Ongoing learning important

Classrooms may be closed for 2016, but keeping children switched on to learning is a great way to mentally prepare them for the year ahead in 2017.

ACG Tauranga principal Shawn Hutchinson encourages students to use their school holidays as a time to relax and recuperate, but suggests they also keep mentally active through a variety of activities and experiences during their break.

“I believe that balance is the key to creating well-rounded individuals. Our students have been wholeheartedly committed to learning across all subject areas this year and should take this time to enjoy the sun with family and friends – but that doesn’t mean opportunities for learning stop during this time.

“Holidays are the perfect time to apply school-based learning to real-life situations – be it their skills in problem solving, maths and science, or humanities.

“Learning is a lifelong pursuit – not just in a formal classroom setting, but through a number of opportunities and experiences. I encourage our students to think outside the square to continually expand their mind.”

Education can be found in various forms, including undertaking new adventures and challenges. Stepping out into nature, taking up a new hobby or volunteering with a local charity are all great ways to be physically active and also developing those crucial learning skills through challenges and social interactions.

Meanwhile, for those who enjoy bookwork during their break, holiday downtime is a great way to work on those reading and writing skills.

Easy and effective ways to achieve this include writing short stories and poems, starting a blog – this is best for older students – or a holiday diary, submitting articles and reviews on local events to a community paper, and reading the online news, current affairs or fiction.

These fundamental skills are particularly important and Shawn advises parents to take an active role in encouraging students to explore new avenues of learning.

“Through online resources and news sources, social media and the digital space, we are becoming increasingly interconnected.

“It’s important for students to be thinking of wider, worldwide issues and introducing them to an international way of thinking from an early age is an important step in their learning process.

“The direction that the world is heading indicates a need to be culturally aware and competent, and an international curriculum – alongside real-life experiences – helps prepare students for this exciting new future.”