Sunday, April 6, 2008

Hot topic: summer camp

It's hard to imagine even thinking about summer camp at this point but a few parents have requested that I post this topic. People are looking for ideas for ways to entertain their kids this summer. Please feel free to offer up suggestions and tips. Thanks!

23 comments:

  1. Ah, Bay Area Summer Camps! One of the best arguments for year-round schools!

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  2. Year-round schools are never actually year-round, though, Anon. They just have breaks at different times. It can drive parents nuts then, because they CAN'T arrange summer camps if their school's breaks don't happen when the summer camps are in session.

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  3. Our year-round preschool breaks for 2 weeks in the Summer. It is easier filling that time than filling 2 months.

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  4. Our five year-old has been in the "Little Ninjas" program at One Martial Arts in the Parkside for two months. The kids are active for 40-minutes and learn about saftey, coordination, respect, fitness, etc. I know they have summer programs as well as well as "day camps" during school holidays and shorter breaks.

    We haven't tried the day camp, but the "Little Ninjas" program is very well run.

    Here's the link: http://onemartialarts.com/day_camp.html

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  5. Oh, adding to my 4:39pm comment above, there are both boys and girls in all the programs.

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  6. What about Argonne? am I missing something?

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  7. argonne has two months off just like every other school, the time is just spread out through the school year

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  8. I've heard that the summer program in Glen Park Canyon is pretty good. I've heard both good and bad things about the Synergy summer program. I think the summer camp at the Zoo has received good reviews (but I guess we all have reservations about the zoo these days) Many SFUSD schools have fee based afterschool programs that also offer summer camp. I know for sure that Miraloma does offer this. I think that other private schools also offer special summer programs. There must be some websites that list these programs. Does anyone know what they are?

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  9. Our year-round preschool worked that way too, Anon at 4:31 (perhaps it's the same one, Miraloma Co-op). But year-round public schools don't, and I don't know about year-round private schools. I know that Adda Clevenger has a longer school year and is kinda-sorta year-round, but it breaks for two weeks here and three weeks there and drives working parents NUTS.

    Summer camps: SummerGATE enrolls kids entering K. They just had their big enrollment frenzy, and you have to take what you can get if you try now:

    http://www.summergate.org/

    It's also late for SF Rec-Park day camp registration, but maybe still possible:

    http://tinyurl.com/yr9ty4

    Silver Tree in Glen Park is run by Rec-Park. It used to start at age 6; don't know if that's still the case. My kids went there for years and loved it. It's not super-well-supervised, so it's not for kids who are prone to get into trouble. For kids who stick with the counselors and do the activities, it's great.

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  10. I know when both parents work it's hard to arrange this but let's not forget about good old boredom. Maybe a grandparent can come for a week or two, or a swap with a neighbor can be worked out. My best memories from childhood were not from organized activities but from when I was whiling away the hours with the neighborhood kids. Endless variations of a fantasy play. Or card game upon card game. I am sure there was an adult around but in my memory there wasn't, probably because the adult was not directing our activities.

    I know this is a huge "luxury" these days, our kids having a chance to be bored, but maybe we can schedule a little boredom into the summer plans.

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  11. So much to be said for boredom! Children are so much more excited about school after a boring summer! I also think that boredom can be stimulus to real creative and imaginative play! Hah, I plan much boredom for my son this summer (well, and a trip to Hawaii if the airfare doesn't go too high). I might enjoy a little bit of boredom, too.

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  12. to the poster about boredom - yes, you are right that is a luxury when you are in a working family - and for those of you for next year - this is quite late in the game for summer camps - they fill quickly in SF b/c there are so many working families who may LOVE to have some boredom for the kids, but have to work ft to stay here - many camps are already full with waitlists at the beginning of April - it is February that, unfortunately, you must begin thinking about summer - just a heads up for next year.

