Preparing For Outdoor School


Homesickness

" I really missed home, but I'm glad that I stayed.  I got to experience banana slugs and a night hike!”  -Breonna, grade 6, St. Anne's School.  


We know it’s hard to say goodbye for a week, both as a student and as a parent.  Homesickness is common among students that come to camp, especially if this is one of their first experiences away from home.   But, considering the efforts it took to get your student to camp, we want to make sure your student gets the most out of the once-in-a-lifetime opportunities they have while they are here.


Preparing Your Student

1. Share Your Excitement about the program and the week.  Do you have stories from your own trip to science camp as a 5th or 6th grader?  Do other family members or friends?  Ask your teachers, and check out the cool pictures we have posted on this website.  Giving them a heads up about what to expect – seeing redwood trees, the tallest living organisms on earth, playing in the sand of the Pacific – can help spark their enthusiasm.

 

2. Write them letters!  You can mail letters directly to camp or have them faxed to our office (650-747-1523) and we’ll deliver them to your student.   Mailing things a few days in advance will help ensure that the letters arrive while your student is on site .  Remember to stay positive, and not be overly sentimental (we appreciate that you miss your child, and maybe the dog does too – but overstressing these points can make homesickness worse!).  Encourage your student to take lots of photographs and enjoy the activities.  Are they making new friends?  What new things have they learned?  What kinds of new experiences are they having?  The address format is 


Student's Name

School/ Dates Attending

SJOE

11000 Pescadero Rd. 

La Honda, CA, 94020

 

3. Don’t Promise to Bail Them Out!   Unless you are seriously willing to drive to camp mid-week to pick your student up, we strongly discourage promising to come and get your child if they are homesick.  We find that in most cases, students are able to overcome feelings of homesickness the more they make efforts to integrate themselves into activities and push through.  Rest assured that in cases of extreme homesickness, our office staff will be in touch with you.

 

4. Encourage Them to be on Their Best Behavior .  Although we are out in the woods, we’re still technically school and students need to be aware that coming to camp is a privilege, and that disrespectful or unsafe behavior will result in consequences.  Coming with a positive attitude, being willing to try new things, and being ready to cooperate with others will make this the best week ever!


Missing Your Student?

We know that kid-sickness is common as well.  If you miss your student, we invite you to write or email or letters (via their classroom teacher or using the address format above).  We strongly discourage direct communication with your child during the week as it often exacerbates feelings of homesickness and kid-sickness unless there is an emergency.  If you are particularly worried about your child’s well being, we suggest arranging for phone or email check ins with your  child’s classroom teacher(s) before they come to camp.  Otherwise, sit back and be assured we’re doing everything we can to ensure that your child is having a safe and fun week at outdoor school!  Rest assured that if anything significant, medically or behaviorally comes up, our office staff will contact you.

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