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CST: 15/10/2019 09:02:21   

Physical Activity, Social Interaction, Exploration of Nature, and Hands-On Learning Top List of Desired Benefits from Summer Camps, Local Survey Finds

195 Days ago

Portland Parents Rely on Word of Mouth Recommendations Most Often when Registering for Summer Camps and Classes

Portland, Oregon, April 02, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Physical activity, social interaction, exploration of nature and hands-on learning were ranked as top priorities for parents enrolling children in summer camps, according to a study released today by Saturday Academy, Portland’s leading science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education nonprofit organization. The study also found three quarters of parents indicated they are very interested in their child attending a class or summer camp that offers hands-on learning. The survey of 497 parents in the Portland-metro area was conducted in September 2018 in collaboration with Regina Corso Consulting, a market research and insights firm.  

“Parents often patch together their children’s summer experiences and ensuring they have a fun and well-rounded experience is a priority,” said Jeri Janowsky, Ph.D., executive director of Saturday Academy. “In conducting the survey, we sought to learn more about what local families value most when choosing extracurricular opportunities for their kids.”

The study also showed, when asked what types of classes or camps in which their children would be interested in participating, over one-quarter of respondents said science programs (27 percent), followed by the arts (19 percent), engineering (11 percent), and sports (10 percent).

Barriers to registration included affordability, with 39 percent of parents reporting summer camps are not affordable options for their families, while one-third said proximity to home or school is inconvenient (33 percent), or the class/camp schedules do not coordinate with work schedules (33 percent).

“Findings from our survey underscore parents’ desire to have their children physically active during the summer months. They also want them engaged in deep, hands-on learning opportunities, and summer provides the opportunity to do so while exploring the outdoors in our lovely summers,” Janowsky said. “Parents want their kids to have the opportunity to delve into subjects that supplement learning during the school year and keep kids’ curiosity piqued during the summer months.”

Additional Key Findings from the Survey:

  • There are a lot of different places someone can learn about summer camps and classes, with word of mouth being the biggest influencer. Half of Portland parents (50 percent) say they most often turn to other parents in their community for information on classes and camps for children, while over two in five most often turn to school newsletters (44 percent), and close friends and family (43 percent).
  • Scheduling is important. Over three-quarters of parents who had a child attend summer camp say in deciding which summer camps in which to enroll their children, availability of before and after care is important to them.
  • When it comes to registration, almost three-quarters of Portland parents (73 percent) prefer to register online via a website, with one in five (20 percent) preferring to register in person and less than one in ten (7 percent) preferring to register by phone.

Saturday Academy is leveraging the results of the survey to enhance its curriculum to best meet the needs of Portland-area parents. The full Saturday Academy catalog can be viewed here. Financial aid is available.

Saturday Academy’s Top Five Tips for Selecting Summer Camp Options

  1. Do Your Research and Plan Ahead. We live in a city bursting with opportunities for children and young adults.  From our research, we know three months are critical when it comes to finding the right experiences for children – March, April, and May. Parents research opportunities throughout March and April and by May, have mapped and registered their children’s summer. It is a patchwork of fun; however, waiting until summer begins may result in missing a special program that fills quickly.
  2. Keep your child’s interests in mind. Consider asking your child what kinds of activities they want to participate in during the summer - or give them options to choose from. Kids are much happier and willing to participate when the subject matter is of interest to them and they feel a vested interest in the decision.  
  3. Ask questions. Summer camps are costly and it’s important to ensure the investment is right for your family. Is something not clear in the camp description? Pick up the phone and call the organization. Concerned you’re unable to afford the camp? Ask if financial aid is available. The camp doesn’t coordinate with your work schedule? Inquire if before and after care is offered or if there are other locations where they offer their program. The point is this: you never know if you don’t ask.
  4. Consider quality over quantity. Some organizations offer more intimate educational experiences and activities with smaller class sizes, more manageable student to instructor ratios, or experts as part of the program. This bodes well for kids who may need more individualized attention or who want to go deeper into a topic.
  5. Be willing to try new things.  It’s easy to enroll your children in the same camps summer after summer, however, there are a wide array of options available. Thinking outside the box to include new and different opportunities will further engage your child in learning, exploration and play.

To view and download the results of the Saturday Academy Parent Survey, visit https://bit.ly/2HYgN5d.

Saturday Academy is Portland, Oregon’s leading nonprofit organization providing hands-on learning experiences through classes, camps and internships for children in grades 2-12 in the areas of science, technology, engineering, math (STEM). Serving over 6,000 students annually, Saturday Academy’s programs are designed to spark curiosity and cultivate an intrinsic, sustained love of learning. Founded in 1983, Saturday Academy has provided instruction to more than 185,000 students throughout Oregon and SW Washington. Saturday Academy is driven by a commitment to engage all children, connecting them with expert instructors and mentors in authentic, professional settings. Financial aid is available. To learn more, visit saturdayacademy.org.

Valerie Beesley
Bloom Communications
(512) 535-535-5066 X7

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