Getting smart about summer camp options
Summer camps with educational elements — such as fields trips of lessons about the environment — have been around for years.
But recently, there has been a surge in camps that are academic programs in their own right.
These camps are not to be confused with summer schools — they are summer camps for kids, which parents would recognize from their own childhood.
But they have a distinctive academic edge, combining traditional outdoor activities with educational programs designed to fit children’s year-round curriculums.
Camp providers know there is no such thing as the typical child — which is why they offer a wide range of options for academic summer camps. Everything from day and resident camps are available, to multi-day or multi-week stays.
Some academic camps charge fees, some are free. Some camps are run by schools, so the relationship between camp and academic activity is formal and measured.
In other cases, camps simply match their local state’s educational standards in what they offer.
Some academic camps can fill in gaps left by year-round education.
Camps teach specifically to academic subjects, some prepare children for SAT tests, others prepare children for kindergarten or, for older children, focus on leadership skills.
Camps focus on improving learning techniques or teaching kids how to stay focused on a subject they find dull or unappealing.
But the time to act is now. In a globalized world, as American parents understand the need for a high standard of basic education, demand for places at academic camps has risen sharply.
Wait lists are common, and now is the time to act to avoid disappointment.
Among the best websites for further information are www.howtolearn.com and www.camp.findthebest.com.
Local and state listings for academic camps are found on the website of the American Camp Association: www.acacamps.org.