Why send a child to summer camp?
Summer camps give children a wonderful break from the stresses of home, school, and commercialism. They get to live some “real childhood”, playing games in the fields and woods, and making new friends while doing so – an opportunity hard to find in the world of 2012. They really relax in a fantastic setting, and have a great holiday week with others their own age from all over Britain, and with young and enthusiastic supervisors.
To spend a week away from TVs and computers, playing,laughing and doing lots of varied activities together, is not only enormous fun, it also helps children develop new interests and enthusiasms, also social skills, independence and selfconfidence.
Many people who have attended summer camps run by ATE tell us what an important part of their childhood the holidays were, and how much they have helped them grow up and develop confidence.
Why you can trust ATE
ATE is a not-for-profit Educational Trust, with a Governing Council of leaders in the world of education who believe in the value of summer camps. The Council makes sure that keeping children safe, both physically and emotionally, is ATE’s top priority.
All ATE staff hold an enhanced Criminal Records Bureau certificate, and they must all start by attending a rigorous residential training course.
During a Superweek a child is supervised 24 hours a day within a small group looked after by a Monitor, who has the help and support of the Director, Assistant Director and Matron.
There has never been a significant accident on an ATE holiday. The staff of 2012 will work hard to maintain this impressive record.
The premises used for Superweeks
Centres are boarding schools, field study centres, etc., hired during holiday periods. They all have good grounds and plenty of room indoors. The standard of accommodation is hostel rather than hotel, but clean and pleasant. Children will sleep in a dormitory or small group room.
Menus are nutritionally balanced and in line with current healthy eating guidelines. We also cater for any specific dietary requirements.
Children are not generally asked to do domestic chores other than keeping their own things and their own space tidy.
Contacting ATE while your child is on Superweek
Children who have travelled with ATE will all ring home the first night or early the following morning, to say they have arrived safely. After this call, ATE asks parents not to ring their children, nor to ask children to ring them. It could take the Director a lot of time finding children for phone calls. But there is also a more important reason. It is our long experience that children settle better and get more from the holiday if “left to get on with it.”
Of the few children who are a bit homesick in the first day or two, ATE is able to help almost all get through it and be really enjoying themselves by the end – a real step forward in developing independence. This would be harder if there were regular phone conversations with home.
If there were any problems, Superweek staff would always ring parents and keep them informed. Parents are also welcome at any time to phone the Director at the Superweek for reassurance about their child.
About Superweek staff
Monitors are young people over the age of 17 ½ and usually aged between 18 and 21. They are recruited from 6th Forms, Universities, etc.
At their training week they learn lots of activities, and also take part in sessions dealing with safety, care, organising bedtimes, resolving problems, building a happy group, and so on. They go home from the course having had a great experience, enthusiastic to work with children, and with a positive attitude to what a Superweek can offer.
At the Superweek children are divided into groups of 6 to 9. Each group has its own Monitor, who is known by his/her first name, eats at the children’s table, sleeps in their dormitory, and is a real part of the group. He/she is seen more as an older brother or sister than a supervisor, but since the Monitor is there all the time discipline or safety problems can be minimised. For many children the friendship with their Monitor is a highlight of the week.
Directors and Assistant Directors have all worked as Monitors on many occasions, and then undertaken further training for the increased responsibility. All Assistant Directors are over 21, Directors are over 23 and many of these senior staff members are practising teachers.
Each Superweek will have one Director, one or two Assistant Directors, and from five to ten Monitors, according to the number of children in the holiday.
Other Staff include a matron, usually a trained nurse, who sees to any cuts and bruises, administers medication, etc., also a catering and domestic team who do all the kitchen and dining room work plus cleaning.
How children are allocated to groups
The majority of children attending Superweeks come on their own. They all get to know each other and make friends quickly (it is part of the Monitor’s role to make sure they do). Children can however also be accepted with a friend or a relative.
Friends of the same age and sex are likely to be in the same group. Groups, however, are usually by age, so a 9 year-old and an 11 year-old would probably not be together. Children are encouraged to mix and get to know everyone, and children in different groups see plenty of each other every day.
We would not accept a request for a large group of friends to be in the same group. This would make it hard for others who had come without a friend.
Children with special needs
ATE is happy to accept any child with special needs who can be adequately looked after by an ordinary concerned 18 year-old who has no specific training in special needs. we aim to be as inclusive as possible, so do ring us to talk about a specific child’s care needs.