Help! Is the camp rubbish or is something else?

(25 Posts)
Holidaymyarse Mon 08-Jul-13 10:11:37

I really need some advice as this is all new to me, and I don't have any help or frame of reference.

My dd is 4 and this is the first summer holiday from a school which she adores. A play scheme advertised on the school website for drama, singing and dance activities for the first 2 weeks of the holidays. It's pretty full on, all day but she has loved all things like this we have done before so I thought it would be great. It was extremely expensive (£700).

She went for the first day, I was a bit nervous leaving her and asked if I could check at lunchtime to see how she was. My dd is v confident and outgoing so I've no reason other than her being my pfb to be concerned. The lady in charge said please don't come back as it gives the other kids hope, but she took my number in case of any problems.

After the 3rd day my dd has refused to go. She said its boring and some of the boys are naughty. When pushed she named a specific boy was being nasty to her and she would go back but only if not in the same group as him.

I emailed the leader but she has make me feel like a complete nutter. She said no such boy exists and that my dd was v happy there and that I should send her back even if she tells me she doesn't want to go. She said she's spoke to the teacher I spoke to the first day and heard all about the conversation we had ( ie I'm a nervous nutter) but I only asked and gave my number and went away happily.

I've asked my dd to try again but she refused saying you said it was just for fun but its not fun. I am loathe to force her but am I being a nutty mummy? I would love the break tbh, the baby is up all night and I'm tired. I had another look on the website and none of the kids on there are smiling, it all feels a bit weird. I asked if there was any chance of changing classes or money back to send her elsewhere and got a firm no. I've spoken to my dd about lying but she insists she's telling the truth.

Help! What do you do? It's all new to me and I'm not sure how to deal with these situations. I also don't want to be a crazy mother and feel a bit depressed it was implied and am doubting everything I do now:-(

DameFanny Mon 08-Jul-13 10:17:23

70 quid a day shock

I'd be insisting on my money back as the service is not fit for purpose. Do you know any other parents you can talk to about this?

Eyesunderarock Mon 08-Jul-13 10:20:37

It's one of those things you just have to chalk up to experience, and I don't think you are being silly, it just hasn't turned out how you expected it to. Don't doubt yourself.
From your DD's POV it's boring and other children are irritating her and she doesn't want to go.
From the scheme's POV, you took and paid for a place that they could have sold to someone else, so unless you can prove that they are not doing what they promised, no refund.
It seems very unfair that they are not going to put a bit more effort into trying to help both of you settle and be happy, but they are running a business, and perhaps the money is way more important to them.
You can make DD go, or coax her, but that might upset you more if she starts fussing or gets upset. Are any of the school staff involved in the scheme, or is it a separate commercial enterprise that is renting the premises?
There isn't an easy answer. Sorry. sad

SoupDragon Mon 08-Jul-13 10:20:42

£700 ! shock

For that I would expect better.

Eyesunderarock Mon 08-Jul-13 10:21:54

'I'd be insisting on my money back as the service is not fit for purpose'

You'd need to prove that what they offered was not what was promised, and that the faults were real and not simply the perceptions of a 4 year old.

Eyesunderarock Mon 08-Jul-13 10:23:02

'A play scheme advertised on the school website for drama, singing and dance activities for the first 2 weeks of the holidays. '

Have they not done these activities? What else did they promise?

FannyFifer Mon 08-Jul-13 10:25:26

Wtf, £700, that is bloody mental.

Most normal groups etc encourage parents to stay for a bit or pop in.

RoooneyMara Mon 08-Jul-13 10:27:42

check the website for terms and conditions, it might have something about cancellation.

Also check internet reviews.

Don't keep sending her if it is crap - and she's not happy - also can you name and shame on here?

If it is 70 quid a day, it must be a private school. Usually this type of thing cost in the region of £25 per day, and with discounts for full weeks.

lj123 Mon 08-Jul-13 10:37:25

If I was you I'd talk to them again, explain how you are no longer comfortable with leaving your daughter in their care and you will be contacting ofsted regarding the situation with the child and the way everything so being dealt with, usually if you mention ofsted and they know they are doing wrong, you'll get your money back!
wink

Eyesunderarock Mon 08-Jul-13 10:39:39

But what exactly has happened? Other than a small child changing her mind?

Holidaymyarse Mon 08-Jul-13 10:42:35

Thank you so much for responding! First time poster, I had sweaty palms!

I can't prove anything, you had to drop and run there was no opportunity to stay. My dd is v chatty and outgoing but when it comes to asking her about her day even at school she always says 'I don't remember' or 'it was good but now my voice is tired'. At other things I've always had some time to watch her a bit or I've just relied on her keenness to return. This is the 1st time she has refused anything like this. All she says is that she is fed up of singing in the choir.

My friends with kids didn't do it as they had more than 1 child to send so it would be too expensive.

It's at a different venue to her school a bit further away. I don't know any of the other parents there although there seems to be a lot less than at the beginning judging by the emails I get about costumes etc.

So chalk it up then? And don't do any in future without a recommendation I guess! Feel sick about the loss of money but relieved I'm not being stupid.

