Whether you are a parent, a student, or … anybody, really … chances are you’ve heard, at least peripherally, the phrases “Common Core” alongside words like “testing” and “standardized” and “Opting out”. This month has seen many states rolling out their version of standardized testing under the federal Common Core standards, whether it be the PARCC (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers) tests in half the states, like New York and New Jersey, or the Smarter Balanced Assessment in the rest of the country including Maine and Connecticut. And as you’ve likely heard, the debate is fierce.
There is a lot of disagreement over these tests, ranging from tricky test questions with “gotcha” answers, rolling out the tests too fast, and spending way too much classroom time devoted to “teaching to the test.” Teachers and students alike are stressed out by the new standards, while some educators and government officials had high hopes for this being “an absolute game-changer in public education.”
Whenever these topics come up – the stress of school and testing and being overscheduled – it makes us think of summer camp. Overnight camps are such a great place to unwind, to run, swim, yell, and play in the great outdoors. MCE kids conquer new experiences both at their camp, and in amazing out-of-camp trips throughout Maine.
The new standards for Common Core are just the latest in a growing trend in the lives of children being more scheduled, more structured, and having less room for things like imaginative play and free time. A principal in the Kips Bay neighborhood of New York City has taken matters into her own hands, tossing out traditional homework assignments and telling kids to play and interact instead. And while her move has some parents up in arms, we think we understand her concerns. Obviously, summer camp – more so than school – is naturally set up for less structure and more play, but watching campers stretch and grow away from the stresses of tests and homework is truly a thing to behold.
At camp, kids set and achieve their own individualized goals, expanding their horizons and taking command of their own experience. A child who is scared of heights might spend the summer building toward climbing to the top of the rock wall, or someone who has never water skied may end the summer doing it on one foot. The unique thing about the camp environment is that kids work at their own pace, exploring new avenues that appeal to them.
After kids have been bottled up all winter with arctic temperatures and too many snow days, having a place where they can be outside, away from computers, and free to be themselves can be a huge relief. It certainly won’t solve the debate on what to do with Common Core, but summer camp does provide a perfect counterpoint to the rigors of modern childhood.
Maine Camp Experience Resources & Tools
Looking for the perfect Maine camp for your child? Try out our helpful tool where you can select a camp by choosing: type of camp (girls, boys or coed) and session length (1-8 weeks). It helps to narrow down a few camps to a manageable list that includes rates. Then you can research these camps in more depth.
Next, be sure to contact our Maine Campcierge™ to discuss these camps as well as for free, year-round advice and assistance on choosing a great Maine summer camp for your child.
Talk to Laurie, our Maine Campcierge™, about choosing the right camp for your child and what to do in Maine.