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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Summer Camp | Advice for Parents

With school coming to a close, many parents are trying to figure out what to do with their kids for summer so I thought I would put together some things to question and consider when choosing a summer camp for your child to attend.

When considering a summer camp to send your child to the first thing you need to consider is what type of camp will they go to. Will they attend a specialty camp that will help further develop their hobbies such as dance camp, football camp, etc? If so, are those camps in session all summer or for only a few weeks? Or will they go to a childcare camp that lasts all summer long?

Once you decide on the type of camp, interview the camp/childcare director. Ask them for their most recent state licensing inspection (they are required to have it displayed). Read it and find out if they had any write ups or incidents that occurred in their last inspection. This is a great way to know if they were caught being out of ratio (although some places are always out of ratio but magically become in ratio when a licensing rep shows up so keep that in mind).

Speaking of ratio, ask what their teacher-child ratio is. In the state of Texas, Minimum Standards have a ratio of 1 teacher to 26 school aged (6-13) children. Field Trips the ratio drops to 1 teacher to 12 children but that still is a lot for one adult to handle especially out in public. 

Tip: As a parent, make it your job to know the state ratio policy of the classroom or camp your child is in so you can always make sure whoever is taking care of your child is in ratio, if they are not report it to management immediately. If the problem persist, notify the state licensing rep (their info should be located on the licensing report).

So how do they keep the children accounted for? What procedures do they follow to ensure a child doesn't get lost?

Tip: Be sure your child knows the name of their summer camp teacher/counselor. As a summer camp counselor, I always went down the line and asked each child what my name was and if they didn't know it I would tell them and make them repeat it back to me. I would also do the same for them to ensure I knew their name!

I hope these tips were helpful and informative for you all (you can also look further into Texas State Minimum Standards here). Next week I will be giving more summer camp advice for directors and summer camp staff so stay tuned!

What is the first thing you look for when choosing a camp for your child to attend?
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