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Frequently Asked Questions

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Where recreation empowers curiosity.

Both Spring Camp and Summer Camp programs are for campers going into Pre-K to 8th grade the following year. Campers going into Pre-K must be 4 years old and fully potty trained by their first day of camp.

  • Why should your child come to Bank Street Summer Camp?

    Kids are busier than they ever have been. Over stimulated and overloaded, many families struggle to find time to balance their children’s lives with recreational play and focused exploration. As a progressive school, Bank Street is focused on the development of children academically, but also with regard to their social and emotional growth. The Bank Street Summer Camp provides time and structure for campers to develop as learners through love of play, creativity and collaboration, all outside of an academic environment.

    The American Camp Association conducted national research with over 5,000 families between 2001 and 2004, each from 80 accredited camps, specifically about immeasurable skills that campers receive and practice during the summer camp experience. Parents, campers and camp staff reported significant growth in the following non-academic concentrations; environmental awareness, decision making, adventure and exploration, independence, self-esteem, interpersonal skills, peer relationships and leadership. No differences were found in a particular type of camp, be it day camp, sleep away camp or travel camp.

    At Bank Street, these immeasurable skills are strengthened by providing an emotionally supportive environment for campers to connect with themselves and each other. By celebrating the individual child’s non-academic/immeasurable skills we encourage exploration and problem solving, creating a positive camp culture and zest for learning. This supportive environment is also reflected through the vast diversity of camp, including ethnicity, family structure, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation and learning styles. This environment recognizes and celebrates the differences between campers, staff and families, while teaching children to respect one another’s people, cultures, life choices and way of life.

  • How can you meet us?
    Come and meet us at a camp fairs in Manhattan. This page will be updated periodically.

    Saturday, December 10, 2017 – Upper West Side, Congregation Rodeph Sholom, 12:00am-3:00pm
    with New York Family
     
    Saturday, January 21, 2018 - Upper West Side, Congregation Rodeph Sholom, 12:00am-3:00pm
    with New York Family
     
    Sunday, February 11th, 2018 - Upper West Side, Bank Street School for Children, 12:00am-3:00pm
    with Let's Talk Schools
     
    Sunday, March 4th, 2018 - Upper West Side, Congregation Rodeph Sholom, 12:00am-3:00pm
    with New York Family
     
    Sunday, March 11th, 2018 - Central Harlem, Ephesus Church, 12:00pm-3:00pm
    with Let's Talk Schools
  • How does the Camp follow Bank Street School’s progressive philosophy?
    Like the School for Children, Bank Street Summer Camp encourages campers to engage with and investigate the world around them, in a recreational way and without an academic focus.

    With younger campers, this can mean exploring the neighborhood, their classroom or their peers but this can also mean exploring their imaginative understanding, often referred to as dramatic play. At Bank Street Summer Camp, before a younger group embarks on a dramatic play scenario or ventures out to a playground, counselors will often sit the group down to make a plan for who will play what, what props will be needed, and what the group will do to include everyone interested in joining. Both bold, adventurous children and shy, timid children are able to find a way to feel comfortable before and during their conversations and anticipated activity. Asking questions such as "What will you do next?" "Who is in this family?" or "Does your ice cream store need signs?" encourages campers to think carefully and creatively.

    With older campers, engaging and investigating with the world around them can often mean experimenting and trying something out that they may not be comfortable trying in school. Starting in 2nd grade, campers can focus on more specific activities and projects, so, if they wanted to try playing sports or speaking Spanish for two weeks, they can. Since Middle Camp and Upper Camp groups are open to all levels of comfort and skill, counselors often campers to learn from each other. In a safe and supported environment, campers can give voice to their curiosities and counselors can help steer the direction of the group.
  • What is our staff like?

    Our remarkable staff are made up of graduate students from the Graduate School, alumni from the Bank Street College of Education Graduate School as well as various outside specialists, teachers and professionals in the fields.

    Passionate about their work and dedicated to the camp and the campers, our staff members bring out the best in children. Our staff body is very diverse with respect to family structure, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation and learning styles and this really gives campers the opportunity to see themselves in our staff members and that’s really important in any educational institution.

    The Supervisory Staff consists of educators who teach during the year, as well as educators who have committed themselves to recreational education during the summer. Many of them were students in the Bank Street School for Children and Graduate School, as well as campers and counselors in the Summer Camp. 

