WINTER HOLIDAY CAMPS

 

Educator's Viewpoint

 

"Camp has been one of the most significant experiences of my children's lives," says Linda Cameron, associate professor in the Curriculum, Teaching and Learning department at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education. Summer camp shaped the lives of her now-adult children and she sees its powerful potential to affect, in a positive way, the lives of many children.

 

"Camp provides opportunities for children to adapt and grow social and emotionally. They can learn in a safe and caring environment how to cope with separation and operate successfully without depending on their parents," Cameron says.

 

Camp was an important microcosm that helped her children learn to be well grounded in the real world. One camp her kids attended included children with special needs. "They learned to live with children who had disabilities and to see everyone as contributing members of the community," Cameron says. "They learned life skills. They learned to negotiate, compromise and co-exist within a group. Kids can be self-centered. At camp they are taught to be group-centered."

 

As an educator, Cameron says she has become increasingly concerned about over-protected and "pushed kids". As she sees it, children are either overly coddled, with few chances to independently or spontaneously explore their world, or their lives are overly structured and they are rushed from one activity to the next. Children need the chance to interact spontaneously with their peers, so that they can develop socially and creatively and learn to problem-solve, she says.

 

Cameron is also concerned that urban kids are far too detached from the wonders of nature. "Children need nature for their health and the development of their senses. Kids today are not developing their senses and therefore their perception of sights and sounds and smells." Residential camp is one way to alleviate this "nature deficit". 

 

At camp, children can discover for themselves the world around them. "Camp can open children's eyes and give them different experiences beyond their day-to-day lives," she says. "It can help them ask new questions and develop wonderful ideas."


Winter Camp Les Elfes (Switzerland)
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Winter Camp Les Elfes (Switzerland)

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Winter Camp Lovell (Switzerland)
Winter Camp Lovell (Switzerland)

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