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Life Skills Learned at Camp, Essential for Kindergarten Success

Preparing your child for a successful start in Kindergarten can be a big parental concern but attending summer camp can help Pre-K kids get ready.

Kindergarten registration is underway in many school districts - did you know that camp can play a key role in helping children get ready and prepare for this next big step in their lives?

Camp is a great opportunity for children to gain and practice some of the life skills teachers claim are critical to a child’s success and readiness for kindergarten.  According to teachers, independence and the ability to listen and follow multi-step directions are the areas kindergarten students struggle with most. 

In the article “Kindergarten is not like Preschool” author Ross Soto (co-owner, Pediatric Motor Playground Lafayette/Danville, andformer school based occupational therapist) discusses skills that may be lacking in some preschool curriculums. The really great news, these same skills are a primary focus in many camp programs!

Camp offers a structured schedule, instructor-led activities and many opportunities for campers to build confidence and independence throughout the summer. Skills encouraged and practiced at camp seem to parallel those skills teachers weigh highest in importance for children entering school. Teachers point out that kindergarten students have trouble with independence especially as it relates to self-care: packing and un-packing their own backpack, putting on and taking off their own jacket, opening and closing their lunch box, food bags/containers and feeding themselves during meal and snack times. Camp promotes this type of self-care and independence and although counselors are available and ready to help when needed, campers are encouraged and become quite good at doing these things on their own while at camp.

Counselor lead activities and multi-step directions are not uncommon in a structured camp program and this very much parallels a classroom environment where there are teacher lead activities and focused, skill/goal based lessons. It seems a summer at camp accomplishes much more than one might have originally thought - Kindergarten success is very much dependent upon some of the key life skills campers practice while at summer camp.     

See more information on what summer camp offers Younger Campers.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Anne February 05, 2013 at 01:29 AM
Having raised my own children and cared for many others, I would be surprised if children who had been in a preschool setting did not have the self-care skills listed above. If they weren’t ready for Kindergarten, I’d be more worried about the quality of preschool program my children had experienced. The packing and unpacking of the backpack comes with time and the need for organization follows as more is expected of the child, and hopefully, a parent will guide the child as time goes on. Sending a child to camp with counselors who may or may not have been trained in the developmental needs and skill level capabilities of young campers may do more harm than good, especially if you are expecting Kindergarten readiness after the experience. The ability to listen and follow multi-step directions cannot be taught in one week or two. Money spent on a week or two of camp attempting to teach tasks better taught over time is a waste, in my opinion. If you are attempting to expose your child to a specific activity beyond what your family enjoys together or want to encourage something of specific interest to your child, then camp may be a good idea. Just my thoughts.

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