Advice Column, Child, Education, Tween & Teen

Why kids prefer camp over school

  • Sugar Bay
  • Category Advice Column, Child, Education, Tween & Teen

Camp and school are very similar in that both are learning environments for children. However, the differences between the academic and experiential learning context explains why many children not only prefer camp, but also why they gain more personal growth in the camp environment.

Here are 8 differences between camp & school:

1. Experiential learning method

Learning is practiced on a daily basis at both camp and school. While school is more about textbook learning and studying for exams, camp promotes learning via experiential education. At camp, children get to physically participate in an activity and attain a skill from it. This method of learning seems to be what many children prefer.

2. Informal atmosphere

School provides a formal environment, which children may find intimidating and conformist. Camp, on the other hand, is a very casual environment which allows kids to learn while still having fun and without too much restriction. The quote, “What we learn in fun, we never forget” is all too true for the camp environment.

3. Supervisors are role models

Learners at school are supervised by their teachers with whom they often cannot develop a friendship, nor are they offered any opportunities to do so. At camp, kids are cared for by young adults called camp counselors. These counselors are specifically trained in child psychology, and as young adults with a passion for children they easily become role models and friends to the children in their care.

4. Diverse friendships

Some schools restrict their learners from making friends beyond their age group, and the class barriers often prevent kids from different grades and schools from mixing with one another. Whereas, holiday camps accommodate children from around the world of all ages, of all cultures and races. This exposure to diversity is healthy for children, and it allows kids to make friendships freely and to expand their worldview – all with appropriate supervision.

5. Bullying prevention

Schools have become the prime ground where bullies are born and begin terrorizing other children. The reason for this is probably because teachers are expected to spend more time teaching and performing administrative duties, rather than paying careful attention to their learners and their individual needs. At camp, the counselors supervise the children around the clock which allows them to deal with bullying as it happens and it also allows them to spend quality time with each child to attend to their personal needs. Additionally, many camps have a higher staff to child ratio than schools, which helps to create a bully-free environment.

6. Fostering Independence

Learners at school are controlled by their school rules which promote discipline and order, and understandably so. However, kids also love the freedom to choose, of which there is little opportunity at school. Camp, on the other hand promotes independence and balances this with discipline. Children may choose the clothes they wear, the activities they want to participate in, the friendships they make and the food they eat.

7. Physical activity is promoted

Learners spend most of their school day behind a desk rather than outdoors, which many children find frustrating and uninspiring. At camp, kids are always on the go, out and about, having fun and being active without the distraction of technology. Not to mention that the increased exercise they receive at camp benefits their ability to learn, concentrate and the quality of their sleep.

8. Less anxiety and more stress management

Mention exams and assessments and watch how quickly children develop anxiety. The schooling environment can put a lot of pressure on kids, whether it is peer pressure to do well, or the usual exam stress. Camp is a more anxiety-free environment, and when children to do express their anxiety, they are encouraged to communicate with a counselor and also taught coping mechanisms to help them handle their stress.

Obviously, school cannot be avoided, but the camp environment is a child’s sanctuary when  school closes for the holidays. Together, both school and camp experiences provide many opportunities for a child’s academic and personal growth. Therefore, camp is well worth considering for your child to receive the benefits of both experiential and academic education.

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