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12 things to know about summer camp before sending your child

12 things to know about summer camp before sending your child

Before sending your child to summer camp, keep these tips in mind. From making sure which company organizes it to what activities your child can do ... 12 questions you should ask yourself when choosing the best summer camp for your son.

1. Who is the organizing company?

It is the first aspect that must be studied well. Who organizes the colonies, whether they are with overnight stays or if they are summer / Easter schools. It is important to make sure that the company has a dense proven experience and that you can see the opinions of other users who have attended these colonies.

2. What are your priorities, their philosophy, the goals they set with the children, etc.

They should be clearly visible on the web or explained in a briefing. It seems obvious, but you have to make sure what is the final pedagogical objective that they have with this colony; but, above all, what things are they going to prioritize to reach that goal.

3. What kind of staff do they have and what is your selection process.

- Parents should check if it is an entity that works or carries out activities throughout the year. It is the best way to ensure that staff are trustworthy as they will be educators who know how to work with children. In many cases there are companies that hire only for the summer campaigns and even if they do a selection and training, you never know a person well until you have seen them work for years, or at least months. It is also important that they have a specific degree. It is not enough to "... like children."

- You also have to find out how many children each educator will take. If it is the first time they leave home and between 3 and 7 years old, it should not exceed 6 to 8 children per educator, to ensure that they can have individualized treatment and care.

- We must make sure how many people are responsible and how many professionals without having groups (coordinators, logistics coordinators, animators, support educators, health workers, etc.) This is essential, since, in many places, the educators themselves are in charge of perform other competencies in addition to taking care of children and in this type of camp, educators should be there 24 hours a day. to the care and attention of the group.

- It is also important that there is that extra staff in case there is any eventuality or urgency to attend, that the children are never left unattended. This extra staff will make this type of colony more expensive, but it will be one of the things that will ensure that this first experience is positive.

4. Should you be able to have contact with children?

It is better that you cannot talk to or see them during the camp, especially in the first outings from the family environment. We have found that it is always counterproductive for their integration, because they are adapting to a new challenge of "survival" without their parents. For this reason we advise you to look at how you can find out how they are having it. For example, a helpline at a time where you can talk to someone in charge and tell you, a video-blog or form that from time to time you see what they do, but without them seeing you.

5. How can you guarantee the safety of your children?

Some aspects to take into account and that can give you peace of mind in that regard, are for example, if the enclosure is fully fenced, if it is not excessively large where they can be lost, if the pool is fully fenced with a non-scalable fence, if not there are dangerous areas of cliffs, different heights of slopes, how deep is the pool, how many educators watch the children at bath time, if they have animals, what kind of animals they are or if they ride pony, are in a closed riding arena or Ferris wheel, where if the educator escapes, the child would not run any risk.

In the event that it is without overnight stay and they go by bus every day, what type of measure or control do they have to deliver the child to the authorized person? They should have some kind of control in which they assure you that, even if you arrive late to the stop, even if you cannot pick it up that day, or in the event of any unforeseen event, you are guaranteed an exhaustive control over the delivery and collection of children.

6. What type of health protocol do you carry out in each case?

- Is there any type of health personnel 24 hours a day? What type of technical means are available in your infirmary? Although it seems exaggerated, it does not hurt to have a resuscitation equipment, defibrillator and emergency supplies such as Guedel cannulas, etc. as well as specific training for it.

- But the most important thing is to know what to do if they get sick, have a stroke, fever, a fall, etc. They should have the means to make some first cures; In the event that there is a possible risk of fracture or disease, to be able to take them to the nearest clinic so that a doctor can assess what to do. Ask from this moment what they do; Since, as parents, you are fully entitled to be informed of what the doctor has told you and you must authorize the doctor's instructions; The center can never skip you and make that decision for you, so you should be called to inform and you will be the ones who decide what to do. We say this because some sites see "normal" not to notify parents and do what the doctor says. Take a good look at the authorizations you sign and if this doesn't put it, add it.

- In case the need arises, it is important to know how far from the center is the closest clinic.

- Also find out if they have the possibility of adapting the menus in case of allergy or the need for a soft diet. A good piece of information is to know if they are registered in associations where food intolerances are medically controlled, such as Acecova, in the case of celiacs.

7. How individualized and specialized is the treatment with children?

The more homogeneous the ages of their group, the easier it is for the educator to adapt to the rhythm of the group, and therefore there is a more specialized treatment; On the other hand, the less they mix in the colonies with ages from 9 years old the better, since from those ages they will have other types of needs and motivations.

For this reason, if your child is the first time he / she leaves the colonies, it would also be good to ask how many of the children who are going to go to these colonies, it is also the first time they go and what age they are. That will give you an idea of ​​the specialization of the organizing entity.

8. How do you ensure fun for your children?

At these ages, what most attracts their attention are the stories and fantasy characters, so the more means they have to be able to make animations of characters with settings in their facilities, the more predisposition there will be to guaranteed fun.

Another very important aspect in this regard is the rhythm of activities; from 3 to 9 years old they tire very quickly from each activity so they should have a schedule with many activities, but not too long, since, if they do few and have moments of inactivity, that is when some could have moments of longing of the potatoes and consequently not adapt well.

9. At what age is it better to let him sleep or go back and forth with the bus?

The options are very different, the first is a very enriching experience for your maturation process and you will undoubtedly make a lot of maturation progress, being an emotional memory that you will remember all your life. The fact that they can realize that they can "survive" a few days without the family environment will help them develop their self-esteem and autonomy in many aspects. In our experience, if the environment is safe and gives you guarantees as soon as possible, try the best experience, even from 3, 4 years. Some of the children who find it most difficult to adapt at the beginning are those of 8 or 9 years old who have never left the family environment. If you still do not see it fully prepared for it, a first experience can be a summer school in which they go and return every day. The pedagogical objectives will be more long-term, but will also enrich them.

10. How are the facilities where do the children sleep?

One of the most important aspects of the colonies if your child is going to stay to sleep for the first time away from home, is where they will spend the night, since the fact that they have a bad night because they do not feel comfortable or emotionally safe It can be a determining factor so that, the next day, because you do not want to have that bad experience again, you want to go home no matter how well you are having it. Several aspects must be taken into account; That he sleeps very close to his monitor and that he is with him / her until he falls asleep, that in his bed he is as close as possible to other children (joint tent-type beds are ideal for this), that the toilets are in the same room and they do not have to go outside if they have to go to the bathroom at night; Another important aspect is that the other people in charge of the camp, such as coordinators, health workers, etc., sleep nearby. that the monitor can turn to if it has a problem.

11. What do you do if your / or daughter / or if she does not adapt?

Do you have any kind of experience in this regard? Although there are few cases that occur, you have to be prepared for it and know what the organizing entity does, since they must transmit total transparency to you in this regard to ensure that in that case they would notify you and it would be you who would make the decision to keep it. / some time more or finish the colony before its completion. A child who is not comfortable should never be forced to stay in the colony, since a brief but positive experience will positively influence their development, but a bad experience could condition other future exits from the family environment. We must never lose sight of the fact that the final objective of the colony should be that positive experience for their emotional development.

12. Is a language camp better?

In recent times the offer of camps or colonies in English has grown a lot. If it is the first time you are going out of the house and especially if it is staying to sleep, a total immersion camp may not be the best first experience, since the language can be an aspect that influences your adaptation; although it can be positive that multi-language experiences are carried out to motivate them towards later learning the language. It is better to ensure that the first experience is positive so that later you can continue looking for other more specific types of outings.

Coordination team of the summer camps of the aDAI Park ADAI Park -

ADAI project for child development and learning.

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