Key Tips for Summer Camp Shopping | #TeachMeTuesday
With the end of school fast approaching, it’s time to start planning for summer. With a two-month break, many parents turn to summer camp to enrich their little learners’ days. Summer camp is a favourite amongst parents as it provides children with stimulation and socialization opportunities along with the obvious – childcare during the working day – all at the same time.
Camp has become more specialized over the years with so many options to choose from over the traditional camps we remember (don’t fret, traditional camps still exist). There are now camps for a variety of niches—sports camps for those who enjoy athletics, artistic camps for children interested in exploring their creative side, and academic camps for students interested in math, science and robotics.
With so many options, how does a parent decide? To help us with this topic, we consulted our friends at OUR KIDS, “Canada’s trusted source for camps.” Their annual OUR KIDS Camp & Program Guide, up to date ourkids.net online directory, and OUR KIDS mobile app offer families easy ways to discover, compare and choose programs that their kids will love.
They advise whether you’re searching for a summer camp for a first-time camper or you’re interested in looking for a different type of camp this year, the first step in finding the right camp for your child is to consider your family’s priorities and write them down to review together. To help parents on the quest to find the right summer camp, OUR KIDS has prepared the following recommendations and tips for parents to consider as they begin their search.
Five Tips for Summer Camp Shopping:
Involve your child in the decision. Get your child to list what’s important to them and what they’d be most interested in at camp. Ask open ended but direct questions and listen to what their hearts are set on.
Research your options well ahead of time. By late winter, camps are already filling up for summer and March Break so be sure you take the time to thoroughly research to ensure everyone is happy with the kind of camp that fits your child’s needs and interests.
Connect with other families. Talk to other parents about where their children have attended camp or when you contact your shortlist of camps, ask if they can connect you with parents of current campers to speak about their experience. How has camp benefitted their child?
Visit camp websites, speak with camp directors and obtain information packages. Gather as much information and insight as you can ahead of time and plan to attend a camp visitor day or book a date to tour their facilities. Bring your child along if possible so that they can get a feel for what the camp is like firsthand and if they would feel comfortable there.
Be honest and upfront with the camp about any special requirements or needs your child may have. Don’t withhold pertinent information, the goal is to ensure their needs are met and they have fun, and all too often camps are more than willing to make accommodations and help however possible.
With checklist in hand, are you ready for summer camp season? For a final piece of advice, OUR KIDS cautions not to be disappointed if one of the camps on your shortlist is full, choose another one and submit your applications earlier next year. According to Erin McLaughlin, Communications Specialist at OUR KIDS, “Remember that a summer camp experience is more than fun and games – it’s a life campus of learning and skill building, and the right camp can make all the difference in your child’s success for the rest of their lives!”
Joanne Sallay is a Director at Teachers on Call, a personalized home tutoring service with more than 25 years of experience. Teachers on Call’s Ontario Certified Teachers specialize in providing one-on-one instruction in all subjects and grades including French Immersion tutoring. For further information about Teachers on Call, please visit: www.teachersoncall.ca
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