Updated: May 15
Photo by RODNAE Productions
By Lee Scott, Chair of the Educational Advisory Board at The Goddard School
It’s summer camp planning time, and many parents are exploring their options. As an extension of the school year, summer camp is an important way to keep children engaged, learning, and active. In fact, about 14 million children attend summer camps across the United States each year. These programs ensure children experience a memorable summer full of fun and development while giving parents an ongoing childcare option and peace of mind knowing they’re happy and safe.
So, what should parents look for when evaluating summer camps?
Each child and family are different, and it’s important to keep in mind that while one camp or program may work for one family, it may not be the right choice for another. When choosing a summer learning program, caregivers should consider factors such as teacher-student ratios, STEAM curriculum, and health and safety protocols, as well as the types of planned activities and how they relate to a child’s interests.
Once parents pick the right summer camp to best meet their needs, it’s time for the fun to begin! Summer learning programs, specifically those that provide structured play environments, help children foster creativity, peer engagement, social-emotional development and maintain a sense of routine. Here are a few reasons why summer learning programs can be beneficial for young children.
Improves Social Skills. Young children learn a great deal in social interactions. Socialization impacts problem-solving skills, language development, communication skills, self-regulation skills, and many more. Through dramatic play alongside and with others, children develop interpersonal relationships and learn about the world around them.
Creates Routines. Routines are a parent’s best friend when working with children on adapting and adjusting to new situations. When a child knows the routine in a household or a classroom, they feel safe, confident, and ready to explore and create. Structured summer learning environments help keep a child’s routine throughout the summer, making it easier when back-to-school time arrives.
Builds Friendships. Summer camps are a perfect environment for kids to build lasting friendships. Whether it be through games, free time, or team-building exercises, children will develop friendships they will cherish for a long time.
Promotes Cognitive Development. Language development begins at birth, and the early stages of connecting with others start long before little ones can speak. Recent research shows that infants’ and toddlers’ brains are more advanced than many think - they can reason, draw conclusions and read emotions on faces, for example. Summer programs are language-rich environments that can support children’s cognitive and language development.
Supports a Child’s Health Benefits. Summer programs include a significant amount of playful outdoor learning. These exploratory activities in outdoor play support gross motor skills (balance, coordination, and agility) and impact muscle strength and heart health. Children will also have opportunities to develop their senses of sight, hearing, touch and smell through discovering nature.
The benefits of summer camp can truly last a lifetime. Not only will children strengthen their developmental and social-emotional skills, but they will also make new friends, gain valuable skills, engage their five senses, and create happy memories.
Summer with Goddard is an exciting summer program for parents to consider, filled with lots of outdoor play and fun learning experiences. Just like all of Goddard’s early childhood education programs, summer activities are designed to help children acquire new skills, build confidence and reflect on how they can make an impact on their world every day. To find a Goddard summer camp near you, visit https://www.goddardschool.com/summer-with-goddard to learn more.