I can't believe it, but - gulp - we only have a few more weeks left before summer. As all of you know, this school year has been a long one. This Syracuse winter left us dazed and confused with the difficult weather as well as the loss of our long standing Head of School. Many parents and students were stunned this winter and continue to feel the effects. Our faculty, though strong and talented, were the hardest hit. But they continue working, cherishing instructional time with students as well as daily conversations and laughs with each other. Nevertheless, I get the sense that we are all ready for summer break.
So I began to think about summer break. Where did it come from? I always had some idea about it's origins, but I wasn't really sure. So I looked it up. This is what I found:
In the 1840s, educational reformers such as Horace Mann moved for a summer recess, out of concern that rural schooling was "insufficient and overstimulating" our youth. They actually felt it could lead to "nervous disorders," believe it or not. Summer seemed like the obvious time for a break as it offered a "respite for teachers, meshed with the agrarian calendar and alleviated physicians' concerns that packing students into sweltering classrooms would promote the spread of disease." So there you have it, summer break. And though I for one love the fast paced, always changing, social animal that is the school environment, this year summer will be that welcome respite all of us need sometimes.
For more on summer: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1816501,00.html#ixzz1MSkwpmZI