What makes our program unique?
"An inspired learning environment that promotes innovative and persistent learners."
For over thirty years GASPA has been committed to an open student-oriented learning environment that transcends current trends. Hands on? We’ve got it! STEAM projects? You bet! Encouraging intrinsic motivation? We listen to children and their ideas!
From beginning to end your child will be part of the creation of our summer camp. This means that activities planned by our teaching team remain open to the creative input from the students of all age ranges. Our inspired learning environment promotes innovative and persistent learners. The four week summer program gives time for students to experiment, develop, try and produce long term projects that increase critical thinking and social well-being and belonging.
Rather than studying vocabulary charts, children explore the German language in association with the physical world and meaningful activities. Our all school “Koch Tag” (cooking day), for example, has children learning fine motor skills, mathematical measurements, kitchen safety, community relationships and associated vocabulary and phrases – to name a few things. Last year, our red-carpet world premiere of the movie “Eine Welt Geteilt” (A Split World), represented the four week effort of one group of students who created a novel story, developed their own script, produced music, sewed costumes, acted and organized a movie showing for the entire summer camp… all while actively and naturally practicing their German!
We do allow weekly applications through which students will be welcomed into parts of such projects, though we encourage students to attend all four weeks of our program. It is through the processual learning that they can experience the culmination of their activities. Being a part of long-term end products is often missing from other educational settings, and we value this opportunity for our students during their out of school programming.
Summer School Camp - What will be offered and how does it work
We plan our summer school camp with the children in mind.
We offer them a time
- to enjoy summer vacation without any stress or pressure to succeed, while exploring new things and developing own ideas;
- during which they are constantly exposed to a second language.
- to find out that learning German is simple here.... just have a good time.
We offer them a time where they
- can do things on their own, on their own time.
- trust their own skills.
- share ideas with others.
- be part of a group project or situation where they have to talk their ideas through with other children.
- plan by themselves as well as together with others.
- try to be responsible for themselves and the others.
- enjoy the company of other children or just step back, relax and swing in a hammock and daydream.
- explore, practice and learn new things.
- may be able to enjoy doing nothing.
We offer them a time filled with opportunities to try (what others might call math, science, engineering or art, we call it)
- building (i.e. DaVincis' bridge)
- wood working
- movement of all sorts
- books,paper, colors of all kinds
To keep it short: Summer, sunshine, German! It is that simple.
Another very important issue during the four-week summer program is that children come together with other children; children of their own age as well as younger and older ones. They will experience how important everyone is during the time spent together and that they too are responsible for the success of the day, for themselves and for the other children.
Why a whole 4 weeks and not individual weeks?
- Growing and learning together
- Some of our project grow over the course of 4 weeks and not only 4 days!
- Years of experience, here at GASPA, have shown that growing and learning together as one continuous group over the course of 4 weeks, has huge advantages for both students and staff.
Teacher and Assistants
Our summer camp team consists of experienced teachers, group leaders and assistants, who with their know-how, enthusiasm, and dedication will make this another summer of sunshine, fun and learning to remember!
Teachers and assistants are responsible for the activities and events of the day. They are always around the children and always available to answer any questions, help a child choose an activity, help children connect with one another or anything else the children might need help with.
Our team is dedicated to creating a surrounding in which the children feel at ease and safe. It is our goal that, every day, every child has the opportunity to create or find something which makes them happy, challenged, and content.
The different Groups
The children will be divided into groups dependent upon their age.
They will start the day in their groups where they will follow certain routines: greeting, attendance, calendar, birthdays, etc.
These are the general age groups, into which the children will be assigned by age and/or German level.
- Group of the 3 – 6 year olds (Kindergarten)
- Group of the 6 – 10 year olds
- Groupd of the 10 - 12 year olds
- Group of the 12 – 14 year olds
These groups will be divided in smaller groups and every group will have a teacher and at least one assistant (if necessary more assistants will be placed in a group). Groups are generally not larger than 15 students. However, during the day we mix all ages groups to give students the opportunity to mingle and not only learn from us, but from one another.
During the day the children can find a great variety of activities and projects to participate in:
Whole group games, ball games, experiments, music, art, reading, writing and printing, storytelling, cooking, sports games, dancing, building and crafting things, climbing, field trips, and special events.
Some of the projects are targeted towards certain age groups, others towards certain interests, and some are offered to anyone and everyone who wants to participate. All activities are planned and prepared for age appropriate groups.
How to choose an activity
Age appropriate activities, projects, field trips will be offered on a daily or weekly rotation. For two hours a day, children (not Kindergarten) are assigned an activity. Once they have completed this activity they can choose from or add another activity or interest. During the remaining time, students may participate in other activities. Alternatively, students may choose to work by themselves, following their own ideas or try to develop something new, together with other students.The activities will take place in the kindergarten yard area, the inner courtyard or inside. For the most part activities are planned for specific age groups; however children of all ages may participate if they are interested or able to. The children choose the activities they want to participate in. The older children will follow up about their daily whereabouts in their summer camp log book.
However, for some age specific activities it is possible that younger and older children play, work and experiment together, where they have the opportunity to learn from one another.
Every week one project will be offered, which will be carried out by all the camp participants, i.e. a group lunch where the children prepare and share the food with one another, or a special musical project, bicycle day, etc.
Food and Drink
The children can always take time during the morning to have a snack which they have brought with them to camp.
Every child brings their own food and drink. Water, sun tea, etc. are always available. Lunch is eaten together outside at the picnic tables. The discussions which take place at the table help to get to know one another better while at the same time learning and using new vocabulary.
We strive to offer healthy food. For us, that means we use no artificial colors or flavor enhancers. This however does not mean that we can always avoid sugar or food containing sugar. We try to always offer fruit, which can be eaten raw, as juice, or in the form of a smoothie. Homemade ice cream, slushies, smoothies or other similar food items are made using only natural syrups and other natural ingredients.
For our "Saftladen" (juice bar) and cooking projects, we are always in need of and welcome fruit and vegetable donations, whether it be directly from your garden or the grocery store. During the past few years, the children found tremendous enjoyment in creating their own fruit juice recipes and vegetable menus. Approximately 100 children can eat and drink A LOT of fruit and vegetables!
Even though many of the activities are age independent, the plan of the day for each group is first and foremost laid out to suit the individual age groups and their needs.
Kindergarten, 6-10 year olds,10-12year olds, and 13-14 year olds, will each have a routine and activities that suit their needs.
At this time, our team is already working on setting up a plan/daily routine certain to please and engage everyone for maximum FUN!
After 2pm - GASPA-PM
We offer an afternoon program for children, who remain at school following the Summer School Camp in the morning. Children who are not picked-up by 2pm sharp will automatically be signed-in for afternoon program and be part of the program until they get picked-up. See GASPA-PM for more details.
The colloquial language during the four weeks is German. That means only German will be spoken. Exceptions are made when a child needs immediate attention or help or in emergency situations.