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Camps that blend academics and adventure often talk about bridging the knowledge gap that occurs in the summer.

For Summer on the Hill, the day camp offered by The Winston School of Short Hills, that approach is more than talk because its campers have language-based learning differences.

“We want them to enjoy their experience, but we also want to make sure they’re maintaining skills and bridging some gaps that happened, especially the last year-and-a-half,” says summer program director Heather Castner.


The importance of maintaining skills is particularly pressing at Summer on the Hill because of its focus on learning differences that include dyslexia and ADHD. The School was founded in 1981, and the camp started in 2010 as a blend of academics and “enrichment classes” that include STEAM, sports, cooking and art. There are also tutoring options available, as well as “boot camps” with a particular focus for students.

Camp is held on the School’s Short Hills campus, which includes a gymnasium, fields, and an annex with additional classroom space that is used as needed over the five-week session. Safety protocols have been in place that meet all state and federal COVID guidelines.

Castner says parents are comforted by Winston’s a la carte menu.

“It’s the ability to pick and choose what works in their schedule and the needs of their child,” she says. “That is very appealing. The parents definitely appreciate that. They can pick just morning, or just afternoon. They can do two weeks and then take a break. Or they can come to the first week and then the last week. It’s designed so that parents can get what they need out of it for their child.”


Of course, it’s also designed with licensed Winston School teachers serving as camp staff. Castner says the camp serves as an introduction for families who later realize that The Winston School is the best setting for their child. It’s also a time for new students to adjust without the formal pressure of starting fresh on the first day of school.

“We all want to be able to have a break in the summer,” Castner adds. “Kids need to be kids, too, and get a break from learning, academic programming. I think the way we deliver our content and our instruction, we’re engaging, but we’re still relaxed in the summer.”

Said another way: “Our mission holds true through the summer.”

30 East Ln., Short Hills

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