If you read our previous blog (How to find the best kids summer camp for your child), you should now have a good understanding of the make-up of the ideal summer coding camp for kids and how to go about finding them. But once you have narrowed your options, the real work begins to select the right summer coding camp for your child.
Therefore, the more you know, the more realistic your expectations will be and the more you and your child can prepare for possible problems if they arise.
So before you register, there are a few critical questions you have to ask when evaluating the best summer coding program for your child.
Here are the main question categories to look for:
1. How long has the camp been operating?
Though it’s natural to trust a company that has been around for a longer time, even the best camps started at year one. So just because a summer coding camp hasn’t been around for over 10 summers, it doesn’t necessarily mean you should stay away.
However, with that said, you’ll have to put more time and effort into your research to ensure that the “new” camp is trustworthy.
2. Is the camp a part of the ACA and follow their guidelines?
This is a stamp of credibility.
The primary purpose of the American Camp Association accreditation program is to educate camp owners and directors on key aspects of camp operation such as the health and safety of campers and staff and the overall quality of the program.
Computer coding summer camps that are accredited by the ACA are more likely to implement and follow the established standards, guidelines, policies, procedures, and practices of the association.
However, be careful to hastily dismiss summer coding camps that don’t possess ACA accreditation as some camps might not be eligible but might still follow ACA standards and guidelines.
Here is a list of the other main questions to ask around summer coding camp credibility:
1. What is the student to staff ratios?
Some computer coding summer camps claim to have a small student-to-instructor ratio but are they guaranteed and are they across all programs?
So when asking about student-to-instructor ratios, question whether these rates are guaranteed or simply averages from past seasons.
A smaller camp of 5-10 students per instructor may feel more personal and intimate compared to one with 30 campers per instructor.
Students, especially children, usually do better with one on one teaching. The top Summer Coding Camps normally have a small student per instructor ratio.
But a larger camp might allow for more choices and options.
It’s up to you to determine what environment is best for your child and then look for the best kids summer camp that supports that experience.
2. Does the camp offer insurance?
In the event of an unforeseen mishap such as an injury to your child, does the camp assist with those costs?
Unexpected life events are unavoidable. So if the camp doesn’t offer insurance, which is likely, ask them to refer you to an organization who does.
3. What is the camp’s cancellation policy?
A common and very important question. Be sure you know cancellation deadlines and the percent of any financial commitment that is returnable, etc.
Here is a list of the other main questions to ask around summer coding camp operations:
1. What is the focus of the camp?
The best kids summer coding camps maintain a healthy balance of hands-on, engaging education and fun extracurricular activities.
The question is what sort of experience do you want your child to have at camp?
The essence of a coding for kids summer camp is not for students to just have fun. Fun is an essential aspect of any kids camp, but the main focus should be placed on your child learning to code and building up their problem solving and creativity skills.
As it relates to overnight summer coding camps, find out where your child will be sleeping ahead of time. It’s likely they won’t be sleeping like princes and princesses, it is essential that their sleeping conditions are at least comfortable.
2. What happens on a typical day at camp?
Will your child be spending all or most of the day on one particular activity? Is it fast-paced with lots of activities packed in one day?
Some camps dictate its own pace with set schedules and curriculum. Some will be pedal to the metal, while other camps allow students to set their own pace based on their skill level and understanding of the material.
You’ll also want to know the interaction levels of the camp. Is the camp focused on group or teamwork or will the majority of time be spent working individually?
Some coding camps include fewer organized activities emphasizing more on personal growth.
As we mentioned above, the best kids summer camps provide a sensible balance.
Here is a list of the other main questions to ask around summer coding camp experience:
1. Is full due diligence done before hiring staff?
The number one priority of any good summer camp is to ensure the safety of your child. Summer coding camps significantly decrease the risk of harm to your child by conducting thorough criminal background checks.
Instructors are one of the most critical components of a successful coding camp.
Correctly following up with personal and professional references of staff members should be compulsory for every kids summer coding camp.
Also, finding out how staff members are hired is important. Ensure camps are finding their instructors in reputable ways.
2. What is the camp’s emergency response process?
Life can be unpredictable at times. And we all should prepare to handle unforeseen situations when they arise. Every worthwhile summer coding camp should have an effective emergency response plan in place. Find out about the details of this plan.
Some kids have serious conditions that must be attended to daily. So it would be comforting to know whether or not there is an appointed nurse around to handle illnesses and likely physical mishaps.
