More Summer Learning Fun

It looks like we aren’t the only ones thinking about how to make the summer a fun and educational experience! Here are some other resources to help you plan an enjoyable summer and sneak in some learning opportunities while you’re at it:

You can find these and more resources on our Summertime Pinterest board

5 Ways to Sneak Learning into Summer Fun

5 ways to sneak learning into summer fun

Summer vacation is a much needed break from the rigors of the school year, for both parents and their children. But while it’s a perfect time to lounge by the pool and indulge in more leisurely activities, the summer also presents a unique opportunity to keep your children intellectually engaged and educationally stimulated in fun and novel ways. Kids certainly need a break from homework and teachers, but that doesn’t mean they need a break from learning! Here are six fun ways to keep your children entertained, educated, and engaged this summer:

  1. Check out the local library.  Most libraries have a reading program or contest for kids during the summer. Frederick County Public Libraries has two Summer Reading Programs, one for children up to grade 5 and another for grade 6 and up. Adams County libraries have a “Dig into Reading” Summer Program, which encourages kids to read at least one hour a week, and has weekly prizes for those who sign up and complete the challenges. Not close to a library? Try hosting your own neighborhood book club with your children and their friends. It’ll be an incentive to read more, and as a bonus, you’ll get to socialize with the other parents.
  2. Investigate history. The Emmitsburg-Gettysburg area presents wonderful opportunities to study historical events. Even if you live here, act like a tourist: take any of the battlefield tours that are offered, visit the Diorama at the Gettysburg History Center, and walk around the museums. In less than an hour, you can continue the historical experience by visiting Antietam and Sharpsburg in Maryland, or browsing the medical exhibits at the National Museum of Civil War Medicine in downtown Frederick, MD. There aren’t too many kids who aren’t fascinated by stories of the battles or seeing genuine artifacts of the war. They’ll enjoy it so much they won’t even realize they are learning something in the process!
  3. Take a nature walk. Why not take advantage of all the state and national parks in the area to commune with nature? A leisurely hike along any of the numerous trails in Catoctin Mountain Park or nearby is a fantastic way to enjoy the Great Outdoors. Walking (or bike riding) through any of the beautiful parks nearby offers a double benefit of exercising the body and the mind.
  4. Enroll in summer camp. At many private and public summer camps, children can learn a variety of skills—swimming, archery, fishing, kayaking, etc. Sports-themed camps are quite popular with children; it allows them to develop their natural talents, as well as learn new skills and sports. Check with your local Boy and Girl Scout organizations, area churches, and schools for camps that might appeal to your family. Mother Seton School will be hosting an Extended Learning Camp for rising 3rd- and 4th-graders from June 16-20, “The Fabulous Five”. No budget for camp? Host your own backyard camp. Encourage kids to use their imagination in coming up with activities to do and projects to create. This would also be a good time to teach kitchen skills, since every camper must eat. Help them prepare the day’s meals and snacks.
  5. Enjoy the summer nights. Download a star map and try to pick out the constellations in the sky. Or chase fireflies with the kids and study them when they are caught. Make s’mores over a fire pit and sing camp songs. Even just sitting quietly to listen to the evening sounds can be an enjoyable and educational experience.

Always keep an eye out for a learning opportunity, but above all, have fun this summer!

Spread the Word: Positive Reviews Make a Huge Difference for All of Our Families

Thumbs-Up-and-DownWord of mouth is the number one way that new families are referred to our school. That’s why we often ask you, our parents, to be sure to talk about our school to your friends, neighbors, family–anyone who might be interested. But another way word of mouth works is through reviews of our school online.

You might have noticed our Facebook page has a review option. You can rate us with 1 to 5 starts, and you have the option to leave more detailed feedback. Great Schools also has a similar review feature, as does Private School Review. Those are just a few of the places you can leave a review. Currently, we rate 4 out of 5 stars on Facebook and Great Schools.

Rarely is an online review, be it positive or negative, the sole factor in deciding whether or not to enroll in our school. However, for those parents who may not know someone personally at the school, this is one way for them to get a little insight into the school from a parents’ perspective.

A positive review can help encourage a family to consider enrolling here, which makes a huge difference to our current families. How? Because growing our enrollment means that we will have a stronger school, with more money in the budget to improve the curriculum, hire more teachers, expand extra-curricular offerings, and keep tuition costs down. More families also mean a larger pool of volunteers to draw from.

The opposite is also true. Negative reviews may go in a family’s “Con” column, and discourage them from enthusiastically enrolling. It makes our job in Enrollment Management that much harder to convince families that Mother Seton School is the best place for their child. Lower enrollment means less money to improve upon our school, higher tuition rates to make up the difference, and fewer families to tap as volunteers.

Have you ever seen signs at businesses that read, “If you had a great experience, tell a friend! If you have a bad experience, tell us!”? We feel the same way. We understand that not everyone is happy with the school for various reasons. And we would never ask anyone to be dishonest and leave a 5-star review for us if they truly didn’t feel it in their heart. But if you do have an issue with the school that would make you want to leave a negative review, we hope that you would tell us first so we could have the chance to make things right or address any concerns. This is why we have an anonymous parent satisfaction survey each year. The results of the survey go the Board of Directors–the people who oversee the school and administration here, i.e., the people in a position to make changes. Your online review, however, will most likely only be seen by prospective families, whether it’s positive or negative.

So before you submit your next review, ask yourself this:

  • Is it a fair evaluation?
  • Am I specific in my praise/criticism?
  • Does my review provide useful information for prospective families?

Word of mouth can make all the difference in recruiting new students and growing our student base, and can affect the quality of education and school culture at MSS. What word will you be spreading?