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Preparing your child for summer camp

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What type of camp will my child enjoy most – traditional or focused?

Traditional camps offer a mixture of arts, crafts, games and sporting activities. Increasingly, however, providers are offering summer camps that include specialization in specific sports, cookery, and STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).

Does the camp have a guiding philosophy?

Reputable camps should have policies for issues such as safety, sanitation (increasingly important since the Covid pandemic), and dealing with disruptive behavior. In addition, many kids camps will have a guiding philosophy or clear values on issues such as kindness, teamwork, and respect for other cultures.

What sort of teacher-student ratio is reasonable?

Many established camps employ teachers with specialized knowledge (eg in a particular scientific discipline) and who have English as their native language.

How do I prepare my child psychologically for camp?

Talking to them in advance about what the camp will entail – interesting topics, games, recreational activities, making new friends – can help to settle nerves.

Should I do a test run?

If kids get anxious about new experiences or joining new groups, it can help to do a test run for camp by arranging a drop-off playdate or activity with friends in an unfamiliar environment.

What should I pack for camp?

Most camps will expect children to bring a daypack packed with a reusable water bottle; helping kids pack their bag, maybe even including a few small memories of home, can reassure them. It really helps to label everything your child takes, especially in light of Covid precautions.

Should I force my child to join a camp?

Kids are often uncertain about new experiences and so may not be keen to try a camp for the first time. But after one or two days at camp this anxiety normally disappears, and children are too busy having fun to worry about anything else.

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