The Summer Holidays will soon be upon us and for many parents this can be more a cause for concern than a reason to celebrate – namely, what are the kidlets going to doooo all summer?

Stroll-surfing along the internet, I happened upon this rather lovely article:

*‘An Italian teacher has decided to forgo setting the usual holiday homework for his students and has instead given them a list of life advice.

Most schoolchildren in Italy are given school work to complete over the three-month summer holidays, which stretch from mid-June to mid-September. But Cesare Cata, who teaches at a secondary school in the central Le Marche region, wants his students to use their time off for less academic pursuits. “At least once, go and watch the sunrise”, he writes in the 15-point ‘homework’ list, which has since gone viral.  Students are also told to wander beside the sea in the morning “thinking of the things you love in life”, and to dance shamelessly when the mood strikes, because “summer is a dance, and it is foolish not to take part”.

Students are told to dream of what they want their lives to be.

Mr Cata doesn’t want students to forget school completely, though, and urges them to read widely and use all of the new terms they learned in the past year. “The more things you can say, the more things you can think; and the more things you can think, the freer you are,” he says.

More than 3,000 people have shared the teacher’s Facebook post, and hundreds have left positive comments. “I wish I’d had a teacher like you who encourages reflection and introspection,” one person writes. The list seems to have struck a chord with many parents, who say they have shared it with their children. “Homework for life, not just for a season,” one Facebook user says, while another declares: “With a teacher like you, I would go back to school tomorrow!”

For your inspiration and reading pleasure, I’m including an extract of Cesare’s ‘homework’ – you’re to keep in mind that this is a very rough translation!

“1. In the morning, sometimes go to walk by the sea in total solitude: look how the sun is reflected and, thinking about the things you love most in life, feel happier.”

  1. Try to use all the new terms learned together this year: more things you can say, the more things you can think of; and more things you can think of, most are free.
  2. Read as much as you can. But not because you have to. Read why summer inspires dreams and adventures, and reading you feel like swallows in flight. Read why it is the best form of revolt to have (for suggested reading, ask me).
  3. Avoid all things, situations and people that make you negative or empty: Look for challenging situations and the company of friends that will enrich you, understand and appreciate you for who you are.
  4. If you feel sad or scared, do not worry: the summer, as with all the wonderful things, tries to make trouble the soul. Try to write a diary to tell your state (in September, if you like, we will read together).
  5. Dance. Shameless. On the track under the box, or in your room. Summer is a dance, and it is foolish not to take part.
  6. At least once, go see the sunrise. Remain silent and breathe. Close your eyes, grateful.”

When I think of all my homespun philosophies I bandy about at the water cooler, I admit to being a little embarrassed – this advice is really inspirational. Never mind the school children, I think I’ll be practising some of these ideas myself.

*from an article at the BBC – News from Elsewhere