Project Leader, Attendance Innovation Campaign – We often talk about the importance of regular school attendance and how it impacts the development of academic, language, social, and work related skills in children. The research clearly shows that students who miss two days each month are placed at significant risk for current and future challenges at school. Despite knowing the impact that school absences can have, we often do not address a root cause for why many students are not in school – vacations.
Vacations offer unique learning and relationship building opportunities for children, and very few educators or school administrators would ever downplay their value. Issues arise, however, when vacations are extended into, or implemented during, the school year. Unlike many vacations, schools offer a structured setting for academic development, language-rich environment, opportunities to develop social competencies, and experiences that nurture work-related skills such as persistence, resiliency, problem-solving, and the ability to work with others to accomplish goals.
There are approximately 180 instructional days in one school year and teachers have a large amount of curriculum content to cover within that timeframe. Given teachers share their knowledge and passion for learning on a daily basis, students who miss school because of vacations are placed at a relative deficit for lost instructional time and valuable learning opportunities. Many parents have the perception that their child can easily catch up on missed work and it can be the case for some. Unfortunately, the research demonstrates that many students who miss this instructional time will not catch up.
If parents intend to take their children away on vacation during the school year, we ask that they consider the impact it can have on their child’s learning and take steps to minimize it. By limiting the amount of time that is taken away from instruction, parents set their children up for success in the future. For more information on how parents can help improve the attendance of their children, please visit: