Many parents send their children to summer camp for their children for the social and psychological benefits such as better social skills and more confidence. Unless you send your child to a camp that focuses on academics, such as a science camp or writing retreat, you may not think about the ways that summer camp can complement your child's traditional education. However, there are several ways that a traditional summer camp can help improve your child's education. Knowing how summer camp for kids and traditional school work together can help prepare your child to use the skills they learn at summer camp when they return to school.
The Experiential Learning Cycle
Experiential learning consists of four steps: experience, reflection, conceptualization, and testing. In a traditional school setting, your child will mostly focus on reflection and conceptualization. Most of their education will be through reading about things, discussing them, and completing projects about them. However, they will only occasionally get to experience these things first hand.
Summer camp is filled with new experiences, but there is not always a lot of time for reflection and testing of theories. Your child may experience basic physics on a high-ropes course or archery range. They may get an introduction to astronomy during a night of star gazing. They may experience math by dividing food during a cook out. Having these real life experiences may make it easier for your child to understand abstract concepts when they learn about them in school.
As a parent, you can help connect your child's summer experiences with their school lessons. When you are helping your child with their homework or discussing an upcoming project with them you should remind them about their experiences at summer camp and help teach them how to make connections between their everyday life and their education.
Creating Stronger Interests
If your child has a personal interest in their academic subjects, it is much more likely that they will apply themselves to their studies at home and in the classroom. Summer camp can be a great place to develop those personal interests.
On a nature hike, your child may take an interest in biology or botany. During crafts, your child might enjoy learning to paint or create pottery. Using outdoor skills, your child may learn they love creating their own primitive tools. Each of these experiences can be used to strengthen an interest in science, art, and history.
To help make the transition from the summer camp activity to an interest in educational topics you should take your child to the library or look online for age-appropriate academic resources that relate to their most positive camp experiences. You should continue to encourage their personal interest until they begin covering that particular topic at school.
Develop the Confidence to Question
Although self-confidence may be thought of as a social and psychological benefit, it can also help your child in an academic situation. At camp, your child will be encouraged to ask questions. They will learn to interact with both children and adults in an assertive, cooperative manner. This may help your child feel more comfortable raising their hand and asking questions at school, especially if they are usually shy.
Learning life skills at summer camp can inspire your child to take accountability for their own education, which may mean studying harder as well as demanding more thorough explanations and meaningful work from their teachers.
Summer camp can be a fun and relaxing experience for your child, but it can also be a life-changing experience that can make your child more enthusiastic about learning and better able to access their own education. As a parent, you should be prepared to gently encourage the academic benefits of your child's camp experience.