and tags appropriately.What is the Essence of Summer Nurseries and How Do On-Duty Groups Operate in Childcare?

Kate Chered
4 min readDec 12, 2023

Summer brings a time of joy and freedom for children, marked by a three-month vacation from the usual school routine and structured activities. This period, however, often presents a challenge for working parents, who typically have far shorter vacation periods. As a solution, summer nurseries and on-duty groups in childcare facilities become a viable option. This article delves into the specifics of these summer arrangements, contrasting them with the regular functioning of childcare institutions.

Understanding the Operational Shift in Childcare During Summer: From Regular to On-Duty Mode

State-run childcare centers in the United States are mandated to remain operational throughout the year, including summer, to provide continuous care for children. In contrast, private institutions may operate based on contractual agreements. Typically, from September through June, these facilities follow a standard mode of operation. Come summer, the scenario changes significantly.

Many childcare workers take vacations during this period. With fewer children in attendance, smaller nurseries often merge their attendees into a regional childcare center, while larger ones switch to an on-duty mode. This consolidation combines various age groups, such as integrating toddlers with nursery-age children, leaving just one group each for middle and older children. The staff overseeing these groups are those who haven’t taken their leave.

What Parents Should Consider When Opting for Summer Nurseries

Changes in environment and caregivers can be challenging for young children, who often struggle with adapting to new routines and faces. Such transitions can lead to stress and a subsequent reluctance to attend the nursery. Parents should weigh this aspect carefully, considering alternatives such as seeking assistance from relatives or friends.

The Unique Nature of Summer Nurseries: Adaptations and Activities

Even if a child adapts well to the summer nursery setup, it’s crucial for parents to understand that activities during this period differ significantly from the regular curriculum. Due to limited staffing, individual attention to children might decrease. However, a key advantage of summer nurseries is the emphasis on outdoor activities. Children spend more time outdoors, engaging in pool activities, sports competitions, nature explorations, and group reading sessions, fostering different learning and development.

In conclusion, summer nurseries and on-duty groups offer a practical solution for working parents during summer. While these arrangements come with their challenges and differences from the regular nursery set up, they provide a valuable service by ensuring children are cared for, engaged, and safe during the parents’ working hours. Understanding these nuances helps parents make informed decisions about their child’s summer care.


How Do Summer Nurseries Differ from Regular Childcare Facilities?

Summer nurseries adapt to a more flexible, often consolidated structure to accommodate the reduced staff and child attendance during the summer months. Unlike regular childcare, summer nurseries often combine different age groups into fewer classes and focus more on outdoor and leisure activities. This shift caters to the seasonal decrease in attendance and the availability of staff, who often take their vacations during this period.

Where Can Parents Find Information About Summer Nurseries in Their Area?

Parents can find information about summer nurseries by contacting local childcare centers or state education departments. Additionally, many communities have online forums or parent groups where one can get recommendations and reviews. Visiting local nurseries and speaking directly with the staff can also provide valuable insights into their summer programs.

What Should Parents Consider Before Enrolling Their Child in a Summer Nursery?

Parents should consider the child’s adaptability to new environments and caregivers, as summer nurseries often involve changing routine and staff. It’s also important to evaluate the activities offered and ensure they align with the child’s interests and needs. Safety protocols, staff qualifications, and the overall ethos of the nursery should also be assessed.

When Do Summer Nurseries Typically Open and What Are Their Operating Hours?

Summer nurseries generally align with the traditional summer vacation period, which varies depending on the region but usually spans from late May or early June to August or early September. Their operating hours can differ from regular childcare centers, often with extended hours to accommodate working parents’ schedules during the summer.

How Are Activities in Summer Nurseries Planned to Cater to Different Age Groups?

In summer nurseries, activities are planned with a focus on inclusivity and adaptability to cater to mixed age groups. These activities often include outdoor play, arts and crafts, educational games, and water-based activities. Staff members are trained to modify these activities to suit the developmental needs of different age groups within the same setting.

Originally published at on December 12, 2023.