Sun, Sand Surf and a Pop Quiz

by gurumommy on January 5, 2010

in hot topics

After our trip I came across this article in Wall Street Journal:  Sun, Sand Surf and a Pop Quiz, about vacations with a ‘learning’ focus and thought what a great idea! Andrea Peterson writes that: Kids Take a Working Vacation Studying Leaves, Turtles and Mandarin While Mom and Dad Chill Poolside.  For most people, a resort vacation means lounging on the beach and sipping tropical drinks by the pool. For Jillian Haversat, a recent trip to Florida also included biology lessons, pop quizzes and “no-talking-without-raising-your-hand” rules. That’s because Jillian, an 11-year-old from Guilford, Conn., was taking part in the Ritz-Carlton, Naples kids’ program. In the program, “Nature’s Wonders,” participants wear mini-lab coats and peer under microscopes to examine the cell structure of plants. Another activity teaches kids about the feeding habits of red-footed tortoises (Their favorite meal: cat food and worms.) Kids also play a a version of “bingo” with words like “conifers” and “ornithology.”  Hotel and resort kids’ programs are becoming more lavish—and more overtly educational—particularly among high-end hotels. The programs, where parents can drop off their children for a few hours or even all day, used to include not much more than supervised swimming and the occasional Disney movie.
At the “Mini MO” clubs at Mandarin Oriental hotels, for example, an instructor teaches kids words and phrases in Mandarin. At Hyatt Corp.’s Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort and Spa at Gainey Ranch in Arizona, “Camp Hyatt” participants are given environmental lessons with details about the resort’s “aquatically balanced” lagoon pond and solar-energy initiatives. The kids’ club has its own demonstration solar panel. Rosewood Hotel & Resorts’ Little Dix Bay in the British Virgin Islands has a marine biologist on staff to teach in the “Children’s Grove” program about the area’s coral reef and marine life. At “AKA,” the $5 million-plus, 8,000 square-foot kids’ club that Atlantis, Paradise Island (owned by Kerzner International Holdings Ltd.) in the Bahamas opened in December, kids get instruction on table etiquette while they learn to cook candy pizzas and molten cakes. The club also has everything from a performance stage with costume-strewn dressing rooms to a reading room with a talking

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