So much more than fun and games
Camp is a place where children can learn all about themselves, the world around them and develop their social skills. It’s the perfect environment for vitally important social-emotional learning opportunities (SEL).
What is social-emotional learning?
Social-emotional learning is the process by which individuals acquire the skills necessary to manage their emotions. It recognises that critical life skills extend beyond that which children are traditionally taught in the classroom. At United Education we know (both intuitively and because of the wealth of research that supports it), that children thrive when they are taught how to manage their emotions. Helping children heal and grow from the trauma of the past year has been an important goal for us on Camp this summer.
Why is it so important?
The benefits of SEL reaches far beyond the camp experience into many other key areas of life. In today’s society, it’s more essential than ever, due to the increased pressures placed on young people. These additional ‘soft skills’ are the key social and emotional tools that children will use to overcome real-life challenges. As adults, without even realising it, we use these on a day-to-day basis. Whether it be within our personal relationships, or at work. In the future, these social-emotional talents will be what helps them get and keep a job. The World Economic Forum’s 2016 explained:
“Overall, social skills—such as persuasion, emotional intelligence and teaching others—will be in higher demand across industries than narrow technical skills, such as programming or equipment operation and control.”
How can Summer Camps foster social-emotional learning?
Summer Camps are an immersive and highly social experience. As a result, they provide the perfect environment in which to foster the development of SEL. Every activity on Camp is an opportunity for learning. When Campers play together and need to decide amongst themselves how to share equipment. Or, when they see another child struggling with a task and they offer to help. These are examples of some of the daily moments in which children develop their emotional intelligence on Camp.
This is fostered on Camp when children want to learn new skills or take on responsibility during an activity. Within the accepting environment of Camp, children are able to embark on a journey of self-discovery. Tapping into their curiosity and creativity and finding their passion. Socialising with other Campers also helps them develop their individual self and find where they fit in best.
This can come from Campers setting themselves goals. On our Adventure Camps we provide children with booklets filled with tasks for them to complete during their time with us. The key here is empowering our Campers to be decision-makers. Children will also encounter various challenges on Camp. Overcoming obstacles will allow them to treat setbacks as a learning experience that will help them grow.
By nature, children can often be self-centred. In contrast, on Camp, children are taught how to be group-centred. Camp provides a cooperative, collaborative environment in which children can learn with and from one another. Interacting with other campers will give children the opportunity to listen to others, explore similarities and differences, and develop deep connections. Children who are socially aware, will benefit from these important skills of negotiation and compromise far into their adult lives.
Summer Camp promotes a unique environment for children to build on their relationship skills and expand their friendship circle. As well as this, teamwork is pivotal in many of our Camp activities. Children will learn the value of working together to succeed in Camp challenges. Campers will take part in many projects that have been designed to encourage them to develop their emotional intelligence.
At United Education, we understand that success in life requires a host of skills that you simply don’t learn from books, but experiences. Summer Camps provide an experience that strengthens children’s health, intelligence and self-identity. Ultimately, fostering their positive development. After a year where SEL opportunities have been stunted by isolation, we are committed more than ever to providing the best possible experiences for our Campers.