Participants in the Spring Break Sports Camp at West Shore Parks and Recreation Centre enjoy a game of soccer.

Parents applaud extended spring break

Slower pace, time for additional fun activities, byproducts of extra time off

Having finally seen the Sooke School District move to a two-week spring break, students and parents alike are settling in for a rest.

The new format, which officially began on Monday, brings SD62 in line with the Greater Victoria and Saanich districts, which shifted to a two-week break in the 2009-10 and 2012-13 school years, respectively.

Tracey Scown, the parent advisory committee president at Spencer middle school, said the parents she’s spoken to were well prepared and anticipated the longer break, having been given more than a year’s notice of the change by the district. Personally, she said, she’s been looking forward to the move for some time.

“(The one-week break) was something I never quite understood. There are so many families who have children in different districts, I can imagine how hard it was for them to juggle,” she said. “I think it’s great. It makes sense to be in line with the rest of the districts. I also think the students need more down time this time of year, from high-energy kindergarteners to high academic Grade 12s.”

West Shore school parent Trina Gray, who has been a teacher in Saanich for more than 20 years, called it a positive step to have a “good, solid break for students and teachers too.”

“I understand it’s impactful for parents who are working and have to find two weeks of child care,” she said, “but I just think that it gives everybody a kick start (for the last portion of the school year).”

Gray, who has two children, one in Grade 3 and another in Kindergarten in West Shore schools, already enjoys the same extended break from her job. As a parent, however, she sees the move as positive and hasn’t heard much negative feedback from fellow parents about the introduction to the longer break.

“It has been an odd year because of the strike, so I think there might be a lot of tension that way,” she said. “(Some  people) are saying, ‘well, you didn’t start [at the scheduled time of year] so why should you have two weeks?’ You just have to look at it like, that is the past and this is the system and how it’s going.”

A Langford resident the past 18 years, Scown didn’t plan a trip for the break. Her two daughters, who attend Spencer and Belmont secondary, and an international student who lives with them and goes to Belmont, are happy to be getting some extra down time, she said.

“We are working parents, but my kids are old enough to be on their own. They’ll sleep in, hang out with friends. Because my schedule is flexible, I can be home for the afternoons to do some fun things that we normally don’t have time for. We also like the break from extra-curricular activities that spring break allows.”

alim@goldstreamgazette.com

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