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And most importantly, they were more focused during lessons. At first, I was convinced that I had made a groundbreaking discovery: frequent breaks kept students fresh throughout the day. In my quest to understand the value of the Finnish practice, I stumbled upon the work of Anthony Pellegrini—author of Recess: Its Role in Education and Development and emeritus professor of educational psychology at the University of Minnesota—who has praised this approach for more than a decade. In East Asia—where most primary schools give their students a minute break after 40 minutes or so of classroom instruction—Pellegrini observed the same phenomenon that I had witnessed at my Finnish school.

After these shorter recesses, students appeared to be more attentive in the classroom. Not satisfied with anecdotal evidence alone, Pellegrini and his colleagues ran a series of experiments at a public elementary school to explore the relationship between recess timing and attentiveness in the classroom. In every one of the experiments, students were more attentive after a break than before a break.

Benefits of Year-Round School in the U.S.

They also found that the children were less attentive when the timing of the break was delayed—or in other words, when the lesson dragged on. In Finland, primary school teachers seem to know this intuitively.

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They send kids outside—rain or shine—for their frequent recesses. And the children get to decide how they spend their break times. School buildings unused in the summer are wasted resources.

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Short breaks provide time for students to receive enrichment education. Remediation can occur when it is most needed during the school year. Students get bored during the long break of summer.

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It gives families more options for scheduling vacations, rather than restricting travel to summertime. Other countries around the world use this system. Schools on year-round schedules can accommodate more students through multitracking. Studies have not conclusively proven the academic benefits. Students forget information just as easily with a three-week break as Therefore, teachers on a year-round system end up with four periods of review instead of just one at a new school year. Summer programs such as youth camps suffer.

Student summer employment becomes virtually impossible. Many older school buildings do not have air conditioning, making a year-round schedule impractical.


Band and other extracurricular programs can run into problems scheduling practices and competitions, which often take place during the summer months. With multitracking, parents could have students at the same school on different schedules. Continue Reading.

ThoughtCo uses cookies to provide you with a great user experience. Year-round schools are on the rise.

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According to a recent report by the Congressional Research Service, the number of year-round schools has increased by — about 26 percent — since Most of these schools typically operate on a multi-track or a single-track schedule. To mitigate overcrowding, multi-track schools split students and teachers into three or four groups. So while some students and teachers are in school, others are on vacation. Single-track schedules, on the other hand, include shorter summers and extra vacation days during the school year.

Additionally, everyone is in school at the same time.

This year, multiple schools adopted year-round schedules to hopefully help them improve academically. For instance, four schools in Charlotte, now have year-round schedules, and an elementary school in Portland, Oregon, switched as well. Some schools are even receiving extra funding if they implement year-round calendars.