Just Launched: Summer Camp 2021 for Elementary Students

Guidepost Montessori opens its doors to elementary students who want their summers packed full of fun, self-directed learning activities

Melissa McElhill

Guidepost Montessori has officially launched a Montessori-inspired summer camp — running from June until August — as part of its summer program series. The summer camp is available to children ages 6 to 12 years old at 17 Guidepost Montessori schools, and is also available online as a distance-learning option.

The summer camp runs over 10 weeks from June 7 to August 13, Monday to Friday. Each week will focus on a carefully selected age-appropriate theme, such as Week 7's Introduction to Drones — where children learn how to operate modern-day multicopters — and Week 9's Painters Through Time — which introduces some of the world's most significant visual artists, from Monet to Warhol.

The summer camp program is designed to be hands-on, and so includes a myriad of fun activities like science experiments, cooking, arts and crafts, and gardening. There will be lots of projects for students to work on every day, as well as opportunities for them to socialize with their classmates and make friends. There's also time for movement, songs, and music — and while children are encouraged to participate in group activities, there's also plenty of time for creative choice and community building.

The program has been designed to offer structure, support, and free time. The strong academic component ensures that children will complete a week of summer camp and feel like they've learned something about the focus topic, but also feel rejuvenated because they won't be burdened with the everyday stresses of school life, like homework, grades or merits. Freedom of choice when it comes to work projects is also an integral part of the program. This allows children to pursue the subjects they truly engage with while also relaxing and enjoying themselves. It is summer, after all!

"The summer camp program is a very intentionally curated program from an educational point of view,” said Laura Kraby, Guidepost Montessori's Elementary Program Manager. “A lot of other camps cram as many activities as humanly possible into each day — changing things up every 20 minutes in order to keep children interested and busy. This may suit some children, but certainly not all."

"What we seek to do is honor the child's needs, such as mental engagement, but also other needs like relaxation. Rather than over-scheduling days, we give children freedom to pursue their interests while also taking time to play games, sing songs, and build relationships with their peers."

How does virtual summer camp differ from in-person summer camp?

Virtual summer camp runs at the same time (June 7 to August 13, Monday to Friday) and follows the same curriculum as the in-person summer camp. However, children who attend online will have the option of attending full- or half-days.

There is also an option for additional academic support in reading and math, which is ideal for families who are concerned about the learning loss that can happen over the summer. The additional support can help children practice the skills they acquired during the preceding academic year.

"We've designed the in-person and virtual programs in tandem to ensure that the themes, lessons, and materials are the same. I think it will be a really rich experience no matter which one you sign up for," said Kraby.

Keeping children and staff safe during COVID-19

Every Guidepost Montessori school continues to address the health and safety risks posed by the pandemic in a comprehensive, evidence-based way. Even though children may be able to spend more time outdoors during summer camp, regulations will be carefully followed by all staff in order to reduce the transmission of COVID-19.

Which Guidepost Montessori schools are offering in-person summer camp, and how do I enroll?

Please visit the Summer Programs page for more information.

Is this summer camp suitable for a child who hasn't attended Montessori school before?

Absolutely. All children — whether they attend public, private, or home schools — are welcome to attend. A child who has no experience of being in a Montessori environment will still reap the benefits of being around a teacher who is familiar with Montessori principles and who can meet the needs and interests of the whole child.

What makes a summer camp "Montessori"?

Each summer camp will be delivered by Guidepost Montessori educators who work in Montessori environments year-round, and so have experience working with children in a way that encourages mutual respect and social harmony.

Though the summer camp does not follow the Montessori curriculum, it has been designed with the Montessori approach to education in mind:

  • Freedom of choice — Students can move around freely and decide which projects they want to work on
  • A child-centered approach that encourages independent exploration — Children feel empowered by freedom of choice, and so pursue subjects that fascinate them. This helps the child develop concentration, willpower and independence
  • Experiential learning — Children learn best by doing things for themselves, so the summer camp program offers lots of opportunities for children to work with their hands
  • Faith that the child wants to learn — Montessori educators believe that children are happiest when they have the option to work on something meaningful, which is why summer camp places a strong emphasis on academic subjects and the development of life skills
Meet the Author

Melissa McElhill

Melissa is an AMI-certified educator who has taught children aged 10 weeks to 18 years old in the UK, US and China. She is also a qualified positive discipline parent coach, helping families integrate Montessori principles into their lives.

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