Summer Sizzle? Summer Fizzle?

Great news! Your new private elementary school has a summer camp. To enroll or not to enroll? That’s the question.

After preschool ended and I was trying to decide what my daughter would do during the summer before kindergarten, I contemplated enrolling her in the Willows School’s Summer Camp (called Iverbe). Several private elementary schools have summer camps so this is something you may be considering.

There would be benefits, for sure.

1. My daughter, who was already 5 years old, was ready to move on from preschool
2. She would get to know her new school and some of her new classmates and teachers
3. The schedule offered fun, enriching activities
There were also drawbacks. My daughter, as I’ve mentioned before, was shy and needed time to get to know new places and people. I worried about her “jumping right in” to a boisterous summer camp, filled with kids she didn’t know. Maybe “worried” was an understatement.
Other potential drawbacks included:
1. My daughter would dislike the summer camp and think her new school would be the same, which in fact is not true (but, try explaining that to a 5 year old!)
2. Things could go so badly we’d have to pull her out of camp and therefore make a terrible impression on the “powers that be” at the school. My mind kept going. They’d retract my daughter’s offer, deciding she wasn’t ready for kindergarten. She’d had her chance and it hadn’t worked out. “Find another school”, they’d say. Of course, this doesn’t happen in real life! If the camp experience isn’t right, that really has no relationship to the school experience.
3. Too much stress. Why not just enroll her someplace we already know she’ll do just fine?
So, what did we do? We opted to skip the Willows Summer Camp before my daughter started kindergarten. When I’ve talked to other parents about this issue, it’s a mixed response. Some parents enroll their kids in the summer camp of their new school and their kids love it. Others enroll their kids at the camp for a short time i.e. a week or two to test the waters. Sometimes, things go badly and they go for a few days and leave. It really depends on the type of child you have.
After kindergarten, my daughter (and my son) have attended the school’s summer camp every year and they love it.
I write this because it was something on my mind the summer before kindergarten maybe its something you’re thinking about too.