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Frequently Asked Questions

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Where recreation empowers curiosity.

  • 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.

    Summer time offers an opportunity for parents to add balance to children’s lives and the time is right for schools and camps to teach the whole child, beyond academia and scholastics. Children need time, practice and a safe environment to connect with themselves and each other. Bank Street College has spent almost one hundred years making these goals a reality and the Bank Street Summer Camp has continued this tradition in a recreational summer setting. 

    Bank Street Camp celebrates the individual child, creating a positive camp culture and zest for living that encourages exploration and problem solving. This positive 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.

    Bank Street Summer Camp has gone beyond the standards of a traditional camp venue by offering indevidualized options like Spanish Immersion, Theater, S.T.E.A.M., Science and Travel, to name a few. We have also entered into numerous collaborations with major NY museums, including the Liberty Science Center and The Rubin Museum. Our collaboration with the Hunts Point Alliance for Children helps us build young leaders through their participation in our Leadership Development Program.

    Swimming is not a separate program. All campers and staff swim during their designated swim time at the outdoor Skyview pool in Riverdale. Swim time at Camp is divided into both instructional swim and free swim. During instructional swim, counselors and lifeguards work along with the campers to further develop both their comfort and skill in the water. While campers are never made to do anything they do not want to, all campers are required to be in the water.

  • 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
    with New York Family & Manhattan Media
    Saturday, January 21, 2018 - Upper West Side, Congregation Rodeph Sholom
    with New York Family & Manhattan Media
    Saturday, March 4, 2018 - Upper West Side, Congregation Rodeph Sholom
    with New York Family & Manhattan Media
  • How does the Camp follow Bank Street School’s progressive philosophy?

    At camp, we encourage campers to deepen their ideas, extend their thinking and come up with their own story lines, fostering the most essential building block for imagination, helping campers do what they do best: play.

    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.

    Any challenges that arise from group play are viewed as valuable learning experiences that counselors will help navigate and mediate to find both simple and complex solutions. Listening to campers insures better communication between campers and helps everyone feel safe to create and play with one another. 

    Developmentally, kids are able to focus on more specific activities and projects as they get older. Starting in second grade, our Middle Camp and Upper Camp programs campers have the opportunity to choose from a variety of programs specifically focused on Sports, Spanish Immersion, Science & Technology, and Musical Theater, where they can write their own Musical. All programs can be taken on a two week basis, except for our Theater and Film programs, which are four-week commitments.

  • 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?

    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. We have gone beyond the standards of a traditional camp venue by offering focused groups like Spanish Immersion, Travel, Film and Science. We have also entered into numerous collaborations with major NY museums, including the Liberty Science Center and the Rubin Museum.

    Swim is not a seperate program. Please see our Swim page for more information about the Summer Camp Swim program. 

    Our 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, STEAM and Film Writing and Production.

    We also provide lunch and snack to each group.

  • 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?

    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. Enhance your child's Spring Break with fun and innovative programming at Bank Street Summer Camp's Spring Break! 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 is providing weekly programs for children between Pre-K and 8th grade, until August 31st, called the August AlliancePrograms will include morning swim and a variety of developmentally appropriate trips and activities. 

    August Alliance programs will consist of daily swim and a variety of developmentally appropriate trips and activities. Program options will be available on a week to week 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?
    Both the Spring and Summer Camps  provides a healthy and delicious snack and lunch for campers. A menu for the each week will be available on the previous Friday.  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. If you choose this option, it is imperative that you keep in mind that Camp is nut-aware camp and we do not allow nut products of any kind. The term “nut-aware” applies to every space at camp and any trip destinations. Please do not bring nuts of any kind and then wash your hands upon entering the building.

    While sensitive to the needs of children with nut allergies, Bank Street College cannot guarantee a 100 percent nut-awareenvironment 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.

    The camp will provides snacks for the campers in the morning as well as in the Extended Day Program. Fresh fruit and crackers is provided for snack and, on extremely hot weather, juice will be provided at well.

    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.

    Check out today's Lunch Menu for the school. This is the same chef the Middle and Upper Camp used in the summer. 

  • 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?


    The Camp has a nurse on site. She is available all day from 8am 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 will be sent to our on-site nurse. The nurse will evaluate and care for all sick campers, and contact the head counselor, Camp Director, and Parents/Guardians if it the concern is deemed important or serious. 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. 


                All campers are required to be checked for lice before the start of each session. The Camp will provide lice checks on the Friday before each session at no addition fee. However if a camper has not been checked by the start of camp, that camper must be checked by the provided checkers in a designated “checking room” before he/she can be dropped off with his/her group. There will be an automatic charge for those families who are checked on the first day.


    As a community, and Bank Street Camp has certain rules in place for the general safety of the camp as a whole. We need your help and cooperation in observing these rules when you are here with your children, visiting after camp, and for special events.  Please help us by respecting and supporting the following expectations:

    • No running or rough housing anywhere in the building

    • No outdoor-type games inside, especially the lobby or in front of the school

    • No shouting, or any use of 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 allow 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

    Your child 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. 

     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. 

    IMPORTANT: These guidelines should help parents determine if their child should attend camp or other activities. Your child 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.

  • What is the Summer Camp Resource Center?
    The Bank Street Summer Camp Resource Center is a resource for families to use when navigating the Summer Camp world. Parents are always asking us how to begin the process of finding a Summer Camp program, so we have put together the Summer Camp Resource Center, complete with questions parents can ask camps and resources parents can reach out to.