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  13. The JCC offers an incredible array of camps (both specialized and general) for children ages 5 and up. Our son goes every year and loves it. The kids go on field trips, work on projects collaboratively, go swimming and hiking and generally come back completely exhausted! We have also tried out the Bay Area Discovery Museum in years past. While it is a hike to get over there everyday, they do offer a wide variety of programs and the kids have a blast.

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  14. sfkids.org is the website with all camp info - and a lot more info on activities, etc.

    you can search in "out of school time" and then in "camps" and can search by type of camp, activity, location, etc. As some have said, many are already full since they start early registration in late February or early March.

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  15. I have signed up for Sunset Learning Center this summer for a 6 week course. It is a summer school program (timely since the SFUSD is offering very little in this regard). They have both an “at grade level or above” track and a "remedial" track. The remedial track is particularly attractive in that it uses some pretty high end techniques, usually only found in your astronomically expensive specialized private schools. They are very reasonable priced and I have been assured by the director that the kids have a lot fun too. Link: http://www.sunsetlearning.net/

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  16. Live Oak has a great summer camp program, open to all kids, not just Live Oak students. It's called Summer Oaks and info can be accessed from the Live Oak website (www.liveoaksf.org). I think it starts as young as kids beginning kindergarten in the fall, and accepts kids through middle school age, but I'm not sure about the top age limit. Kids from all over the City participate and seem to really enjoy it!

    Best of luck to all keeping our sanity this summer!

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  17. My son enjoyed his two weeks at Live Oak last summer. (I joked to my husband that while Miles might be going to the poor neighborhood school, he could do some high end summer camp!) Actually though it wasn't as expensive as some. ($250 per week but with an early bird discount as well - and at that point we were so excited about not paying for pre-school that any amount seemed less.) They have some fun themes and go all out. This is not a camp that would occasionally plop the kids in front of a TV. (In fact, their SuperKids Week had "TV Head" as the bad guy!)

    This year in addition to Silver Tree he'll do a couple weeks of Science Adventure Camp at St. Philips. SA is a big organization and they have several SF sites. I don't know much except that our friend's son adores his afterschool program with them. www.scienceadventures.com

    For those interested in summer camp with Spanish, one is Espanol for Kids to be held at the Little Bear Preschool campus (a big site at 65 Ocean, a surprisingly quick place to get to from Noe, Bernal, Mission. Miles did his Pre-K year at Little Bear.) for kids entering K-3rd grades. www.espanolforkids.

    Little Bear itself is offering a few weeks of a Dance Camp for K-3 for $225/wk plus before and aftercare options. 415-239-2220

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  18. Another example of year-round schools: some friends who live in San Mateo have two kids in the San Mateo school district. Spanish immersion. Year round. They have 3-week breaks, 4 times a year. Crazy.

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  19. It's not that crazy. They're out at the same times other kids are - Winter and spring holidays, etc., except for even longer. And they get out several weeks in summertime, too. It's actually pretty cool. Not if you need full day care for them, I suppose, but most have interim programs, I believe.

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  20. Year-round is also thought to be better from an academic standpoint. Three weeks off is very different from ten or eleven. I've seen it take a particular toll on kids who don't need a month of review to remember what they learned the previous year. Those kids are bored out of their skulls for the first month of back from a "traditional" schedule.

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  21. About Argonne-it is actually not like other year round schools that have the same amount of school days as other schools but just have classes year round with wierd breaks. Argonne has an additional 5 weeks of school. They follow the regular SFUSD school year and then kids get 3 weeks off and go back to school. They have two weeks off at the end of the summer. It was great for working parents. 5 less weeks of summer to have to pay for expensive summer camp. I loved it.

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  22. It happens that I did an article on this very topic a couple of years ago:

    **Year-round is also thought to be better from an academic standpoint.**

    It seems logical -- the year-round-school advocates talk about "summer setback," where kids forget some of what they learned and have to be brought back up to speed.

    But in practice it's not panning out. Year-round schools have existed here and there since the '60s, and there are no consistent measurable results showing that they help students achieve better.

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  23. ^^Thanks!!

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