Gearing up for vacations

Gearing up for vacations

Summer camps

Gearing up for vacations
The exam season is drawing to an end and in view of the upcoming vacations, independent groups and organisations are organising summer camps for children. However, parents have mixed notions about a summer camp.

Kanchana Nagarajan, a teacher, says that she doesn’t believe in the concept of summer camps. “Most summer camps are short-term and charge an exorbitant amount. It makes sense to send my child for camps that are for a longer duration and where something substantial is taught,” says Kanchana. Sharada Srinivas, another parent, feels these camps look good only on paper. “I find that there’s always a mismatch between what is printed in the pamphlet and what is actually taught. I’ve stopped sending my children to such camps and instead keep them engaged at home,” she says.

However, there are a few parents who feel that summer camps provide the perfect break. Aparna C M, a parent, has been sending her 10-year-old daughter Sinchana to summer camps almost regularly. She says, “Summer camps provide a welcome break after year-long academics and make the child more independent.” Gowri S A, a housewife, agrees with this notion. “Summer camps provide a hands-on experience for children and translate theory into practice. They learn how to efficiently manage their time,” she says.   
Psychologists point out that parents must review the summer camp . Dr Chittaranjan Andrade, professor and head, department of psychopharmacology, NIMHANS, says “The more structured a summer camp is and the more it lays emphasis on learning, the less fun it is.” He points out that summer camps make sense for parents who are working.

“Personally, I think it is better for the child to be at home, spending quality time with family, discovering books and otherwise learning how to keep oneself occupied in a creative way,” he opines.
But Dr Roshan Jain, Senior Consultant Psychiatrist, Apollo Hospitals, begs to differ. He says summer camps are a good way to make a child more explorative, independent and confident. “Summer camps move children away from techno-oriented virtual space to real life. Camps are the best way to learn life skills,” he says.

However, the first thing is to ensure that the organiser is a recognised and registered company. “Parents must make sure that the organisers have a track record of holding such camps,” says Dr Roshan Jain. Dr Chittaranjan Andrade adds, “Parents should also enquire about practical matters such as cleanliness and safety. It is also good to have the contact details of adults at the camp and keep the communication lines open with them.”