We had a bit of tension with my daughter's school this week, as her class was going away for a school camp, with two nights away (not a last minute thing, we had been informed at the beginning of the school year - "it's optional").

For 5 & 6 year-olds.

We said "no", and caught some flak because we were the only ones and our daughter would be 'missing out'.

I hesitated a lot over this one, as our daughter was quite keen too. But I just didn't like the feeling of being pushed into a decision which I feel is ours to take, not the school's.

The message that I perceived was "we consider that at that age, it is good for children to start becoming independent from their parents". I debate that opinion, but what I disagree with most of all is that the school should be trespassing in a domain which - to me - clearly has to do with upbringing, and not education.

Admittedly, we're 'late' parents, and maybe more protective than average. But it's our right, and I strongly resent any pressure to be otherwise. Independence comes fast enough as it is, and what's the big hurry anyway? I was 10 the first time I slept away from home, and that was with family, not in a dormitory.

What do you think? What would you do?

asked 17 Jun '10, 04:52

Benjol's gravatar image

accept rate: 5%

"we consider that at that age, it is good for children to start becoming independent from their parents".

Ummm, no. I think they can be dependent for a wee while longer, thank you. They're 5. I wouldn't have let my older kids go when they were that age either, and if it comes up with the little ones, I'll say "no thank you" then too. (Which is highly unlikely, here the first school camping trip is usually grade 6, so, 11 and 12 year olds.)

I don't think you're being overprotective, I think you're doing what's right for your child and your family, when she's old enough to be away from home without you or her Mom with her is your decision to make, not her schools.

I've also found that schools tend to encourage "herd mentality" in parents (although, not necessarily intentionally). It's really hard to buck the trend of what teachers and administrators feel will be best when you've been conditioned from when you were 5 years old to "listen to your teacher". Even as a parent it's tough to overcome that conditioning. Good for you for stopping and thinking, I'd bet there were other parents of children in your daughters class who had the same reservations, but went along because "it's what they do at that school".


answered 17 Jun '10, 06:01

Neen's gravatar image

accept rate: 30%


@Neen, thanks for your answer :) It's true that I derive a certain pleasure from 'daring' to stand up to the 'authorities'. There were at least 4 other parents who approached my wife saying they didn't want to send their children. I'm not sure if they stayed the course or not.

(17 Jun '10, 08:08) Benjol

I'm a late parent, too, but I don't think that's what makes me say I agree with you.

Our daughter is 6 and my initial reaction reading the question was "no way would I let her go off for 2 days."

After thinking about it a bit, I guess I might be ok with it, but there would be a lot of "ifs", along the lines of:

  • if I knew all the supervisors well enough to know that they'd do a good job
  • if I though the place they were going was safe enough

answered 22 Jun '10, 21:27

Ward's gravatar image

accept rate: 8%

Just another opinion but I'm also a late mom and pretty protective of my wee lass. She is just 4 - will start JK this week but I can't imagine having a problem with a well supervised overnight trip. I was 5 when I went to week-long over night camp and camp became a beloved time for me. I ended up as a counsellor till I was 18 and then a camp director. I think overnights do foster self assurance and self reliance and those are skills to be built at any age. But of course, ultimately, you are the only ones that know your daughter and know what you are comfortable with. So in that, you'd only get support from me.


answered 03 Sep '10, 15:09

Kim's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

I'm not a late mum, I had my first when I was 25, but I also think 5/6 yrs old is really young for a lot of kids to spend time away from parents/other well-known guardians. My eight year old has still only spent nights away with grandparents, no-one else, although I think she'd probably fine now, the opportunity hasn't arisen. I'm sure that it's not true of all kids, children vary a lot, but you know your child and your family situation better than anyone.


answered 03 Sep '10, 15:14

Meg%20Stephenson's gravatar image

Meg Stephenson
accept rate: 7%

I dont think kids should go to school camps at all and there should certainly be no pressure for any child to go. I have refused to send my kids several times and the school makes you feel like you are doing something really awfull to your child by not letting them go. You actually have to come up with really good excuses just to justify yourself to the school. My kids are older now but i have grandkids in the same boat now. When my kids where at the camp age there where so many incidents that really turned you off them. Kids drowning , Caregivers drinking. Always the same parents get picked for the camps. You have to be on the special school list to be one of the choosen parents to go . No i would definetly NOT send my kids ever. I think more parents should speak up and say NO to the school and not be bullied into sending your kids.


answered 13 Mar '13, 00:47

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gail moore
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Asked: 17 Jun '10, 04:52

Seen: 4,925 times

Last updated: 30 Mar '13, 05:07