Parents worry about agreeing to their children going on camp – letting them out of their sight and putting trust in the teachers.
But do trust that the teachers really care and the children benefit and grow in independence, resilience and confidence.
Being away from home (even under the watchful eye of the teachers) can be a real rite of passage for the primary student.
So please let them go!
A school camp may be the first time many children are away from home. This is a big achievement which can build children’s self-confidence.
Self-confidence, self-confidence, self-confidence
We can’t stress too much what a wonderful opportunity school camps are for children to come back home walking taller. Apart from having faced the time away from the family, many of the activities organised at school camps are deliberately orchestrated to build children’s self-confidence.
Activities are generally not pitting children against each other but giving children opportunities to learn new and exciting skills where everyone can taste success.
Team work skills
Many camp activities require children to work in teams where they need to rely on each other. This can often lead to children learning the importance of pulling their weight.
Later in life, these ‘soft’ skills are much prized and very important to build from the early years.
Children usually sleep in rooms with a group of other children. Teachers spend many hours making sure that each child is placed with at least one existing friend. Sharing a room with some children your child doesn’t know well can lead to the development of important new friendships.
On return to school there are more people to share memories with. A larger friendship group is protective of loneliness and bullying.
Children who are initially hesitant or worried about the camp but face these fears, become more resilient. They can also see other children attempting new skills and activities where teachers praise effort rather than being the fastest or the best.
Camps actively teach children that what is important is trying your best and giving things a go!
An opportunity to shine
Camps often allow children to shine for the first time in new and previously undiscovered ways. A shy child may excel at a particular physical challenge. A child who isn’t the strongest academically, may excel at problem-solving or leadership in group challenges.
This can be a life-changing experience for many children who are suddenly seen in a new light by peers – and by themselves!
Because camps require children to share rooms, facilities and to cooperate in group activities, children learn to share, to communicate and to consider the feelings of others.
At school camps, children often learn bush survival skills, water safety skills as well as learning everyday skills such as how to peel vegetables, set and clear tables or fill a dishwasher. It’s all good!
Children are often given responsibility for specific tasks while on camp. Groups of children may take turns setting up for breakfast or cleaning up afterwards. Staff at school camps are very skilled at letting children know that they are expected to do a great job because everyone is relying on them. From this, children can learn to take pride in doing a good job as well as gaining a greater appreciation for all of the things done for them by others – including mum or dad.
An appreciation of being fit and spending time outdoors…without electronic devices!
Most camp activities are outdoor. Some children today spend little, if any, time outdoors and obesity is becoming more and more common among children. School camps show children that they can have a lot of fun outdoors and playing games. They can also see that it’s possible to actually survive without the many electronic devices which are commonly held dear even by very young children.
So if your child has the opportunity to go on camp – please let them go!