Innovative Classrooms, Camps and Summer Programs – April 2014

By Marianne Reid Anderson

The amazing amount of innovations happening in our schools, summer programs and camps throughout the area is no less than spectacular. We are all so fortunate to have so many opportunities for our young people to learn, experience and explore, all while having fun. Any interest your child may have can be fostered and encouraged. The opportunities listed here highlight a few of the innovative openings available but by no means lists them all. Please be sure and visit the web sites for more details and additional opportunities available. Also, the key to seizing these opportunities, is to sign-up early as there are a limited number of spaces available and fill-up quickly. I also strongly recommend that you encourage your daughters, as well as your sons, to sign-up for the science and technology opportunities as these fields are very lucrative and open for women technologists.

Carnegie Science Center – Innovation is off the charts at Pittsburgh’s own world-renowned Carnegie Science Center. Experiment with roller coasters, build a bridge, explore our city and navigate the three rivers, learn robotics, science mysteries, astronomy and much more. Summer campers have access to hundreds of hands-on exhibits, the world-class Buhl Digital Dome high-definition planetarium, a real Cold War submarine, the Rangos Omnimax Theater, Highmark SportsWorks®, and dozens of science communication professionals. Camps are available for Ages 4-5, 6-7, 8-9, 10-12, and 12-14 years of age. There is also a very special science camp “Livin’It! A CanTEEN Camp” for girls only, ages 13-14, July 14-18. Visit for a complete list of camps

Hampton School District – Open to everyone, including cyber, parochial and students from other districts, Hampton School District offers an incredible list of opportunities available as part of its summer programs in the arts, sciences and much more. From dance, cooking, scrapbooking, photography, creative writing to graphic design, video production, drivers Ed instruction with CCAC, SAT-prep, college essay prep, even ultimate Frisbee, board game strategies and the list keeps going. I would like to specifically mention their new programs offered in cooperation with Hi-Tech Learning: Minecraft 3D Design and Printing and Mobile Game Design. Minecraft enthusiasts will be able to design and print their creations on a 3-D printer! In Mobile Game Design, participants will learn how to program their own mobile app games and learn the skills to develop their own games. The Visit, go to the Community tab and select HTSD programs to access their brochure and full list of opportunities.

EQT International Pittsburgh Children’s Festival – is moving downtown! May 14-18 Pittsburgh becomes host to performances and artists from around the world, offering innovative, entertaining and even interactive performances and activities. In the show Animals, animals come to life made from recycled and everyday objects, the show Invisi’Ball is a live-action soccer game that transforms the theater into a stadium. Audiences will be chanting, laughing and cheering along to a game played WITHOUT a BALL! These are only two of an amazing lineup of shows, live bands, and activities including arts, crafts and a huge sand box plus much, much more. Visit to learn about this incredible festival program of summer fun!

National Aviary – Explore the depths of a tropical jungle, feed the colony of African penguins, discover what it takes to be a falconer or veterinarian, or develop the artist or photographer within! Campers can interact with some of their favorite birds, including African penguins, flamingos, toucans, parrots and raptors, and gain access to many behind-the scenes spaces not accessible to the public. Camps are available for Ages 4-5, 6-8, 9-12, and 12-18 years of age. All the camps are beyond amazing but I’d like bring a very special notice to their camps for the 12-18 year olds, particularly the Vet Experience. Perfect for teens who love animals and are considering a career as a veterinarian, the Vet Experience teaches teens how to think like a vet! Experiencing a day in the life of a zoo veterinarian, participants will go on a behind- the-scenes tour of the National Aviary’s bird hospital, meet some of the patients, conduct a physical exam with the guidance of the staff, and perform a necropsy. Participants will also meet with one of the veterinarians for an exclusive question and answer session, and go on rounds throughout the exhibits and bird holding areas. Visit for more information.

Pittsburgh Cultural Trust’s Education & Community Engagement Department – provides a wealth of opportunities for students including these three amazing workshops: Camp Broadway EXP on April 26th is a one-day musical theater camp, enabling theatre-loving kids ages 10-13 to develop their confidence, character and presentation skills through ensemble performance. The instructors are New York Broadway professionals who provide helpful insight regarding dance and voice techniques, and guide campers’ through staging a performance from beginning to end. ArtCity Reed Dance Intensive from July 7-18th with a staged performance on July 19th for 8-12 year olds celebrating the diversity of dance, participants are immersed in a curriculum designed to provide a rigorous, two week course of study with dynamic teaching artists, particularly, Pittsburgh’s own nationally acclaimed, Greer Reed. ArtCity Green Artists and Writers from July 28-August 1 also for 8-12 year olds who will try their hand at poetry and fiction, finding new stories and inspirations, as well as, sculpt, weave, paint and print using recyclables from everyday life in combination with traditional art materials with Artist Educator, Alison K. Babusci. Visit for details.

Saint Gregory – St. Gregory School in Zelienople will have Google Chromebooks for next year’s 6th, 7th and 8th grade classrooms.  Chromebooks have built-in cloud storage, popular Google products for education, apps, plus much more in order to better a student’s learning experience.  Students and teachers can use “GAnimate” to create video projects, “Geogebra” to learn geometric theorems, and other apps for conferencing and collaboration.  With the new Chromebooks, the middle school students will have technology incorporated in their daily learning.  The vision is to integrate technology as much as possible into the middle school curriculum to better prepare students for high school.  Next year the 8th graders, and possible the 7th graders, will also be learning computer programming.  Exciting things are happening at St. Gregory School. Visit to learn more about this innovative school.

Soergel Orchards – Soergel Orchards offers real down-on-the-farm experiences in their hands-on, age-appropriate half-day summer camps. Let history come to life in their Back in Time: Pioneer Days where children can learn and appreciate the skills of the pioneers including churning butter and the care of barnyard animals such as chickens, sheep and even Gnatty, their miniature highland cow, their donkey Noah and their pig Dudley. Other camps include Be a Framer where kids can really get down and dirty while they learn how to grow food and discover the wide array of farm equipment used to grow their food, Explore the Barnyard, Butterflies, and Something to Buzzzz About! Visit and click on Summer Camps for all the details.

Throughout this issue are additional summer camps and educational activities and be sure to look for our May issue that will highlight even more innovative schools, summer programs and camps. If you are offering an innovative program or camp, be sure and let us know by emailing or calling 724-940-2444.

Forest Dancing – Forest Dancing is a one-week intensive summer dance camp for serious dancers ages 8 and older with a minimum of 1 year ballet training.  Located in one of the most beautiful settings in Pennsylvania, dancers have the opportunity to do what they love best surrounded by the beauty of virgin pine forests and mountain laurel overlooking the Clarion River. A Forest Dancer’s week also includes the fun of crafts, a canoe trip on the Clarion River, a talent show, nature walks, swimming and an evening out at the local theater. Visit our website at for details about this innovative and creative summer camp.