The last couple of weeks seem to forebode a warm (hot?) summer here in Holland! Children will be receiving report cards and looking forward to enjoying weeks spent doing everything BUT school-related activities. Most families look at the summer holidays as a time to rest (or do as the Dutch do and go camping), take a break from the usual routine and generally spend more time with family or friends.
The pressure of exams is now over, goodbyes are said and many expat families will go traveling, either back to their country of origin or exploring other destinations. For those families staying here in The Hague or elsewhere in Holland, children might attend sports camps or take part in other (preferably) outdoor activities. Scientific research has proven that children who participate in sports usually usually experience both physical and intellectual benefits which can better enable them to handle challenges in school and even later in life.
But there is is something to consider while planning those family travel, camping and sporting activities and that is summer learning. Over the past century, researchers have shown that “a student’s rate of academic development declines” during summer holidays. The length of the summer school break impacts the extent to which this decline occurs. “Two-thirds of the academic achievement gap in reading and language found among high school students has been explained through the learning loss that occurs during the summer months of the primary school years.” (according to Entwisle, Alexander and Olson, circa 1997, as quoted by MetaMetrics in the paper Stop Summer Learning Loss).
Available literature which examines the effects of the summer learning loss emphasizes the benefits which can come when families implement some sort of summer reading program. Finding a healthy balance between physical activities and activities which are only intellectually-oriented will surely benefit the whole family. Who doesn’t enjoy a good read during “down time” after doing something energetic?
On rainy days or those which do not lend themselves to being outdoors, The Hague public libraries offer a great variety of activities which can continue to stimulate your child’s learning through the summer school holidays.
At the Media Lab and ‘media literacy’, participants can learn how to use the latest computer and smartphone apps, as well as learn new skills in such areas as digital photography. Library visitors can make use of computers to access various internet classes, lessons and workshops teaching everything from internet banking and tips for using social media to the production of short videos. The library also offers basic e-courses for people who would like to improve their skills, and workshops about computer file management, internet safety and communicating via the web.
For those who would like to improve their language skills, The Hague Public Library (all locations) offers books and audio visual materials to learn Dutch and other languages. The access to learning Dutch via websites and programs is possible via the E-Library; some of these are free of charge and are also accessed via terminals in each of the local libraries.
THPS (The Hague Public Libraries) assists primary and secondary school students to find their way in the library and how to search for information across the various media platforms at the library.
For children who need additional support, the “library offers projects in the field of language development to schools for primary and secondary education”, in line with the Municipal Educational Deprivation Policy (Gemeentelijk Onderwijs Achterstandenberleid or GOA).
From Saturday 11th July until Sunday 23rd August, access to libraries in The Hague area will be for free for children (ages 4-12 yo) who have a vakantiepas. This vakantiepas offers children access to all sorts of activities at reduced prices in and around The Hague (including Leiden). The Hague Public Library also offers interesting programmes for different age groups (for example, children ages 6-12).
The British School in The Hague offers summer English language courses for children. In late July (20th-24th and/or 27th-31st July) children ages 5-16 can take English language lessons which also combine activities led in English focused on things like art, sport, theatre and IT.
For older students, the Peace Palace Library offers International Law summer courses through The Hague Academy of International Law which will “provide students with access to all books, articles, essays and documentation on international law available in either paper or electronic format”. The summer courses take place from July until mid-August: 3 weeks will be about Public International Law (July) and 3 weeks about Private International Law (from the end of July until mid-August).