1. What age children do most of the families you work with have? Will you work with preschool children?
We work with all ages. Most of our families have children that are in elementary and middle school. But we do not shy away from preschool children! We adore them! You would be amazed at how perceptive they are when they are actively engaged! The most fun—and a really good situation for learning—is a family with mixed ages.
2. Do you offer school course credits for high school students?
No, we are not able to offer course credits. We don’t use a standard curriculum that is approved by an accrediting authority. Rather we create a curriculum for your travels that is just yours and matches what your children are studying in school or what you want them to experience as you travel to the destinations on your itinerary. We would be more than happy to discuss the possibility of being a part of the credit scene with your child's school.
3. Do you create or have programs/tours just for kids, without their parents?
No, we don’t work with kids without their parents. We think it’s very important for parents to be present to reinforce experiences and create more energy around these experiences. Their presence gives common ground for more discussion and comparisons later on. This sharing does not so readily happen when children and parents have separate experiences.
We can, however, arrange for a sitter to give you some time away from your children for a short while.
4. What makes your guides special?
Guides come in all shapes and sizes and with many different skills. Our guides see the importance of sharing more than just facts and figures; more than who did what, when and where. They are good at turning things upside down and looking at them from different angles. They are also great story tellers and see how things in one part of the world connect with those in another. They are enthusiastic participants in embellishing the story that is taking you and your family around the world!
5. Are you travel agents? Do you book international planes and trains and boats?
No, Children's Concierge staff are not travel agents. But we have a cadre of really great travel agents with whom we work who book long-haul and international planes and trains and boats for our families. They understand the ins and outs of traveling as a family. And they work extremely hard to make sure our families receive the best possible bookings. In other words, they are very picky!!
6. Do you offer hotel suggestions and then actually make hotel bookings for a family that uses your service.
Yes we’re more than happy to make hotel reservations for our families.We will be glad to book any hotel that you suggest/request. Or, we might suggest a hotel that we know will offer something special or has an interesting experience especially for our families. We're quite fortunate to have discovered some wonderful hoteliers who get really excited about receiving our families!
7. You talk about educational experiences. Does this mean you don’t plan things that are recreational and just plain ol’ fun?
Oh, my, no! We definitely believe in fun! We want everything you do on your travels to be enjoyable. There is nothing better than laughing right out loud! And we are the kings and queens of silly! But, if you are most interested in family time together at a beach or skiing on some famous slopes or you mainly want to spend time at a resort, you just don’t need our services. We can certainly make the booking for you. But you do not really need us!
8. Where does a family actually “do” the curriculum you create? What does this mean?
Doing the curriculum is really simple. It just means exploring sites with some questions in hand that should be addressed or some activities to be completed at that site. for instance—Let's say your child is working on learning about money in all its different forms around the world. On a given day a local guide may take your family to a market and arrange with one or two of the vendors for your child to buy some items at their stands. Buying might mean considering which items to be purchased, haggling over the price and then coming up with the correct amount of money needed and perhaps even making change, all in a foreign currency. Your job would be to support the child through this process, to be enthusiastic about completing the task and to make connections to other money experiences the child/family has had.
We've found that everything is so much richer when everyone is involved! That's all doing the curriculum means. And this doing happens in the real world, as you are exploring. We'll create the questions or activities and make the arrangements with the local people that set the stage for things to happen. Parents just become involved and shepherd the happening. And, of course, have fun!
There may be times during your travels when you might need to spend special time with your child working on specific reading or math skills that must be mastered—explaining or drilling or reinforcing, etc. Local guides and drivers and artisans would not be expected to carryout these tasks. If you are employing a tutor, these tasks could fall into the tutor's job description.
9. Do you use a published curriculum?
We do not subscribe to a published curriculum. There really is no curriculum for learning around the world, using the destinations you visit as classrooms. There are, however, many published curricula for the math and language arts portions of your child's studies. And we are more than happy to embellish your chosen one of these in as many ways as we can! We can also take the Standard's of Learning that your child's home school uses and carry these out in your around the world settings.
10. Do you offer group tours/walks that families might join?
We do not run our own group tours/walks in different setting around the world. (We do run some in our hometown of Washington, DC). However we know where there are some really good ones and sometimes they just might find their way onto a family's itinerary. Most of the time we prefer private tours/walks. You just get a better feel for things when you're one-to-one with a guide. But, there are those times when it's just a good idea to be with other kids and their parents. It just works best! And we can arrange these.
11. Can a family use your service if they just want to explore one destination, say Boston, MA or Istanbul, Turkey for only a few days?
Yes, of course! But we do ask a whole lot of questions, regardless of how long our services are needed. Sorry! And we still will push for things to be educational.
12. Well, are you a travel agency or a school?
Oh, my! Well, we do many things that both of these institutions do. But, we don't do all of what each of them does. We're a little of each, I guess. I hope we're the best of each!