Elementary school bans homework, encourages more family time instead

MONTREAL, Canada (WSVN) — A school in Canada has decided to ban homework in order to give students more time with their families.

Michael Brown, the principal of Elizabeth Ballantyne Elementary School in Montreal, told CTV News that the change was made because students should not have to spend all day at school working, only to have hours of after-school work to complete as well.

He said that, first and foremost, the kids should be able to spend time with their families and friends, playing and just “being children.”

“The best kind of homework is eating healthy, getting a good night’s sleep and being ready for the next day of school,” Brown said to CBC News, noting the students will still have assignments, but they will be done in class rather than sent home each night.

Other schools in Canada have also instituted similar homework bans, citing research that found homework has little to no benefit for children through sixth grade. The study found homework can also be a source of stress and “burnout” in children.

“I hear the term ‘student burnout’ and those are two words, in my mind, that should not be together,” Brown said. “So where is the time? When does a child get to be a child? When does a child just get to shut down and go play?”

The reaction at the school has been mostly positive, but not every parent agrees with the plan. Lori Press’s son Riley is in second grade at the school, telling reporters she is “on the fence” about the homework ban. She argues that homework helps children learn study skills.

“Once they get into high school, it’s not the same thing. They’re going to have homework; they’re going to have to learn to study. They’re going to have to get that routine going,” Press told CBC.

Brown says the school’s standards have not changed, and parents are encouraged to read with their children at home.

While it is too early to determine the impact of the homework ban, Brown said staff have noticed a “calmer vibe” in the school since the new policy was put in place.

Copyright 2018 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.