SUMMER EXPLORERS CAMP
I went back to work full-time in November and ever since it has been a pretty crazy juggling act. Summer camp has thrown a whole new level of chaos into the mix with its late start times, morning only programs, 3:00 p.m. end times and additional fees for aftercare. But if you read this blog then you are most likely a parent and I am preaching to the choir.
To minimize the crazy I wanted to find a camp that would let me drop off and pick up the boys on the way to and from work. Because of the Annual Preschool Survey I run I knew that The Primrose School had opened up last summer at 16th and Market. I also knew that Primrose caters to working parents… they have early drop off, late pick up, provide snacks and lunch all for one price. I called the owner Allison and asked her about her Summer Explorers program. My biggest concern was that The Primrose School is a preschool and I wanted to make sure that their program would be right for the boys (ages 6 & 7 )and keep them busy. Allison assured me they were so much more than a preschool and reminded me that they are a popular choice for many families in that area for aftercare during the school year.
Let’s fast forward to the first day…. better yet let’s fast forward to the end of their first day at The Primrose School. My plan was to pick them up at 5:00 p.m. I had a meeting that ran late so I left my building, booked it two blocks to The Primrose School, and when I got up to the second floor my boys (who love me to bits) barely looked at me. In fact as Ollie ran by he asked if they could stay a little longer. They were playing tag around a giant indoor fire truck with their Summer Explorer friends and some of the younger kids. Henry and Ollie had clearly found their place. By day two they have dubbed themselves and their friend R “the three musketeers” and by Thursday they had already hit two spraygrounds and took a field trip to Independence Hall for a kid focused marching event. It is also worth calling out that they fell asleep on the way home the first day before we even two blocks away. The boys absolutely love the program at Primrose.
Parent to parent…If you work in Center City like I do the convenience of the camp was a total game changer for our family that week. It was awesome to have travel buddies on the way to and from work on the subway. It gave us extra time to be together before I went to work. Like I mentioned before, my meeting ran over but it was not an issue because they were right down the street. Primrose supplies their lunches and snacks. Not having to pack lunch all week was a nice break. The Primrose School uses an app called Tadpoles. I downloaded the app and got updates of the boys non-stop all day. While I was bopping in and out of design meetings for Five Below I got pictures of them in the fountains at Dilworth Plaza or Sister City’s Park, or making moon mud outside. The week the boys were there they focused on traveling back in time in the time machine they build out of boxes and each day focused on a different era. They made friends, they were bummed when I showed up at 5:00 pm to pick them up, and they were exhausted at the end of everyday.
A really nice added feature that I didn’t expect to get was extra time. We got to be together more in the morning and in the afternoon on the subway and on the walks home. I got a little more time each night because I wasn’t cleaning out and packing lunches. It might not seem like much but all of that time really added up.
***It is important to note here that The Primrose School is what is known as a “gap camp” location. For newbies that means that they provide camp when no one else does. For example every year 95% of the camps end about 2-3 weeks before school actually starts. That is 2-3 weeks that you are left finding care for your kiddos and it is stressful to say the least. The Primrose School also does care for school aged kids on those random days that kids have off school but you clearly don’t have off work.
***Another thing worth noting. The Primrose School has a summer collaboration with Maxwell’s Sports Camp. Maxwell’s Sports camp is great, located at Star Garden, and runs from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Now your kiddos can go to Maxwell’s in the morning and Primrose in the afternoon. That is a combo that can’t be beat.
I am grateful to Allison for hosting the boys for a week so we could become hooked on The Primrose School and the boys will be back for additional weeks this summer for sure. If you have questions about the camp do what I did, call The Primrose School, talk to Allison and just start asking!
An awesome sidenote for expecting parents…Primrose is one of the few locations that cares for infants but the coolest part about that is mother’s are welcome to pop in anytime during their work day to nurse. How great is that?