Now is the time to think about what to do over the summer for your children. Camps are a good option. 101
For many parents, it’s that eternal conundrum – what to do over the holidays? For those who can’t get away, there’s actually plenty to do in the Lake Geneva region. Holiday camps are varied, fun and educational, even more so in an increasingly competitive market. But which to choose? Parents need to consider several things. Obviously prices vary and the cheapest is tempting, but check what’s on offer. If in Switzerland, the commune or Maison de Quartier may provide low-cost activities; in France it’s the local Centre de Loisirs. So why pay more? Look into the staff-child ratio as well as educational value. Combining fun with language camps is often the best value for money. As a teacher, I have always been an advocate for leisure time well spent. Children obviously need to have a rest from the classroom, but they also enjoy having their brains stimulated.
Language camps, such as those organized by Key English School in Geneva and Vaud, enable kids to discover English at their own level through a range of activities from art to sports. The important thing is that it does not recreate the classroom experience. Unlike traditional Swiss methods, the KES camps aim to boost the children’s confidence by encouraging oral communication.
In the summer, numerous young people’s activities revolve around outdoor sports, so explore the added value of education. Perhaps the camp is in a different language, or focuses on a sport that is not well-known in Switzerland, such as cricket. Children must be able to discover something new. Schools are usually well-informed about what’s on, but check the canton or tourist office websites for anything from sailing to mountain climbing. Conservation groups such as Switzerland’s ProNatura also have camps or weekend outings. Parents should consider the logistics: where are the camps taking place? Can you drop your children off on your way to work and leave them there all day? How flexible is it? The aim is not just be to keep kids busy but to offer an environment in which they can thrive. Find out what a typical day will be like. This way, your child will know what to expect.
Sabine Hutcheson is Academic Director and Educational Consultant at TutorsPlus in Geneva.