There was a time when the words “Spring Break” conjured up images of college kids in a drunken stupor, partying it up in Daytona Beach, flashing their boobs and jostling their junk in hopes of making a cameo on MTV’s live broadcast of the festivities.
I was never one of those kids, but I can remember sitting in front of the TV with my eyes glued to the screen, fascinated by the Spring Break shenanigans and thinking that one day, when I was a grown up, I’d get to experience all the hedonistic happenings of spring celebrations in real life.
Now that I’m a parent, those same two words carry a whole new meaning. Sure, Spring Break still involves crazy, care-free kids and shameless shenanigans, but when you’re the parent of the party animals, it just doesn’t carry the same cachet.
This week, children are celebrating their last days of school and teachers are excitedly sighing breaths of relief as they prepare for a two-week break from their classroom kids. Meanwhile, parents are scrambling in anticipation of what’s to come.
Whether it’s trying to coordinate camps for kids, or preparing for weeks of entertainment at home, the two-week Spring Break has become a real struggle for parents who either can’t take the time off to take care of their kids, or can’t afford to cover the added cost of childcare during the break.
Until 2010, the March break was only one week long in most of B.C.’s school districts, but thanks to financial restrictions, it was extended to two weeks, saving money for the affected school boards. Unfortunately, it seems as though those financial burdens have been passed on to the parents instead.
Some families find Spring Break to be the perfect time to travel, but with inflated costs and overcrowded hot spots, the timing just isn’t ideal for everyone.
The two-week break also presents challenges for employers - especially those who are trying to run small businesses, with many of their staff attempting to take the same two weeks off work to accommodate the time off school.
Instead of the lengthy school breaks, we should consider adopting a year-round school calendar, making it easier for parents to balance calendars, and children to keep on track with their school work.
Other countries in the world have seen overwhelmingly positive results with a year-round school calendar - including higher test scores, and an increased retention rate of learned information.
Many parents, teachers, and students who have tried this revised system right here in B.C. have shared positive feedback after having experienced the transition to a more balanced school year as well - citing that they love the model and feel that it has been of great benefit to the learning environment of their children.
After the Christmas holidays and long stretch of dark winter months, a break in March is definitely welcome, but when it comes to Spring Break as it is today, two weeks is too long.
Bianca Bujan is a mom of three, writer, editor, and marketing consultant. Find her on Twitter and Instagram at @bitsofbee.