Find out how the camp will manage critical things such as allergies and medication for illnesses.
Here is a list of the other main questions to ask around summer coding camp supervision:
1. What is the camp’s registration process like?
If the summer coding camp’s registration process is too short and too basic, this could be a red flag. The form doesn’t have to be exhaustive, but the better camps usually request more details such as emergency contacts, specific illnesses, etc.
Another important thing is flexibility. Can you make changes after registering without incurring a financial penalty?
If you’re a proactive planner, you’ll want to ask when camps start taking registrations. If you want to secure more substantial savings and beat the rush, it’s beneficial for you to register as early as possible.
2. Are there prerequisites to enrollment?
To ensure you choose a summer coding camp that’s the best fit for our child ask this question up front. After signing up, you might have to prove proficiency. So your child might not get very far at camp because they’re lacking the required skills.
Here is a list of the other main questions to ask around signing up for a summer coding camp:
1. Does the camp offer financial aid and discounts?
Many computer coding summer camps offer financial aid or scholarship opportunities, even from third-party organizations.
Friend reference discounts are one of the more overlooked money-saving opportunities for parents sending their kids to camps.
Enrollment in multiple session as well as sending a sibling to the same camp are other discount possibilities that might help offset registration costs.
2. Can I pay for camp in installments?
Don’t feel ashamed if you can’t pay for camps in full, especially if it’s a pricier one. If you can’t afford to pay in entirety up-front, find out if the camp provides an option to pay for camps in installments.
Some camps allow parents to pay down a deposit to reserve a space before paying the balance at a later date.
Here is a list of the other main questions to ask around paying for a summer coding camp:
1. Are meals included in the cost?
You’ll want to check on the types of, how much and even if food is provided at summer coding camps. Sometimes meals aren’t included in the cost of camp. If meals aren’t included, find out if you can send your child with food or ask if you must purchase a meal plan.
2. Are meals balanced?
Some kids will have more restrictive diets than others. So knowing what type of food is being prepared, how it is being prepared and if students will have options to choose from.
Here is a list of the other main questions to ask around meals at a summer coding camp:
1. Is there a take-home component at the end of camp?
Take-home components extend the value of coding for kids summer camps. Try to find out if the camp provides lesson plans kids can take home and use to keep learning after it has ended.
2. Is there after-camp support in place?
Relationship-building is a major benefit of summer camps. Try to find out if camps have post-camp policies about staying in touch with former counselors in place. Ask if kids can contact their coaches or camp instructors after camp for assistance with something they have worked on during the summer.
Also, ask if the camp has anything in place that provides ways for groups of students to stay in touch with fellow campers after the summer?
3. How can I provide feedback?
Feedback is crucial for camps. It allows them to learn about your experience and pinpoint future changes.
Also, your feedback influences other parents to make a decision.
Prospective camps aren’t the only ones who should be hit with questions. You’ll need to ask yourself a few tough ones as well.
1. Is your child ready for a summer coding camp?
If imagining your child in a brand new environment without parental supervision scares the wits out of you then maybe he or she is not ready for a summer camp, especially if it’s an overnight one.
If they are mature enough to handle the challenge, still ensure your choice of summer coding camp matches up with your child’s skill level and personality.
2. Can I clearly articulate the value of the camp?
When you ascertain the total cost of sending your child to a summer coding camp, can you justify it?
Weigh the pros and the cons. Take into consideration how the camp can impact your child profoundly in the long run. Ask yourself, will this camp make my son or daughter a better person?
3. What are other parents with kids who have attended the camp saying about it?
Word of mouth is perhaps the most genuine feedback there is on a product or service. Even if they are strangers, try to find parents who can provide honest reviews on camps to which their kids attended.
4. Should I send my child to a co-ed or an all-girls or all-boys camp?
Both gender-specific and co-ed camps have their benefits.
If the opposite gender is a potential distraction for your child, an all-girls or all-boys option can help them make deeper connections with their peers and get the most out of camp.
5. How far away is the camp?
If you’re sending your kid to a day camp, ask yourself if you can manage dropping-off and picking-up each day. Determine the feasibility of transportation to and from camp.
When sending your kid to a summer coding camp, you’re investing money, time and trust into the chosen host. So eliminate or alleviate risks by asking relevant questions to potential camps, as well as yourself.
We hope this post helps you with your summer coding camp search and in planning a no-regrets summer.
If you have any questions about our summer camps, we would love to help you. Send us an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or give us a call (978) 431-0064.