La Salle offering a STEM-focused, in-person summer camp experience

June 3, 2021

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Campers will role-play as inventors and entrepreneurs at the three-week July camp.

Playing games is an integral part of any summer camp experience. At La Salle University’s Summer STEM Enrichment Camp, the elementary- and middle-school students will also play the roles of inventors and entrepreneurs.

Invention Convention is the theme of this year’s camp, which runs from July 6–23 on La Salle’s campus. K-8 students will be grouped into age-specific pods and will work collaboratively to develop creative solutions to everyday problems through projects that encourage invention, innovation, and entrepreneurship.

Last year’s camp was forced online due to the pandemic and, with many students still engaged in some form of virtual learning at school, the organizers of La Salle’s Summer STEM Enrichment Camp believe students will benefit academically and socially from an in-person learning experience emphasizing the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) disciplines.

“Many of these students have been out of the classroom almost a year and a half,” said La Salle associate professor of education Kimberly Lewinski, Ph.D., who oversees the camp. “And for a variety of reasons, some students may have missed a lot of the virtual schooling. We know that students have possibly fallen behind, and this experience offers what they potentially have missed from their predominantly virtual environment this school year. To have a fun camp experience that gives them space to interact and is also STEM-based will really enrich them.”

More details on La Salle University’s Summer STEM Enrichment Camp:

When: July 6–23

Where: La Salle University

Cost: $450, which includes a $50 deposit

Registration: The deadline is June 15, or until attendance is capped.

Scholarships: Campers can apply for scholarships through the Writers Matter program, with additional aid available to campers through the Widener Memorial School in Olney and the Widener Foundation.

More info: Email or call 215-951-1593.

La Salle’s camp has been around for more than 20 years. It’s part of the University’s Communities of Learners Exploring STEM Careers program, which recently received financial support from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

The camp will meet weekdays from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m., with before- and after-care options available at 8 a.m. and up until 4 p.m. A mix of indoor and outdoor activities are planned, Lewinski said, with a physical education component that is adaptable for all ages and needs.

A key component of La Salle’s camp, Lewinski said, is the role played by the University’s graduate-level education students. These grad students, who specialize in elementary, secondary, and special education, will lead the campers in small groups and incorporate lessons on social justice, sports, science, and more into the STEM-focused curriculum.

The teaching experience marks the first field assignment for graduate students working toward their practicum, Lewinski said. Their focus as teachers in this setting, she added, is on helping campers develop 21st-century life and professional skills applicable to the STEM fields.

“Our camp has an academic background that encourages development of problem-solving skills, creativity, and collaboration,” said Lewinski. “It’s such a great opportunity for kids to get a hands-on, interactive learning experience in these fields. Developing these skills early can take them a long way.”

—Patrick Berkery