What I Didn’t Do Last Summer — By Bart Theriot

child lying on a couch looking at cell phone in front of large window showing green grass, trees and sun shinningThis is not a post I might have written 23 years ago when we first opened.  Back then, we promoted Summer camps purely for the activities we offered. Today, our Summer programs have become just as important for what we don’t offer.

This idea sprang up immediately after I read THIS ARTICLE by Steve Baskin.  He is the Chairman of the American Camp Association (ACA).  Steve explains how sleepaway Summer Camps with strict “no phone” policies just might represent the perfect way to push back against the rising tide of internet/smartphone addiction and the ensuing emotional health issues, which result in adolescence.

There was a time when parents could claim plausible deniability, that screens and technology have created problems for an entire generation.  No parent has ever felt good about letting their child zone out for hours of screen time, but at least we could make ourselves believe that we weren’t actively harming our children.  This Summer, the toothpaste is out of the tube.  We know the long term effects of a tech-based childhood. If you need more proof, just head on over to Substack and read what Jeane Twenge or Jonathan Haidt have to say on the matter.  Now we just have to figure out what we are going to do about it.

Already halfway through March, we parents find ourselves on the precipice, staring down into the deep abyss of Summer Break.  Roughly 110,000 minutes from June to August are about to weigh down on millions of children trapped in climate-controlled malaise.  Instead of considering all the time they will spend swimming in the neighborhood pool and climbing trees in the back yard, parents are starting to worry about how we will keep them off screens.  Even our best ideas at this point may not hold up to reality.

I think most parents hope and even start out planning for a Summer of balance.  One in which the child spends more time engaging with the real world than the digital one.  Where, at our own choosing, we are able to offer limited screens as a “treat” or perhaps a bridge activity in between the more purposeful and hopefully outdoor physical activities.  Unfortunately, usually within a couple of weeks, that ship has sailed, crashed and sunk in the harbor.

That’s where MAB Summer Camp comes in.  We’ve got 10 weeks full of  fun for our students (see our Summer Camp Brochure Here for all the details).  But here’s what you won’t get from our Summer programs:

  • No Screens:  No Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney or Hulu.  No smartphones or tablets.  No online gaming.
  • No Instant Gratification: In the Montessori classroom, nothing happens unless effort is involved, and children are always the beneficiaries of their own labor.
  • No Answers: MAB students learn to figure it out whatever “it” may be.  We teach critical thinking and problem solving by asking questions instead of giving answers.
  • No Hurrying: Summer may feel slow, but the world outside encourages children to move fast.  We promise to help your child slow down and find value in the calm.
  • No Constant Noise:  Silence.  A human essential.  It may be hard to find in a child’s   constantly stimulated life, so we teach our students how to create it.
  • No Unnecessary Help:  Whatever they can do for themselves, we give them the opportunity to do it.  We work with precision to match every child with the right work at the right time so they are guaranteed the chance to independently turn mistakes into successes.
  • No Negotiating or Bargaining:  MAB students learn to operate through a freedom within limits.  They learn to identify, accept and choose from the options available.  Even if none of the options are what they want to do at that moment.

There is a lot more that your child won’t do here this Summer.  However, you can be sure that their Summer Camp days will be spent in the construction of themselves as human beings.  In the process, each child will experience joy, growth, disappointment, inspiration, boredom, creativity, struggle and purpose.  As an added bonus, each minute they spend with us is one more minute they won’t be at home asking for more screen time.

Spaces are limited.  Enroll in MAB Summer Camps today!