Nikki Currie plays during activity time Friday at the Craig Boys & Girls Club of Craig. Moffat County students and teachers are on a two-week vacation that allows them to take a break from the school routine, children and adults say.

Photo by Hans Hallgren

Nikki Currie plays during activity time Friday at the Craig Boys & Girls Club of Craig. Moffat County students and teachers are on a two-week vacation that allows them to take a break from the school routine, children and adults say.

Students, teachers look forward to winter break

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— First-grader Amanda Moore enjoys school - math class in particular.

But she has her limits.

When asked if she was ready for a break from school, Moore nodded her head emphatically.

Although the two-week Christmas break has its disadvantages, teachers and students benefit from the respite, adults and children say.

The weeks leading up to his vacation were difficult for Reed Chesser, Moffat County High School sophomore.

"I was really tired," he said. "I didn't want to do anything."

A week into the break has changed his disinclination. When school reconvenes Jan. 7, Chesser will be ready, he said.

Students "need time to recuperate and refocus," said Dana Duran, Boys & Girls Club of Craig director.

During the two-week vacation, the club stays open for more than 11 hours a day to accommodate students who don't have adult supervision.

"Some kids are here for most of that" time, Duran said.

Club staff members provide students with activities that there isn't time for during the after-school program - such as baking, relay races and outdoor games.

Most students don't have homework during the break, and few show interest in educational activities during that time, Duran said.

The club follows suit.

Instead of offering educational programs and homework help as they normally do, club staff offers a rotating schedule of activities with the hope that relaxation now will pay off when students return to the classroom.

When the two weeks are over, "I think they'll be ready to go back to school," Duran said.

For some students, Christmas break is a mixed blessing.

These students, especially those with learning difficulties, may struggle returning to school, said Sunset Elementary principal Zack Allen, adding, "A couple weeks away can set them back."

Yet, despite difficulties returning to academics, students need a vacation as much as working adults.

"They're students but they have a job," he said. "Their job is to learn."

Students aren't the only ones who look forward to some time off. Teachers need the time off as much as their students, Allen said.

"A lot of people think teachers have it easy - they have two weeks for Christmas break, spring break and summer," he said. "By and large, teachers put in extra work beyond their eight-hour contract."

Allen estimates that most teachers - especially high-quality ones - put in an average of nine or 10 hours per day, taking extra hours to plan for classes or grade papers.

The vacation benefits teachers in many of the same ways as it does students, enabling them to "take some time off : and get away from the stress of work," Allen said.

Bridget Manley can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 207 or bmanley@craigdailypress.com

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