The Power of Inclusion for Your Child

Has your child ever felt excluded by others, either in their classes, peer groups, or on teams? It’s a very common experience for young people as they learn to navigate friendships, boundaries, politeness, and behavioral norms. Social exclusion has negative effects on a child’s emotional and psychological development and can create mental health problems for years to come.

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Adolescence is a time that is very internally focused for your teen or pre-teen. There are so many changes going on with their hormones, bodies, and emotions. Additionally, their sexuality is just awakening, and they are learning what they like and don’t like, are attracted to and turned off by. They are learning the pain of rejection and the sting of unrequited affection. Friends from their younger years may no longer be good fits, and their social circles may be in upheaval. Feeling lonely and left out is a painful part of the middle and high school years.

To top it off, children are maturing at vastly different rates, leading to more issues with feeling that they don’t fit in. Unfortunately, it is an all-too-common experience for teens who may be ahead of or behind the average in terms of maturity to be excluded by others. And if your child has any quirks or fandoms or eccentricities that their peers may deem “not normal,” they will be a target even further. Add other marginalizations such as gender, neurodifference, sexuality, ethnicity, and body size, and the experience of adolescence is alienating indeed.

This devastating exclusion and alienation lead to high rates of depression, self-harm, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts among teens. Parents may feel at a loss for what to do to help their child, and hope that they can just get through it by aging out of it. One powerful thing parents can do for their socially excluded child is provide them with an experience where they feel powerfully and purposefully included. Helping your child feel accepted and empowered as themselves lets them understand their value and improves their esteem and sense of identity.

happy campers at Magischola Prep on Swarthmore's big chair
Our eldest campers transfigured the Adirondack chair to be large enough for all of them, and told the younger ones to “get off their lawn.”

Providing powerful and intentional inclusion is where Magischola Prep summer camp comes in. It’s our mission to create a community where each and every camper is accepted, included, valued, and treats their peers with the same respect and care that they receive.

Magischola Prep’s founder has two decades of experience in culturally responsive teaching, working with marginalized youth, counseling and designing curricula and experiences to improve community and inclusion, and helping young people discover themselves.

All Magischola Prep staff are trained in these skills, and the purpose of the wizard school experience is to create an alternative society in which these inclusion principles are embodied, modeled, and experienced. It is life-changing for our campers, many of whom feel accepted among peers for the first time.

Feedback from our 2018 families revealed that 86% of parents strongly agreed with the statement “My child felt included at Magischola Prep” and 100% of parents either agreed or strongly agreed. Ninety-four percent of campers said they strongly agreed that they felt safe and included at camp, and 84% strongly agreed that they made real-life friends through camp.

Let’s listen to what some of our parents and students have said:

“It is very inclusive and everyone respects you and your personal boundaries or beliefs.” — 2018 Camper

 

“The inclusivity was amazing and it did wonders for my child’s confidence and independence. She had so much fun and it was clear the staff prepared well. She especially liked that they checked in with the campers to tailor the experience to them. She felt safe and supported and really felt the magic they created together.”  — 2018 Parent

 

“Don’t be Afraid, there’s a second family waiting here for you that’s just like you. 💖” — 2018 Camper

 

There are limited spots available for the 2019 Magischola Prep session. Camp will be held July 14-20, 2019 on the Swarthmore College campus. You can secure a spot for your child with a $250 deposit. The balance will be due by June 1, 2019.

Camp is open to students who will be in grades 6 through 12 in the 2019-20 school year, or who have graduated high school in 2019 but have not year turned 18 by July 14.