  • What is Summer Camp at Bank Street like?

    At Bank Street Summer Camp, every day is an active day. Every week and every day is planned out to include group time/activity time, which can vary group to group, and swimming two to three times a week, as well as local trips and larger trips throughout the City. Tentative schedules are available for each program on the main Summer Camp page. Please see our Swim page for more information about the Summer Camp Swim program. 

    Activities are based on what is developmentally appropriate for each age group. Our Lower Camp, which is Pre-K to 1st grade, offers a Spanish immersion program as well as our regular Day Camp option. As campers get older our programs become more focused, so our Middle Camp and Upper Camp programs, from 2nd to 8th grade, offer developmentally appropriate focuses on Musical Theater, Sports, Spanish, Travel, Science and STEAM.

    Every group is headed by an educational professional or specialist in their field, and many campers return to camp as counselors because of their positive experience as campers.

    One third of campers go to the Bank Street School during the year, making a large portion of the camp body from other schools in the New York City area.

  • What is swim like at Summer Camp?
    Swim is not a seperate program. Please see our Swim page for more information about the Summer Camp Swim program.
  • What is Spring Camp at Bank Street like?

    Enhance your child's Spring Break with fun and innovative programming at Bank Street Summer Camp's Spring Break! Spring Camp is a two week vacation program offered during spring break. Campers can do one or both weeks from March 16th-20th and/or March 23rd-27th. These programs, for kids in kindergarten and up, have been designed to engage kids on an emotional, intellectual and social level with the same Bank Street Summer Camp staff kids know and love.

  • What is the August Alliance?

    The Bank Street Summer Camp has recognized that Summer Camp is no longer a luxury, but a necessity for working parents. Finding a camp in August is particularly challenging as many facilities are preparing for their fall openings. 

    In cooperation with Columbia University, the Bank Street Summer Camp provides weekly programs for children between Pre-K and 8th grade, until August 31st, called the August Alliance. August Alliance programming includes swimming in the morning and a variety of developmentally appropriate trips and activities in the afternoon.

     

    Program options are available on a weekly basis. Any children of faculty, staff or students at Columbia University and the Cathedral School will receive a discount of 10%.

     

     

  • Does the camp provide lunch?

    The Spring Camp and Summer Camp provide both healthy and delicious snacks and lunches for campers. A lunch menu for the each week will be available on the previous Friday. For the Middle and Upper Camp, lunch will often be similar to the Lunch Menu for the School. Fresh fruit and crackers are provided in the morning as snack and, on extremely hot weather, juice will be provided at well. Snack is also provided in the Extended Day Program after 3:oopm.

    If families would like, campers are welcome to bring a lunch from home. If you opt to get your own lunch, please bring lunches that do not need to be heated up and keep in mind that Camp is nut-aware camp, which means we do not allow nut products of any kind in any camp space or trip destinations. While we are sensitive to the needs of children with nut allergies, Bank Street College cannot guarantee a 100 percent nut-aware environment but will try to accommodate children with these allergies. The School has designated nut-aware classrooms/lunch tables with appropriate signage. Parents of children with such allergies are required to provide written medical documentation, instructions and medications as directed by a physician to the Health Office.

     

    IMPORTANT:  Please notify us in writing of any dietary or allergic restrictions before camp starts, so that we may try to accommodate your needs. This information should already be on your registration page. If it is not, please log in and add it to your account.

     
  • Does the camp have bus service?

    The Bank Street Summer Camp offers morning and afternoon bus service from the Upper West Side, Upper East Side, Inwood, Washington Heights and Riverdale. See our Transportation and Bus Service page for the tentative schedule for the upcoming 2018 summer, as well as the Transportation Protocol.  

  • How do we manage camper health, safety & security? When should campers stay home?

    Health

    The Camp has an on-site nurse, who’s available all day from 8:00am to 4:30pm. Each classroom has their own first aid kit, as well as a mobile kit for trips. Counselors carry all emergency contact lists with them, as well as a cell phone.

    While forty Head Counselors and Supervisory staff are certified in RTE (Responding to Emergencies) and CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation), we still employ at least sixteen trained lifeguards, whose training includes First Aid and CPR. As a part of their training, each Head Counselor is also taught how to administer EpiPens. 

