This issue is extremely important. When is the best time for a child to learn a language? Winter or summer?
At LuckyKids International Camp we have experience with both periods and we can share it with you.
We started the summer language camp in 2012, and in the 2013 and 2014 seasons we held one-week winter camps with English language learning on a similar principle to summer camps.
Winter language camp has some advantages. In winter there are no viruses, children usually combine learning with skiing or snowboarding, combining learning with sports, which is very appropriate. The winter language vacation goes well with family vacations – children and parents can be together as a location, and each family member can have their own entertainment.
In the course of the winter camp, however, we discovered several negative aspects of this type of camps, which made us think about their existence at all.
In winter, the day is shorter, and even during the day, light is scarce. This, combined with the cold weather, provides limited opportunities for outdoor play and activities.
The most active time for learning in children is in the morning
Unfortunately, this is also the best time for skiing or other outdoor activities. For this reason, it is possible for children to study only in the afternoon.
This in turn leads to incomplete study time. Firstly because children are tired after outdoor activities and secondly because in the afternoon it is much harder for children to concentrate. Evenings cannot be very active either, because children get even more tired.
The specifics of time and stress lead to a weakening of the immune system of children. It turns out that the intense combination of sports and learning does not work well for children in the winter. The younger ones get sick and tired, and the older ones often lose concentration. The lack of natural light in the study rooms leads to additional fatigue. Everyone would agree that this is not the purpose of a vacation, be it linguistic.
Another disadvantage of the winter camp is that it leads to uniformity – there are not many outdoor activities that can be carried out at this time of year (skiing, snowboarding and short walks). Due to this fact, children do the same thing every day.
Lack of diversity often leads to apathy and lack of enthusiasm. An alternative is to visit indoor attractions, but this would lead to prolonged stay of the child indoors, which makes meaningless the fact that he came to camp in the mountains.
Another disadvantage of the winter camp is that it can be held only in specific periods of time, which limits the choice of the parent. The shorter winter vacation is given for the children to rest from school. In reality, they cannot rest during this period if they study again.
Our observations from the two winter camps led to the conclusion that winter vacations should be used mainly for sports.
We recommend that children not be actively involved in learning during this period, regardless of the subject. Of course, if the child attends private lessons, they should not be stopped. But a lesson twice a week is incomparable with daily activities within 4 school hours.
Summer language camps are far more rewarding for studying all kinds of subjects by different methods than those at school. The summer vacation is long enough and the children have time to both rest and recharge with new knowledge in a pleasant atmosphere.
The sun, warm weather and a longer day give children more energy and strength. Charged, they can be active both in the morning and in the afternoon and the differences at this time of year in the concentration at different times of the day are minimal.
Although we are often at risk of a viral epidemic (mainly enteroviruses) in the summer, with good hygiene and proper child care (indoors and outdoors), cases can be kept to a minimum.
The summer period is favorable in terms of activities – a wide variety of activities can be offered to all children and for a large age range. Outdoor activities can be alternated from those with heavy workloads to very light activities, but children stay outside much longer than during school hours.
The sports offered in the spring and summer are also much more.
And diversity guarantees that there will be something for everyone:
- horseback riding
- hiking in the mountains
- short educational excursions
- visiting interesting places of cultural value
In the spring and summer, the leading role is fun. In this way, children can learn in the process of playing. In the short winter holidays the attitude of the children is completely different and family oriented. While in the summer everyone is set for new adventures.
In summer (whether at sea or in the mountains) the camps also offer the opportunity for outdoor training – something that is completely impossible in winter.
During these trainings, English classe are combined with activities related to
This further enriches the vocabulary and culture of the children. The new knowledge is not only in different areas, but also in English.
Given the long vacation, parents can afford to send their children to camp for a longer period of time and still have plenty of time to rest. It often happens that the children in the camp alternate two-week vacations with two-week visits to the camp for the whole period of the summer vacation.
When the children’s stay is 14 days or more, the results of learning and consolidating the language are much better and more visible. And if during the winter months a seven-day stay is enough to tire the child, then during the summer months the stay can be extended to 4-6 weeks without affecting his health and immunity.
In conclusion, summer vacation is much more suitable for learning a language or other subject (science, art) than winter vacation.
At the Lucky Kids International Camp, we decided on two types of vacations – spring and summer. The presence of many family holidays in the winter is also beneficial for meetings with close and distant relatives.
We have chosen the bright, warm and exciting weather of spring and summer to entertain our nurseries.