How short school breaks help students, parents in UAE

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How short school breaks help students, parents in UAE
Many children are happy to catch up with their friends.

Dubai - Some parents told Khaleej Times that their children got plenty of time to relax during the winter break

By Sarwat Nasir

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Published: Mon 8 Jan 2018, 8:17 PM

It's back to early sleeping routines, studying, homework and usual traffic as the UAE children return to school after their two-week winter holidays.
Some parents told Khaleej Times their children got plenty of time to relax during the winter break, while others said their kids caught up on some extra studying. Now, parents are returning to their usual back-to-school schedule.
Bindu Satyan, said her daughter, Sreelakshmi V, studying in Grade 10, was excited to return to school to see her friends. "It was a normal day and she woke up without any hesitation as she was enthusiastic to meet her classmates and friends," Satyan said.
"During holidays, waking up in the morning late was a real headache, because she used to sit very late in the night, doing her vacation homework and revising and watching TV. But five days ago, I made it compulsory for her to wake up at the same time during the school days, hence all other routine changed back according to school timings.
"Normally, long vacations are really a problem for parents as children have an entirely different routine. It is important to make them understand that 'vacation' is for a shorter period and they have to follow the same timetable as during the school days. It will be beneficial as they will get more time for enjoyment after their studies. We, parents, have a big role to play in this - to make them comfortable and create peaceful back to school moments without any morning hassles."
Dhanya Pranesh, said her child, Kashinadh, took time off from studying during the winter holidays and took the opportunity to relax. However, he also used the time to do some volunteering work. Now, it is back to the usual school routine in the Pranesh household, which means early bed hours for Kashinadh and dedicated time for studies. "Kashinadh completely relaxed from the school stuff this festive season and enjoyed holidays with his little sister by watching their favourite cartoons and doing other activities," Pranesh said.
"He started his winter holidays by joining a cleanup campaign and plant-a-tree campaign, which is related to environmental activities. He visited Burjman Centre and Festival City on the Christmas day. For the New Year Eve, we had an outing to Al Qudra lake and spend some time with the swans. He also got a chance to perform in the Global village talent show."
Another parent, Raheela Khan, said she is "relieved" her three children are back at school as it is "quieter" at her home. "I love my children but two weeks off with three kids can be a little difficult, especially when they are all aged 12 and under. We had a great time during the holidays. They all went to bed later than usual and watched TV more than I would allow them to during school days. I hope they enjoyed, because, now it's back to more studying, sleeping earlier and helping more around the house," Khan said.

Tips from teachers to parents

Catherine Flynn, secondary teacher, GEMS Founders School 
> How to prepare them: As a teacher, I would advise parents to encourage their children to have a relaxing and calm evening the night before they return to school. Also, parents could ask their children what they are looking forward to in this next academic period and anything they could improve from the last term. This should encourage students to reflect and be mindful of their actions moving forward.
> Get them back to learning: Immediately engaging students after the holidays is pivotal to ensuring they are inspired and ready to learn. I think it is essential to make sure classroom displays are updated and are vibrant and creative. This allows students to clearly see that we are ready to study a new topic. By engaging students with their environment, they are already beginning to re-engage with learning.
Charlotte Sizer, FS Teacher, GEMS Founders School
> How to prepare them: It is very important that children get into a routine a few days before they start school. Children should ensure they go to bed early so they aren't tired. Talking about school is really beneficial especially talking about the positive aspects to make sure they are looking forward to going back. Children could engage in activities similar to those at school at home and bring them in to share with their peers. 
> Get them back to learning: It is very important to ensure my classroom is very calm on the first day back. The children will most likely not have been in a routine over the past few weeks and often come back in feeling very unsettled. It is imperative to make sure our class routine is kept and this is comforting to the children. I am always very happy to see the children after the break and it is important to show them this.
Tia Dixon, FS2 Class Teacher, GEMS Metropole School
> How to prepare them: Ensure your child gets a good night's sleep; get ready for school together; talk to the child about their feelings about returning to school, remind your child about classroom routines, and reassure any anxieties by talking about the people and activities that they love. 
> Get them back to learning: When students arrive back from the holidays they are full of enthusiasm and excitement to share with their teachers and friends the highlights of their holidays. On day one, we provide opportunities for students to share their holiday highlights through a multitude of platforms, including discussions, writing opportunities and class games.

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