Summer Camp

Summer Camp Programs for Children

20 March 2024
Posted by: Chelsea

Many of us have fond memories of summer camps of one form or another.

Yet what role do they have to play in terms of childhood development and at what age can they start? These questions are often asked in the context of early learning child care.

Early learning childcare and summer camps

Over the past couple of decades, summer camps for children have become increasingly popular, seemingly importing the ideas that were previously more commonly found in US TV series or films etc.

The majority of those in Australia are typically aimed at children and teenagers in the age range 8-18 but some will accept children as young as five on their programs.

In truth, summer camps for younger children are more about having fun than early learning childcare specifically but of course, one can’t entirely separate the two and at younger ages, shouldn’t even try to!

They can be great fun and inevitably educational. Most will be countryside-based and involve sports, getting wet plus running around and making a lot of unrestricted noise. Many children benefit hugely from the experience and they’ll also learn a lot about themselves and engaging with others around them.

Selecting with care

Parents will naturally be concerned about passing their children into the care of someone else at whatever age their kids are but particularly so if they’re in their pre or early school years.

It’s imperative to be sure that your summer camp provider is fully qualified and officially registered, with a verifiable track record of safely running such camps. Be clear also as to their emergency capabilities to cope with medical emergencies and the requirements for more basic first-aid.

What is the minimum age?

There is no easy answer to this question.

Although some camps will accept children as young as five, that doesn’t necessarily mean that all 5-year-olds are sufficiently mature enough to cope with parental separation and a more collective lifestyle.

This will be very much a case of individual parental judgment, although your existing daycare centre may be able to offer some useful input by way of their observations of your child’s behaviours in class.

Avoid over persuasion

If summer camp is your child’s first significant period away from the parental home, then a degree of trepidation on their part is predictable and perfectly normal. Some may be keen to go but then become markedly less so as reality approaches, while others may depart without a seeming care in the world.

However, most early learning childcare experts agree that forcing a separation on your child before they’re fully ready is not advisable. In other words, if your child really doesn’t want to go, then don’t force or overly pressurise them to do so.

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