At one time, enrollment in elementary summer school classes had a bit of a stigma attached to it. The only reason an elementary school student would attend summer classes was because of an academic deficiency during the regular school year. A student enrolled in elementary summer school must have received a failing grade in a vital subject or had disciplinary issues or excessive unexcused absences. In recent years, however, many school systems have introduced summer enrichment programs designed to provide students with alternative or advanced courses not always offered during the regular school year.
There is little doubt that an elementary school student eagerly anticipates the final day of the regular school year. The promise of an extended break from early wake-up calls and hours of classes does have its own appeal. However, there are some students who become bored after a few weeks of vacation and actually enjoy the structure and intellectual stimulation of a classroom. If a child fits that description, then enrollment in an elementary summer school program may be just as beneficial as attending a summer camp or spending time at home. A child who wants to attend enrichment classes during the summer break should be encouraged to do so, if at all possible.
Other elementary school children, however, may need an extended summer break in order to rest up for the challenges of a new school year. The idea of spending more time in a classroom during the hottest season of the year may hold very little appeal. Unless the session is remedial in nature, elementary summer school attendance is rarely mandatory for any student. Participating in a summer camping program or other structured activity could prove more beneficial to a child's mental and physical well-being than enrolling in elementary summer school sessions.
Logistics may be another consideration for parents. The school system may not provide bus service during summer months, so a parent or guardian would have to provide regular transportation to and from the summer school sessions. Elementary summer school sessions are not always as lengthy as regular school sessions, so a parent may choose to remain close to the school after a drop-off instead of making two separate trips to and from home. For some parents, this is a small sacrifice to make for a child's education or enrichment, but others may find it challenging to work out a transportation schedule.
Some children who are progressing to a middle or junior high school could benefit from remedial or advanced classes offered during elementary summer school sessions. Deficiencies in core courses such as English, reading or math can be addressed in a familiar environment before the student becomes overwhelmed or intimidated by a new one. An elementary school student who needs remedial help may not embrace the idea of elementary summer school, but at least parents can be assured their child is being taught by professional instructors in a structured educational environment.