    Reporting Illnesses & Incidents   

    We take the safety of our campers very seriously. When camp counselors identify a camper who is not feeling well, they are sent to the nurse, who evaluates the camper, and, if necessary, will help care for the camper. If the concern is deemed important or serious, the nurse contacts the head counselor, camp director, as well as the camper’s guardians. If necessary, parents/guardians will also be asked to pick up their children. The same criteria will apply to accidents (slips, falls, etc.), should any occur.

    In an effort to keep all children healthy, campers will wash hands often with soap (not antibacterial) and water.  Campers are not permitted to share food or drinks. 

    Safety

    In order to ensure safety throughout the camp, the Summer Camp adheres to the following rules and we need the help of every guardian to observe these rules when in the building with campers, visiting after camp or for special events.

    ·         No running or rough housing anywhere in the building

    ·         No outdoor-type games inside, especially the lobby or in front of the building
    ·         No shouting
    ·         No profanity
    ·         No headphones, I-Pods, DS, or portable music devices in the building
    ·         No Game Boys, PSPs or portable video games of any kind at camp
    ·         No hardballs (baseballs)
    ·         No skateboards or scooters in school.
    ·         No water guns of any kind!
    ·         No whistles in camp!
    ·         Personal cell phone must be turned off during camp hours except for emergencies! 

    Identification and Building Access

    At the Kraft Center, each guardian must produce a valid form of identification in order to receive a camp keychain. This keychain allows them to enter the building to drop off and pick up their campers. Without the keychain no adult may enter the camp. 

    Bank Street College of Education is a public space. Adherence to the following regulations concerning the use of ID cards and security is necessary in order to maintain a safe and secure environment for all. The Parents/Guardians of each camper will receive two Bank Street ID cards, which allows entry into Bank Street’s main building. When picking up campers the counselors may ask to see your ID cards, until they recognize you and they will no longer need to see them. All cards have been numerically assigned to each family so please return all cards at the end of camp.  No one will be allowed in without using the card or signing in at the guard’s desk.  Using your ID helps the school keep tighter control on security, and thus protects all of us.

    Emergency Procedures for Thunderstorms

    In the event of thunder or lightening all groups must seek shelter immediately.  Upon arriving at any facility, Head Counselors should identify safe shelter.  Groups will stay in shelter until 15 minutes after hearing last Thunder.

    Fire Drills and Evacuation

    Fire drills are conducted regularly at Bank Street.  The campers and staff will be instructed beforehand regarding proper conduct and where to assemble after exiting the building. 

    When to Keep Your Child Home from Camp

    Campers should look and behave like him/herself for 24 hours before returning to camp.  A sick child who returns to camp too soon is at risk for picking up other infections due to a lowered immunity, and is likely to infect other students and staff. All immunizations need to be up to date before campers come to camp.

    1. If a temperature is over 100 degrees.  Children who attend camp should be fever free for at least 24 hours (without anti-fever medication) before sending or returning your child to camp.
    2. Vomiting and diarrhea within the past 24 hours.
    3. A positive throat culture for strep. If this is the case then the child should be on an antibiotic therapy for 24 hours before returning to camp.
    4. A red eye with white or yellow eye drainage with matted or crusted eyelids after sleep.
    5. A runny nose by itself is not necessarily cause to keep your child home, however, if the runny nose is accompanied by a headache, or nausea or the child is too tired to concentrate then he/she is probably too ill to come to camp.
    6. Any rash (unless determined to be non-communicable by physician)
    7. After Lice/Nits has been found, a camper may return to camp after both their first treatment and having had a follow up clean lice check by the camp nurse.
    8. After Chickenpox (Varicella) have been found. A camper may return once all lesions have dried and crusted; usually 6 days after the onset of the rash.
    9. After a camper contracts Pertussis (or Whooping Cough). A camper may return after 5 days of antibiotic therapy (which is to be given for a total of 14 days).
    10. After a camper has been infected with Impetigo (a bacterial skin infection).  A camper may return 24 hours after treatment has been initiated.
  • What is the Summer Camp Resource Center?

    Parents are always asking us how to begin the process of finding a Summer Camp program, so we have put together the Bank Street Summer Camp Resource Center, complete with questions parents can consider when looking for a summer camp, as well as resources parents can use to aid them during their search.