Its SUMMER time and Children just want to have fun! BUT parents want safe affordable Childcare.
Parents, before you send your child to Camp you want to make sure that they are SAFE, SUPERVISED and ENGAGED in activities that keep their minds and bodies active.
The following questions are TOP 10 suggested questions for parents to ask before you sign your child up for camp:
- WHERE IS THE CAMP LOCATED?
Is there a suitable and safe building/structure for the camp’s base?
All programmes should meet established guidelines for indoor space, free from hazards, in good condition and meet environmental health standards.
- WHO ARE THE STAFF OPERATING THE CAMP?
Do you do background checks on your staff? Are the camp staff CPR/First Aid trained? Are medical forms about the campers collected; how are medications stored?
At a minimum, camp staff should be trained in safety regulations, emergency procedures and communications, behavior management techniques and child physical and sexual abuse prevention and reporting.
3. WHAT IS THE CAMP’S PHILISOPHY AND PROGRAME EMPHASIS?
Is the camp’s program/ activities age and developmentally appropriate for the children they serve. What does a typical day look like for the camper, what does the camp focus on? How many hours are spent inside and how many outside in the sun? Are the campers oriented to the camp and to systems put in place to keep campers safe?
4. WHAT IS THE CAMP’S BEHAVIOUR AND DISCIPLINARY POLICY?
What are the rules and consequences? How do they use positive reinforcement? Is there a policy on Bullying? What is the behavior management philosophy? Will parents or guardians be contacted in the case of problematic behaviour becoming a safety issue for the child or others?
- WHAT IS THE COUNSELOR-TO-CAMPER RATIO?
Ratios and maximum group size vary according to age and activity. See the suggested ratios posted on Environmental Health’s Web site, outlined in the Guidelines for Day and Over Night Camp Administrators and the Safe Camps Bermuda facebook page.
May want to add the following US based guidelines on day camp staff to child ratio:
In day camp, there must be one senior counselor for every six children under the age of 6; one for every nine children between the ages of 6 and 7 and one for every twelve children who are 8 years old and above.
- WHAT IS THE TRANSPORTATION/ EXCURSION POLICY?
Does the camp provide transportation? If yes, is it via pre-organized vans or buses? What are the conditions of the vans i.e.; seatbelts and driver experience. If bus, what are the checks and balances to ensure safety enroute. What is the contact number of a camp staff person that I can reach at all times even what campers are on excursions?
- WHAT IS YOUR WATER SAFETY POLICY?
Children should not be permitted near water without supervision and a staff member who is First Aid -certified and familiar with lifesaving procedures. All campers’ Swimmers ability to swim should be assessed and activities designed according to skill level of each child.
- WHAT IS THE TRUE COST OF THE CAMP?
What does the camp fee include? Are there other expenses? Will outside activities cost extra? Is there a refund policy?
- IS THE CAMP REGISTERED?
ALL camps that take preschool age children must have their camp registered with the DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH. Other camps wishing to be given a seal of approval should also be registered as striving to meet best practice standards and keep children safe.
- WHAT ARE YOUR POLICIES ON VISITORS AND/OR COMMUNICATING YOUR CONCERNS?
How does the camp screen visitors? Parents should make sure that there is a method for making sure that unauthorized visitors are not allowed access to their child. It’s also important for the camps to account for attendance and dismissal from camps. Parents should have a plan in place designating how the child is to leave the camp, including the names of those that have permission to visit or escort their child home.
You should also feel comfortable knowing who to lodge a concern or grievance with.
KNOWLEDGE IS POWER: – FOR MORE INFORMATION CHECK US OUT ON FACEBOOK @Safe Camps Bermuda