An Overview of Summer School
Summer schools operate during summer vacation. Oftentimes the goals are to reinforce concepts learned in weekend schools throughout the year and/or to provide skills training, recreation and continued exposure to learning. It happens frequently that many Muslim parents and leaders see summer school as a way for their children to socialize with other Muslims in a wholesome environment.
It is usually not too difficult to find enough youth to fill the ranks of summer school attendees, for every child has the summer off. The difficulty is, rather, trying to drum up interest in a program that many children may feel will impinge upon the freedom of summer.
With this understanding we can move forward to craft an appealing program that will quickly melt opposition from the young while at the same time winning the admiration of parents who will return their children year after year to the program.
The ideal summer school will run for 4 to 6 weeks. The usual starting date is in mid-July and the ending date is usually around the second or third week of August. This allows the children to have a couple of weeks in July in August where they have no school at all. The wisdom is that after they leave school for the summer in June, within weeks they will be hopelessly bored and will look for that stimulation that can only be provided by large groups of other children. This also allows families time to take vacations. Ending summer school a week or two before regular school resumes allows families to adjust back to their normal schedules.
Many communities offer summer school classes five days a week. In our experience this becomes very difficult. We follow a methodology of three days a week: Monday, Wednesday and Thursday. Remember, when you run a summer school you are not running a boot camp or a regular, full-time operation. The hours of operation that are the most optimal are from 10am to Zuhr prayer time. (Usually around 1pm.)
To begin our program we must have a statement of goals and objectives. A sample is given for you here.
Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem
The goals of our summer school are as follows:
1. To inculcate a greater awareness of Islam in the students.
2. To enable the children to experience a wholesome Muslim environment.
3. To introduce the students to activities and knowledge that will enhance their identity as Muslims and promote academic skills.
4. To provide the parents in the community with an opportunity to participate in wholesome Islamic activities.
5. To provide a continuity of learning that will benefit students as they return to school later in the year.