By Mrs. Queenie Johsnon, M.A
Summer camp is an awesome time for kids to meet new friends, gain confidence and engage in new and exciting learning experiences. But, choosing one for your child is not easy. I am a big advocate for summer camp especially since I own one, but choosing one is not easy, especially since nowadays there are so many to choose from. Here are some things to think about and questions to ask, when choosing a summer camp for your child.
Think about the type of experiences and skills you want your child to develop this summer.
Many parents forget to think about the type of experiences that they would like for their child to have. But, summer camp is a great time to expand your child’s thinking, social skills, world knowledge, independence and self esteem. Don’t simply choose a summer camp out of convenience, choose one because of the impact that it will have on your child’s overall social, academic and personal development. Below is the abbreviated list of the Secretary’s Commission on Achieving Necessary skills; these are known as SCAN Skills. SCAN skills have been identified as necessary and critical for children to develop, so that they will thrive in an ever changing and complex world.
· Basic Skills: Reads, writes, performs arithmetic and mathematical operations, listens and speaks
· Personal Qualities: Displays responsibility, self-esteem, sociability, self-management, and integrity and honesty
· Thinking Skills: Thinks creatively, makes decisions, solves problems, visualizes, knows how to learn, and reasons
Five Workplace Competencies
· Resources: Identifies, organizes, plans, and allocates resources
· Interpersonal: Works with others
· Information: Acquires and uses information
· Systems: Understands complex inter-relationships
· Technology: Works with a variety of technologies
Look at the list above and think about 2 or 3 skills that you want to work on with your child this summer. Then, choose a camp whose curriculum matches with your child’s needs.
Ask yourself, “Where is the camp located, and what type of facility is the camp hosted in?”
Each summer camp is located in a unique location. Nowadays, you can find a summer camps hosted in art studios, at the beach, schools, ranches, and museums. Think about this when choosing a summer camp. Has your child ever been to an art studio? If not, this summer would be a great time for you to give your child that experience. I’m certain that they will love it.
What level of engagement will my child experience?
After you read each of the summer camp descriptions think about and ask yourself this question. What level of engagement will my child have if he or she attends this camp? Why is this question important? Simply stated, some camps are glorified babysitting. You want your child’s summer to be filled with wonder, intrigue and creativity not with someone putting them in front of a movie, or a quick arts and crafts activity. What you really want to know is what will my child do at the camp? Who will be working with them? What will they learn, or produce at the camp? What is the ratio of campers to camp counselors? These are important questions to ask when deciding on the type of camp you will send your child to.
Decide with your child about the summer camp they are going to attend?
If you have a younger child, choosing two or three camps that you feel comfortable with and then asking your child to pick one from the group is the best strategy. I would sit with them and go over the brochure or look at each website together. Tell them about the skills that you want them to work on. I will say that again; tell them about the skills that you want them to work on. Children are thoughtful enough to make decisions based on what they need. But, if you don’t tell them what they are working on your child will make an arbitrary decision based on the look of the website, or maybe the name of the camp. Empower your child to be a decision maker who thinks things through and carefully arrives at a decision. Remember, sitting with your child, and collectively making a decision about summer camp is such a powerful experience for not only you, but for your child as well. When children choose, they have buy-in, personal ownership and are inherently motivated to pursue the goal that they have set for themselves.
Queenie Johnson, is an educator and the owner of Distinguished Learning Group, LLC. She empowers children to develop their creative power, through academic tutoring and curious minds workshops. Each year she host Design N’ Innovation Science and Technology Summer Camp. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can find more information on her website: www.distinguishedlearninggroup.com
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