If you’re a parent who wants an academic adventure for your child’s summer, Morristown- Beard School has the camp for you. If you’re a parent who wants a child’s summer filled with fun, games and swimming, Morristown-Beard School has the camp for you. The dichotomous offerings are designed to offer families the summer season that’s best for them.
Morristown-Beard Day Camp helps younger children develop skills in sports, arts and crafts, drama, swimming and science. It’s a fun, family experience that kids look forward to every year. MBS Summer Institute isn’t a typical summer camp. It’s an extension of MBS’s pedagogical prowess—a team teaching approach designed to give older students an immersive academic experience. So which program is for you?
30 YEARS OF MBS SUMMER CAMP
“Morristown-Beard Day Camp is now on its 32nd season,” says Camp Director Stephanie Galvez. Campers ages 6 through 14 are grouped according to age (based on the end of June) and gender. Ages 4 and 5 are co-educational and grouped by age. “For the past 30 years, our focus has been to help children build character and self-esteem in a fun and safe environment where they can be themselves,” Galvez says. “Some of the fondest memories of summer camp are the relationships children develop that are not normally built during the school year. Some of the best friends in the world are the ones met at summer camp.” Sessions are offered for one week, seven weeks or any combination. Transportation isn’t included, but there is a hot lunch program.
Camp has all the fun makings of traditional summer sessions, including daily swim instruction and special event days. There are also arts and crafts, science and athletic periods. Daily schedules have multiple 30-45 minute periods—exposing campers to all the camp’s benefits. The 22-acre campus of MBS gives campers room to roam. Facilities include a Middle School building and Founders Hall, a performing arts facility with a 630-seat, state-of- the-art theater.
There are also three outdoor fields. The Day Camp was closed last year due to COVID, but that gave experienced staff time to plan. “Counselor return rates for the camp average more than 90 percent,” Galvez says. New safety protocols include taking campers’ temperatures and limiting activities to smaller groups. There also will not be any field trips this year—though the customary Olympics will go on as scheduled.
“We have spent over a year prepping for this summer since we were closed last summer to ensure our families and staff are safe,” Galvez says. “Know that we have been putting all of our efforts and planning into opening this summer and we are ready.”
LESSONS EXPERIENCED, NOT TAUGHT
There’s no shortage of academic-focused summer camps out there, but Amanda Gregory, director of MBS Summer Institute, isn’t competing with them.
“We don’t offer advancement courses,” she says. “You can’t come and take a calculus course here…our courses are all project-based. We took, as our foundation, the principles of design thinking, which is collaboration, brainstorming, prototype, critique, and the constant questioning of constraints.”
In essence, Summer Institute is a summer school where team-taught classes immerse students in lessons they choose to learn. “It’s supposed to be experiential,” Gregory says. “We want the students to feel as if they’re not being taught by a teacher, but that they’re working with the teacher on a project.
They have some sort of outcome at the end, whether it’s a culminating experience or a culminating project. We have a couple of courses that are centered on specific disciplines, but we try to make it as transdisciplinary as possible.”
Classes designed to pique campers’ curiosity include: Strategy Gaming, Electronic Music Immersion, Constitutional Debate and Organizations and Leadership. Middle School courses are open to rising sixth through eighth graders, while additional courses are available to high schoolers. Tuition includes lunch, but parents or students themselves are responsible for transportation.
Some sessions are available as full-day courses, while others are 90-minute classes. The idea is to offer parents scheduling flexibility. The 2020 Summer Institute was done online because of the coronavirus, but Gregory plans on returning to full in-person classes this year.
“We’ve had in-person learning throughout our school year this entire year, with social distancing measures in place,” she adds. “We’ll have lots of tents set up so people can be outside. But our classrooms are all set up for socially distant, in-person learning. We’re good to go.”
70 Whippany Rd., Morristown