Four day school week benefits students


Comic by Paige Collins

Prowler staff

Decreasing the school week from five days to four is not a ‘want’ for students, rather it is a practical ‘need’. Students’ lives outside of school should not be pushed into only two out of the seven days of the week

Every student has felt it. After a long week, it’s finally time to relax on Friday. In the blink of an eye, it’s already dinner time on Saturday. Oh no… a feeling of dread overwhelms the student as the sun lowers on Sunday night and last-minute homework frantically gets submitted.

A three-day weekend allows for a life outside of school walls, a change which has proven beneficial as institutions across the country, including growing rates of Colorado and Idaho school districts, change their policies. 

Sports, extracurriculars, jobs and schoolwork take up time during the week and bleed into the weekend. Teenagers may have an especially hard time finding a sense of self if not provided with time to explore different hobbies, talk with family or simply reflect. With a healthier work-life balance, students can develop as people, not just as test-takers. 

Humans are not designed to focus on a sustained activity for five days. Our attention span doesn’t even reach the one-hour mark. Thus, it is only natural for our brains to experience fatigue or burnout when in school for seven hours, five days in a row. 

According to the 2018 New York Times article “A 4-Day Workweek? A Test Run Shows a Surprising Result”, a New Zealand firm noticed a slump in their employees and made the change. Their employees reported a “24 percent improvement in work-life balance, and [returning] to work energized after their days off.” 

These mental breaks are necessary to avoid burnout, which the Mayo Clinic defines as, “a state of physical or emotional exhaustion that also involves a sense of reduced accomplishment and loss of personal identity.” 

Students should not feel like their education is dragging them through their childhood and adolescence. It is hard not to feel as if school dictates one’s life when it takes the majority of a student’s time. By switching to a four-day school week, students would be able to take mental breaks from school stress, allowing them to focus on their personal life. 

While some people may worry about finding daycare for younger children, there are programs that support families when parents may work full time or cannot afford a professional nanny. The Goddard School works directly with Walkers Grove Elementary, walking children to and from the school and the facility each day.

Schools could also include their education classes in these programs. While North does offer Tiger preschool, an opportunity for students to teach children, there is no resource for after school care available.  Since teenagers  get out of school before the younger students, those enrolled in the child development class could meet the children after school. This would benefit both the families in need as well as giving older students a job.

 Another option is to make babysitting a club with volunteer hour opportunities. North’s KEY Club volunteers could get service hours, helping in a variety of ways. Creating a babysitting club where students can watch over children after school for service hours could benefit everyone involved. Children who need care can receive it. Students who may not be able fit the child development class in their schedule are still able to gain experience. They also can acquire service hours, which always looks good on a college application. 

People deserve to enjoy their childhood and teenage years not just as students, but as human beings. Personal identity is built through experiences, which cannot be squeezed into two days. By changing the school week to only four days, students would gain valuable life skills and become more well-rounded people, which in turn, prepares them for what awaits in life.