Ask The Experts: What Should YOUR Kids Be Doing This Summer?

We ask the UAE's education experts what their children did/do during the summer holidays and what yours should be doing too!
Ask The Experts: What Should YOUR Kids Be Doing This Summer?
By C Hoppe
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As we enter August, its likely most UAE parents have exhausted their entertainment options, and enthusiasm for the summer holidays is beginning to seriously flag...

To help with ideas, thought we'd ask some of the UAE's top educators, how they entertained their kids through the long summers and for some ideas on what you should be doing with yours...

We asked, Jumeirah College's, Simon O'Connor, Chis McDermott, principal at Oaktree Primary School, Brendon Fulton, principal at Dubai British School (DBS), John Nolan, principal at Sharjah English School and Matthew Burfield, principal at GEMS Founders,

"If you have school age children what will your kids be doing through the holidays?/What do you think children should ideally be doing through the summer holidays?"

And, here's what they said...

Simon O’Connor: I think the most important thing that children should be doing is taking a break. Schools have changed hugely over the last twenty years, and the pressure on students now is significant. As a result, they work very hard and do get very tired.

School work is not everything, and the long break is an opportunity for children to unwind, see friends, travel and relax. This will help them be ready for the challenges of the next academic year.


John Nolan: I do think, in general, gaining a sense of place and rootedness to a location is very important - whether that is in the 'home' country or elsewhere. 

For senior students, the opportunity to visit and explore possible university venues or campuses makes a huge difference to motivation, a sense of having a goal, and to the appreciation that there is a big and different world after school, which they should be seeking and embracing rather than fearing.


Chris McDermott: My children are all adults now, but, of course, they did have the long Summer breaks back in England, as all children do. We had a girl and then two boys; as my wife and I were both teachers, we were in the fortunate position of being able to do things with them for much of the Summer when they were young but, of course, they were also entertained by Summer camps and visits to their friends’ homes. Stereotypically, the boys, Nicholas and Ben, spent many hours playing football, as I did as a boy, whilst Hannah seemed to spend hours organising her friends – she is now a Senior Teacher in Melbourne, Australia, so maybe her Summer holidays helped to prepare her for this!

Ideally, children should be as active and creative as possible.  The adults that I know who are the happiest, have lots on interests and love life itself because they love what they do.

Children should be developing these passions, which will stand them in good stead as they grow older.

Whether it is painting, playing chess, cooking or making up riddles to tease their parents with, it does not matter. What matters is that they are given time, encouragement and the opportunity to discover those passions so that they can nurture them for themselves as they grow older.


Matthew Burfield: We use the summer holidays particularly for my daughter to reconnect with family who live outside of the UAE. She has the chance to go and see grandparents, aunties, uncles and cousins so that she can have those important times with family.

I think this is something all children who live away from the family should be able to do.

It is important to consider the working lives of parents and that the summer holidays from schools are not holidays for many parents. This is why camps/activities and other organised approaches give parents the chance to ensure their children are safe and having fun as they continue to work.


Brendon Fulton: We have 3 kids and they will be holidaying abroad with us for most of the holiday. To me, this is the ideal benefit of a holiday – for families to spend quality time together, perhaps with extended family or exploring new countries / having new adventures.

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