The concept of “summer school” is foreign to many Europeans. Many think that kids should relax, have fun and take a complete break from school rather than continuing to study. European national summer school holidays tend to be shorter than those in North America which can last between 2-3 months. In The Netherlands for instance, the school summer vacation lasts six weeks because school holidays are distributed throughout the year.

There’s a big difference between summer school and summer camp. Summer camps tend to be fun, social and revolve around play. They are also often taught by non-teachers. Summer schools tend to be taught by professional teachers and involve active, academic learning. They also integrate pedagogy and the teaching of fundamental concepts.

NewTechKids’ bootcamps are a hybrid: both summer camp and summer school. We build our curriculum around fun and social play but our professional teachers teach fundamental computer science and programming concepts based on our pedagogy.

Cultural differences and attitudes towards summer holidays haven’t stopped the proliferation of summer school programs for kids and teens in The Netherlands. Everything from intensive language courses to virtual project-based learning and pre-university courses are becoming more widely available. Here’s a sampling of programs billing themselves as summer schools:

  • British School in The Netherlands’ English Language Summer School
  • School of Humanity’s summer school which gives¬†high school learners an opportunity to prepare for the evolving workforce, while solving global challenges.
  • University of Amsterdam’s summer school of pre-university courses for high school students 16+

Parents, guardians and caregivers now have a lot to think about. Should I enrol my child in summer camps or summer schools? Will summer school provide advantages? Can summer schools fill the gaps in my child’s education? Do summer schools reinforce inequality in educational opportunities?

Things that make you go ‘hmmm’.

(Photo by RODNAE Productions from Pexels.)