is not ideal. But, we know it helps most of our families tremendously. So, hang in there! We will all make it to April 19th together!