School in the Square’s 2018 summer school program was thoughtfully designed to combat summer slide (click here for more info) by combining targeted academic instruction with fun and engaging projects. Most summer school programs focus solely on academics, but we recognize the importance of balancing schoolwork with creativity to challenge students in new and important ways, invigorating their love of learning and their ability to “think outside the box” (a skill that is too often left untouched in primary school).
School in the Square partnered with Camp Invention to engage students in projects that built essential 21st century skills such as communication, collaboration, imagination, design and creativity. Each day, students worked together in small groups to solve new problems with a slew of materials at hand. On a particular day, a class of students was asked to invent a video game with a wellness component. The students came up with some really great ideas! One group described a first-person simulation game to be used by nurses who are preparing to work in a hospital. A different group considered how VR games could encourage people to exercise and have more fun doing it. And yet another group realized that video game consoles could be great for giving hand massages!
"I've had so much fun at summer school spending time with my friends and my favorite teachers. We also did cool projects like building a Rube Goldberg machine - that was my favorite project." -7th Grader
When asked, students all responded very positively to their experience at summer school. They had a ton of fun working on the Camp Invention projects, they were happy to be with their friends and classmates, and they were glad for a chance to get to know some of the teachers in the school who they hadn’t had in class. They didn’t even mind the more academic periods of the day, which gave them structured time to work on summer homework assignments, read, and practice their math skills. Many students also received specialized small group reading instruction that resulted in true growth, especially for some of the more struggling readers.
While students expressed enthusiasm for the summer school program, their attendance was another true indicator, which averaged 90% daily. We are so proud of those students for committing to spend three of their summer weeks with us, for taking creative chances, for supporting each other, and for being such enthusiastic participants!