Mrsrobertduvall Mon 08-Jul-13 10:48:47

Sounds like it's just too intense for a four year old.
Not the club's fault.

DameFanny Mon 08-Jul-13 10:48:48

For that money - equating to a full time wage - I'd expect the scheme to deal with concerns in a more sympathetic manner and do more to ensure the child's enjoyment. What would happen if you just said I'm staying for an hour?

Eyesunderarock Mon 08-Jul-13 10:50:04

What have you done to think yourself stupid? confused
Inexperience on the part of you and your DD, the scheme not being welcoming, that's not stupidity or over-reaction.

Eyesunderarock Mon 08-Jul-13 10:51:26

Stick to shorter activities until she finds what she really likes and can cope with.

Erm... Your daughter hates it. It's the school holiday. It's meant to be fun but it isn't. Keep her home. She is 4.
She is only wee, and I'm assuming that she has only just started school. Let her enjoy the holiday. It's counter productive to get small children doing too much. Just let her have the holidays to rest and recharge and enjoy her free time.
You aren't stupid and you haven't done anything wrong. There is nothing other than the word of a stranger to suggest that your daughter is t telljng anything other than the truth! The person in charge blatantly wants your money and isn't likely to part with it in a hurry. I think you will have to write this off to experience and move on. sad

Holidaymyarse Mon 08-Jul-13 11:05:12

Sorry, yes we live abroad but it's a program designed for the English kids. Usually these things cost about half the price but I thought it sounded really amazing and I was tired....

So yes, basically dd has changed her mind I guess. I have no other evidence to the contrary. What do you say to your kids when they do something like this? Do you force them or do you write it off? Do you complain to the organisers even though you don't know really what's happened?

Both me and dh had awful childhoods, lack of food and attention blah blah. We want her to enjoy the opportunities she's got and not know about our past but its hard now she's bored and moaning not to bite and tell her to be bloody grateful. She's not normally a brat in any way but I'm finding this tricky.

Just roll with it. Like I said there's no evidence that anything she said didn't happen and she is only four. Just go with the flow and when she's bored, go for a walk, or do something free. Even if she had just changed her mind, that's not bratty, its just being a little one. smile there will be a myriad of clubs and activities that she totally MUST join because all her friends are/its the in thing which will last a week or a month and then fade away, its par for the course. Never sign for a full course of anything, and don't pay for expensive equipment until you know they'll stick to it! wink
Fwiw what you have told us points me to think this club is as awful as she says, and the attitude of the person in charge reinforces this. Drop and run, no daytime peeking, this kid doesn't exist, no you aren't getting your money back... I'd personally expect a little more sympathy from someone running an activity for 4yos!

Both me and dh had awful childhoods, lack of food and attention blah blah. We want her to enjoy the opportunities she's got and not know about our past but its hard now she's bored and moaning not to bite and tell her to be bloody grateful. She's not normally a brat in any way but I'm finding this tricky.
Been there, done that. The trouble is, you need to have been in the crap situation to appreciate the good one. The things you give are just normal for your kids and they take them for granted. It's very hard not to live vicariously through your children, especially when you didn't have the best start yourself, but unless you tell them repeatedly everyday what you went through, they won't know realise just what you are doing for them, and if you do tell them repeatedly, they will become resentful and still not really get it.
Try and just be happy in the knowledge that your child isn't going through what you did, and that she is in a position to take the good things for granted, make her comfortable and happy, don't spoil her and love her loads. X

Holidaymyarse Mon 08-Jul-13 11:23:16

Thanks everyone! Sorry I'm slow to read and type, just chill out and forget about it I think is the consensus! Itl take me a while to get over the money side but I will secretly seethe and be grateful myself! Thanks for taking the time to help me.

SoupDragon Mon 08-Jul-13 11:31:03

I would be tempted to go back with my DD and ask her to identify the boy who was being nasty to her.

BadSkiingMum Mon 08-Jul-13 11:33:29

I am an ex-teacher and suspect that, although the description of the course might say '4 - 11', the activities and arrangements are unlikely to be really suitable for children of her age.

She is used to being in an early-years environment, with plenty of age-appropriate activities and equipment, regular breaks and children her own age. Whereas, dance and drama camps are likely to mixed age-groups, being in a large room without much else to do, concentrating for long periods and quite a bit of waiting around.

As you have paid, you could try finding out if she wants to go for one last day and see if her feelings have changed. Or, ask the organisers if you can defer the camp to next year when she might be more ready for that kind of activity.

AlienAttack Fri 19-Jul-13 22:05:29

And £700 is a huge amount to pay, even for full-day camps/courses. I think you have to accept this didn't work out and write the money off

Picturesinthefirelight Fri 19-Jul-13 22:15:15

My goodness that's ridiculous!

I run summer schools (acting singing & dance) for children aged 4-16

The 4-6 year olds do half a day they do a mixture of games activities, dance, storytelling etc with regular breaks & changes of activity. It costs £95 per week.

The 7-16 year olds put on a musical in a week. They have dance and singing classes and do drama exercises then rehearse a show. It's an intense week, fun but hard work. Way too much for the younger ones. It costs £135 for the week.

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