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, and former 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 lead 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.