How To Evaluate Kids Summer Programs
by Jennifer Cummings, M.Ed.
Evaluating Your Child’s Summer Program: A Checklist for Educational and
Every summer millions of school-aged children happily participate in a variety of educational and recreational summer programs. These programs
are run by a wide range of groups, including schools, community groups, religious organizations, and private organizations. It’s often important to
sign up early, as many locations have limited enrollment space. You know that you should investigate the program before enrolling, but what do you
Before signing up for any program, be sure to check out the program basics using this handy 10-point checklist:
ü What is the staff to student ratio? The lower the number of students to staff, the greater the amount of supervision each child receives. Be sure younger children have the least number of children to staff. If your child has special physical needs, you may want to discuss this with the staff as well.
ü Are after care programs available? What is the cost, and what are the hours of supervision?
üIf this is a whole-day program, what lunch
arrangements are available?
ü What emergency staff is onsite? Is there a nurse on campus, or how are emergencies handled? If your child takes regular medication, this may be especially important to discuss, as doctor’s orders may be required for medication to be dispensed.
ü What training do staff members receive before they are allowed to participate in the program? Are criminal and sexual offender background checks performed on all staff members?
ü What types of activities are available? Do children have choices of activities, or are all activities assigned?
ü What items should my child have each day at the program? How should they be marked?
ü How many years has the program been running? Is it accredited? (This will generally apply to day camps and other camp programs.)
ü What is the refund policy, in case my child cannot attend?
ü Is there a handbook or informational sheet I can review before signing up? What are the deadlines for registration?
These are simply a few basic suggestions for you to begin with as you review potential sites for your child’s summer fun. Don’t be afraid to ask to come to see the facilities before entering a program. Also, when asking questions, be sure to be friendly and open, as this will put the staff at ease and give you more thorough and insightful answers to your questions.
Don’t be afraid to ask friends and family for their recommendations, too! Overall, it’s important that you and your child feel comfortable with their summer program. By starting with a few simple questions, you’ll both be looking ahead to the lazy days of summer!
"I believe that families' involvement in their child's education is one of the key ingredients to creating a successful school experience for children. Keeping parents informed about school-related issues helps parents and teachers work together for the best possible outcomes for their children. Learning together makes learning fun - for everyone!" - Jennifer Cummings.
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