We live in a world where customization has become quite a luxury. Custom made cabinets, custom tailored suits- vacation planners promising a customized getaway. But here at Summer Fenn we believe that a customized experience for children shouldn’t be for just a few of our campers. In fact, we know from decades of research that a one-size-fits-all approach to child development leaves so many children in the margins and fails to fully develop the skills necessary to thrive in adult life. Skills like flexibility, frustration tolerance, self-awareness and problem solving come online for kids at varying ages. Given that each child’s developmental trajectory includes some accelerated and some lagging skills in any number of areas, we believe it is imperative to be intentional and thoughtful about how each child can thrive at Summer Fenn as an individual.
We ask ourselves- What does it take to ensure that each child can be met where they are socially, emotionally, physically and cognitively? How can we best leverage the emerging skills that kids are showing while developing and accommodating the places where they face challenges? While we’re thrilled when a child learns to swim or throw on the ceramics wheel, we’re equally excited when a child begins to successfully navigate group dynamics, reflect and redirect after a disappointment, advocate for themselves and others.
The concept of “meeting kids where they are” sounds well-meaning and also a bit nebulous, right? In practice, it begins with a deep understanding of the whole child approach to development, and recognizing the variety of skills it takes for kids to meet the expectations of the adults around them. It means being observant, and anticipating the needs of the campers in each group. It also requires a whole toolbox of strategies to challenge each child at the appropriate level.
On the more logistical side, it means being really well staffed, having experienced educators leading each division, spending days and weeks in off season professional development, and investing in a more substantive training that builds a truly qualified counselor team.
Summer Fenn has always prided itself on being a place where any/very kind of kid can thrive… An athletic kid, a quirky kid, a quiet or feisty kid, those for whom transitions and new experiences come easily, and those who need more support. Whatever kind of camper you brought to Summer Fenn, we promise to love them exactly as they are, and embrace their whole development to truly give them the best (customized) summer ever.
Posted by maggie on Tuesday July, 18, 2017