As a parent, searching for camps for the summer seems like a daunting task. So many choices, so many options, what to pick!!

Our focus here is on STEM camps (i.e., camps that focus on Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). These camps are generally focused on programs like: Robotics, Coding and Science based projects. There are some common questions every parent should consider when spending money on camps to ensure that you get value for what you spend.

Five key questions to ask:

1. How do you support healthy child development in your camps?

To give you perspective, most sports camps are registered with High Five or Camp Associations, where they are obligated to follow rigorous standards for safety and well being of your children. This is not a standard in STEM camps. STEM MINDS is proud to be registered with High Five and one of our partners is a Behaviour Consultant, so we ensure that delivery of programs is aligned with a proper support framework for all children.

2. For robotic camps, what is the ratio of robotic kits to children?

Most camps will put 3-4 children on one robotic kit. This allows for more teamwork and collaboration but takes away direct contact time with building or programming a robot. We at STEM MINDS will give a team of two children a robot and a laptop so they can work together but still have a hands on experience.

3. Do you have lesson plans to deliver programs? How are your teachers trained?

Spending money on STEM camps should deliver educational value for your children. This means an understanding of the curriculum via lesson plans and the training of instructors should be a critical part of program delivery. At STEM MINDS we have formal lesson plans and rubric measurement to show educational progress of children as they work through our camps. We strive to hire educators to deliver our programs so there is value.

4. What tools do you use for delivery of the programs?

Many camps will use simple day to day recyclable goods to teach concept of STEM. This is a very relevant way of teaching which is impactful. Generally the cost of delivering this education experience is cheaper as there is low cost of training material. At STEM MINDS we offer technology based educational experiences. This means that each child gets access to a laptop, licensed software so they learn using technology in a more impactful and meaningful way. We integrate many unplugged activities into our programs so we can balance screen time with fun and physical time.

5. Where are the camps delivered?

Many camps are delivered in church basements or subsidized venues which makes delivery of camps affordable. Infact all programs offered at university campuses are subsidized by STEM focused charities. We at STEM MINDS deliver camps at schools where children know the environment and are comfortable. This adds to the cost if delivery but reduces anxiety for many children.

Hope these questions give you a better perspective of an enriched STEM camp!

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