Adventure awaits – preparing your kids for school camp

School camps are not only an important part of the PDHPE curriculum for kids all over the country, but they’re also really memorable occasions where kids generally have the time of their lives. The camps selected by SCAS are carefully designed and tailored by camp staff and teachers to allow kids to explore and develop emotional, social and independence skills that will benefit them throughout life. 

Many of us may have memories, fond or otherwise, of attending various camps during our schooling. Long bus trips, smelly cabins, cafeteria-style dining, hot hikes, heavy packs, making beds, accepting challenges, bonding with friends, achieving goals. Whatever the memories, the benefits of camp on kids and their development is irrefutable. 

Whether it is your child’s first camp experience or not, the whole idea of being away for several nights without the familiarity of home life may be a terrifying prospect. This feeling of terror is often unjustified and can be managed through implementing a few simple tasks to prepare your child.

Help them know what to expect
Your child’s teachers will prepare students for the camp experience during class. All teachers have attended school camps before so will provide detailed and fun examples of what kids can expect. Parents can help as well. Explore the camp’s website together and discuss any camp experiences you may have had in your childhood. Talk about feelings and how their teacher’s, friends and camp staff will all be there to support them. Ensure they know that they may feel homesick, a temporary condition that isn’t and actual ‘sickness’, during camp but you will be waiting for them when they return. 

Practice sleepovers
For some kids, their camp experience may be the first time they’ve stayed away from home. This is a good time to practice being away from the home environment. Organise for your child to have sleepovers at friends or other family members’ places. 

Pack early
Rather than leave it to the last minute use the packing list provided by the school to prepare and pack their bag. Make it a job that you and your child do together. Shop for items together, label items together and place them into the bag early. 

Pull out the sleeping bag, make up a camp bed or pitch a tent in the back yard and have fun sleeping ‘camp style’. This could be a good time to talk about strategies for getting to sleep. 

Develop independence
The lead up to camp is the perfect opportunity to enhance independence skills at home. Consider whether your child can tie their shoelaces, do their hair, select clothes to wear, turn on the shower, brush their teeth, organise their suitcase, make their bed, pack their sleeping bag away, serve their food, clear and wipe the table. These are all skills they’ll use at camp so why not get them underway at home.

Their fears or yours?
Parents need to remain positive about the camp experience. Kids will feel any fears you project and will turn these into their worries and concerns. 

It’s guaranteed that you and your child will be absolutely amazed at what they can achieve on the SCAS school camp experience. 

A final word
Don’t forget that school camps provide an excellent time for you to relax and rejuvenate whilst the dedicated SCAS teachers care for your child. Make the most of the time. Do things a little differently. It’s a great time to make plans like going to the movies, out for dinner or organise dates with friends or loved ones. Enjoy it! Your kids will be, and they’ll be back before you know it. 

Kellie Hall
Stage 2 Coordinator
St Columba Anglican School

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