Most boarding schools offer summer programs. Here are some answers to your questions about what's involved.
Most boarding schools offer summer programs running about two weeks. If your child needs help with a subject like math, for instance, she will be able to find it. Ditto with enrichment. Summer boarding programs offer a special opportunity to sample a variety of subjects in a residential setting away from home.
Behind the scenes
Boarding schools run professionally staffed, fully insured and properly licensed programs. They have been doing it for years. They understand how to supervise young people. That's because they do it all year long.
The teachers are generally drawn from the school's academic team with adjunct faculty added as necessary for special programs. The support staff including kitchen and security professionals are usually the same team you will find on duty when school is in session. All these professionals have passed background checks.
Boarding schools have found that summer programs make good use of facilities which would otherwise be idle for several months over the long summer vacation. They also have learned that summer programs provide an agreeable soft introduction to the concept of going away to boarding school. Many parents send their children to a boarding school summer program to see how they will like it. Next thing they know their son or daughter is asking if they can go to that wonderful boarding school. Here is an example of what I mean.
What about the amenities?
Are meals provided? What are the meals like? Most schools offer three meals a day. Snacks are also available. Boarding schools know how to provide nutritious meals for young people. They do that year round. Meals are usually served cafeteria style in a boarding school summer program.
Will my child have enough food? Yes. Unlimited portions and a variety of menu options will satisfy your child's requirements. Naturally, the food will not be as good as you make but it will be acceptable.
What are the sleeping arrangements like? Dormitories are generally the rule. Typically there will be four to eight children to a room. Bathrooms will be down the hall. A residence supervisor will be available and in the building during evening hours.
What kind of activities will they offer in the evening? Evening programs vary from program to program. Generally speaking, the evening's activities will provide a needed contrast to whatever was going on during the day.
What about pocket money? A small amount of cash and a credit/debit card will be all your child needs.
What about deposits and refunds? Every school and summer program has its own policy regarding deposits and refunds. Read the documentation carefully and thoroughly understand what you are committing to.
What about medical issues?
What about allergies? You will alert the medical staff to any health issues when you fill out the health and medical documentation the school requires.
Will my child be able to take her prescriptions? Again, you will have alerted the medical staff to any prescriptions which your child might be taking. The medical staff will keep your child's medications under their control and administer them according to the directions on the prescription.
Will somebody have an epinephrine pen in case she gets stung by an inset? Boarding schools have all the necessary emergency equipment on hand. They also will have a doctor on call. That's just standard operating procedure for a boarding school summer program.
Boarding school programs compared with summer programs run locally
How do boarding school summer programs compare with locally-run summer programs at your local day school? Naturally, there are many very good locally run summer programs operated by private day schools. The same experienced, professional approach is part of the package. What is the difference? The residential or sleep-away element. With a day school summer program you have to drop your children off in the morning and pick them up in the afternoon. That may work for some parents. But if you have a busy professional life or travel a lot, then the boarding school summer program begins to make a whole lot of sense. You drop your child off at the beginning of the session and pick her up at the end.
Look at the programs which the Culver Schools offer. It's a complete package.
Boarding school summer programs compared with traditional sleep-away camps
For me, the most important difference is the consistency of the staff and the surroundings. Sleep-away camps usually only operate for the summer months. They are fully licensed, insured and have experienced, well-qualified professional staff. But they only operate during the summer. Boarding schools operate year round. Their staff members know how the school operates. Everything functions smoothly like the well-oiled operation it is. In my opinion that gives boarding school summer programs the edge.
Boarding school summer programs compared with foreign travel programs
How do boarding school programs compare with foreign travel programs? The two types of programs are essentially quite different. Most foreign travel programs are operated by tour agencies. These professionals know what they are doing. They are thoroughly experienced. But, honestly, there is a lot more risk when traveling abroad. On the other hand, sending your child to a boarding school summer program entails minimal risk. It is also a lot less nerve-wracking for parents.
Some boarding schools offer summer abroad travel experiences for students. Check them out. Here is an example.
Boarding school summer programs compared with specialty camps.
Tennis camps, soccer, music, and robotics camps are very popular. Many of these are run by boarding schools. Do your homework and make sure that the coaching and instruction meet your specific requirements.
Keeping in touch with your child
She won't leave home without her cellphone. Nor should she. There might be some restrictions on its use, however, so read the summer program brochure carefully and understand what is acceptable cellphone use and what is not. Please don't call or text your child several times a day. A text before breakfast and a call after supper is sufficient. She's in good hands. Don't succumb to every parent's temptation to be a helicopter parent.
In their own words
Wolfeboro bills itself as "A unique solution for parents wanting the emphasis on academic growth."
The following is a description of just one of several summer programs which this distinguished western Massachusetts school offers.
"The Bement School’s English Language and American Culture Summer Program (students ages 7-12 years) for international students balances English language learning with immersion in American culture. Please refer to the program page for more information on applications and tuition."
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