by Juliana Valdez, retired teacher
Once again, vacation time is here, and as is the norm, many suggestions of activities to occupy the children’s time are being advertised on the television. They range from SEA lessons, computer classes, creative writing classes and many different ‘fun’ camps.
For many parents, especially those who are working and are unable to take their vacation around this time, these activities seem to be God sent, since the parents are comforted to know that, at least for part of the day, the children will be well occupied.
It is important however to be mindful that the children still need to get some time off from the books and ordered activities now that the school term has ended. No doubt the SEA students will want to free up after the stress of the exam and would be looking forward to a little time away from the books.
While modern technology is the order of the day, and quite necessarily so, it is important that the children be encouraged to renew their relationship with books.
Many are the complaints about the inability of our students to read fluently, do creative writing properly, perform word attack exercises which impede their ability to spell words, and complaints on their general preference for the tablets,
iPhones, iPads, etc.
So parents, especially those of infants and pre-SEA students are being encouraged to ply their children with reading material for leisure, story books to help them experience the land of fantasy, adventure books where their story telling and Creative Writing skills will be fuelled, Bible stories to educate the children about the various characters of Bible history and the love and mercy of God.
Make the time to read to, for and with your children. Give a rest to the television and use that time to indulge in reading and this will also facilitate family bonding.
Even the planned outings etc., can be made into learning experiences along with the fun. Encourage them to share verbally or write reports and read it together with parents about their outings. There is so much to be done which would bring all round benefits which would only auger well for the future.
This vacation can also be a time for some spiritual activities which would facilitate new and reinforced knowledge about the traditions and teachings of the Church. Starting with a short time, it will be amazing to discover that the children themselves will be involved to the point of lengthening the time spent during these activities.
I know that in some of our parishes there is the Vacation Bible School, a welcome and interesting series of activities for the children on vacation. Sadly in other parishes, the issue of “man power” to carry out this activity poses a major problem, but hopefully, a solution to this problem will be found.
Although we view vacation as the children’s time, it can be structured to fulfil both the serious and fun aspect. Viewing Trinity TV, I saw an ad/prayer where there is a picture of coloured hands printed with words like sleep late, watch TV, no book reports, no assignments, etc., and it ends with a prayer that God will bless and protect them as they enjoy their vacation time.
It truly echoed what the children hope their vacation would be, but we trust that with suggestions of meaningful activities by the parents and other adults from the home, church or community, they will merge their wishes with the desires of the adults. Happy holidays children!