One of my favorites parts of the school year is our summer program. I enjoy starting from scratch with an idea and seeing what the teachers do with it over the course of six weeks. Our summer program has always been a time of experimentation, creativity, and open-ended learning. For years I taught a class in our summer program. There were weekly or bi-weekly themes, with tons of projects. A favorite memory was of a year with elementary students when we collected about 20 old VCR players and set them out on tables. Students were equipped with screw drivers, hammers, pliers, and hot glue guns. The first week was primarily devoted to dismantling the old machines. They collected large and small pieces, then spent an additional week assembling them into jewelry and other unique items. Another memorable project was when students used recycled materials to make a house. What I loved about this project was that we started it in early June, and when I returned from a two-week vacation, children were still working on their houses. One aspect of the program in those days was that we gave kids time to develop their ideas and creations. To some degree that still happens.
Another long-standing element of the Seed summer camp is the Way-off Broadway Production. This year marks our 33rd year of that tradition. It’s a performance put on by our oldest elementary students with lots of ownership by the kids. For many years I directed the play, which I enjoyed, and was happy to eventually hand it over to others. Our music teacher, Jay, has directed the play for quite a few years now, adding a strong musical component.
The Seed summer camp draws many of our alums, who like to return to reconnect with old friends and teachers. When they are twelve and/or entering into seventh grade, students can elect to being an intern, helping support learning in the classrooms. A few of our current staff members were once interns!
We used to set a theme for each week, based on a unified school-wide theme. A few years ago we made a shift in how we set it up. To be more in line with our emergent approach to curriculum development, we now select a broad topic and then let each teacher develop their curriculum based on the children’s and their interests.
This year’s theme is “Tails…and Tales.” Staff who will be teaching this summer met for a brainstorming session of potential topics. Here are a few: insects, dogs, cats, dragons, reptiles, prosthetic tails, cattails, horses, fairy tales, mermaids, airplanes, and whales. It’s always amazing to see what the teachers come up with to explore their version of a topic.
Our summer camp fills quickly and spaces are limited. Summer registration starts on February 20, and early registration is recommended. See the following links for further information: