Stop Summer Learning Loss + The Science of Building Character

Sharman Johnston, early childhood and education expert.
Topic:
How to stop summer learning loss.
Issues: On average, teachers have to spend 4-8 weeks at the beginning of the school year re-teaching material from the previous year that the children have forgotten; how socioeconomic level affects how much knowledge a child loses over the summer.


Giacomo Bono, co-author of Making Grateful Kids.
Topic:
The science of building character.
Issues: Understanding what gratitude is and why it’s important; the surprising ways being grateful affects us; practical strategies for fostering an attitude of gratitude in your home and life.

Galileo Innovation Camps: Great Way to Spend the Summer—and Save Money!

galileo summer camp

Sponsored by Galileo, but all opinions are mine alone.

We all love summer vacation. And why not? For kids, it’s a long, long break from projects, homework, and essays. And for parents, it’s an equally long break from having to bug the kids to do all of those things. But there’s a downside to all that time away from school, and it’s sometimes called the “summer brain drain.” On average, kids lose from one to three months of learning between the end of one school year and the beginning of the next. And teachers have to spend the first month or two of the new school year getting the kids up to speed on everything they’d learned the year before.

camp galileo4For me—and many other parents—avoiding the brain drain is a top priority. But so is giving the kids (and maybe ourselves) a little down time. The challenge, then, is to find activities that keep the mind active but are so fun that no one realizes that they’re actually learning something. In my family, that often means field trips. Lots of ‘em. Some last only a few hours, some a few weeks.

Over the years, we’ve spend incredible amounts of time at the Lawrence Hall of Science in Berkeley, Chabot Space and Science Center, the Exploratorium, Zeum, the California Academy of Sciences, the Randall Museum, the DeYoung, MOMA, and many of the dozens of lesser-known museums around the San Francisco Bay Area, featuring collections of Pez, tattoos, banned toys, mummies, pinball machines, modern art, cable cars, and cartoons.

galileo 4Unfortunately, most adults can’t take off the entire summer to hang with the kids. Someone’s got to put food on the table and shoes on everyone’s feet and we don’t want to just leave the kids to fend for themselves. In most cases, that means finding camps that are both fun and educationally engaging. Oh, and is a little convenience for mom and dad too much to ask for? My kids have done day camps and sleep away camps, science camps, sports camps, boating camps, tech camps, and pretty much any other kind of camp you can think of.

One of our favorites has always been the Galileo camps, which have it all: convenience, education, fun, if you visit their website now you can save $30 per camper (sign up for their newsletter and you can win an expense-paid week at the camp of your choice). When my kids went to Galileo camps, they did art, science, and plenty of outdoors activities. I always loved that when I’d pick them up in the afternoon, they were usually filthy, exhausted, smiling, and full of stories about some cool thing they’d learned that day. The experiences they have at Galileo will last a lifetime. My older two kids (now 24 and 21) still remember the words to some of the songs they learned at Galileo—including one that involved a rubber chicken. I’ve never quite understood that one.

If you’re in the greater SF Bay Area, you can—and should!—make Galileo a part of your family’s history. Your children will get engrossed in art projects, science challenges and outdoor activities that will make them laugh, think and express themselves with complete freedom.

For kids pre-K through 4th grade, Galileo has more than 25 camps around the Bay Area (see the full list here). Every year, Galileo introduces rich, riveting new themes to inspire budding innovators. Each theme combines art, science and outdoor activities around a whimsical week-long narrative that’s crafted to keep kids giggling and engaged. This year features four fresh themes, each adapted for three different age groups. The themes are created together with Galileo’s fabulous curriculum partners at Klutz, The de Young Museum, The Tech Museum of Innovation and The Chabot Space & Science Center.
camp galileo2

  • Adventures Down Under: Art & Science of Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea
  • Galileo Road Trip: Art & Engineering along Route 66
  • The Incredible Human Body: Art & Science of Being Human
  • Leonardo’s Apprentice: Inventions & Art of the Renaissance

And for 5th-8th graders, there are 18 camps, called Summer Quest (see the complete list here). Summer Questers pick from 18 week-long “majors,” including digital filmmaking, video game design, fashion design, inventors workshop, chemistry, and cooking. Call it (as the camp does) “an incubator for emerging innovators.” If that doesn’t make you want to be a kid again, not much will.

camp galile3Concerned about the staff (you’d be crazy not to be)? Here’s what Galileo says about that. And I can add that in my experience, they do exactly what they say they’re going to do: “Our curriculum team spends thousands of hours developing creatively fertile themes, activities and majors. We interview thousands of applicants to find the most talented counselors and instructors. We combine those two essential elements to introduce kids to a third—an innovation process inspired by the one developed at the Stanford d.school.”

If you sign your camper for any of the Galileo camps by May 31, you can save $30 per camper by using the code 2014INNOVATION. And if you sign up for the newsletter, you’ll automatically be entered for a chance to win a free week of summer camp.

Images and video provided by Galileo camps.

Camp Galileo 2014 Locations

galileo promo


Use the code 2014INNOVATION to receive $30 off (limit one per camper, Camp Galileo and Galileo Summer Quest) Expires: May 31, 2014. Enter the code at sign up by clicking on the purple “sign up” button on the right-hand side of the page.

Sign up for the Galileo Newsletter and you could win a f.r.ee week of camp!

PRE-K – 4th GRADE Peninsula Camps

  • Belmont: Central Elementary School
  • Hillsborough Crystal Springs: Crystal Springs Uplands School
  • Hillsborough North: North School
  • Los Altos: Almond Elementary School
  • Menlo Park: Oak Knoll School
  • Palo Alto: Walter Hays Elementary School
  • San Carlos: Arundel Elementary School
  • Woodside: Woodside School

East Bay Camps

  • Alameda: Saint Philip Neri Catholic School
  • Berkeley: Cragmont Elementary School
  • Danville: Green Valley Elementary School
  • Fremont Ardenwood: Ardenwood Elementary School
  • Fremont Mission: Gomes Elementary School
  • Lafayette: Stanley Middle School
  • Oakland: Chabot Elementary School
  • San Ramon: Country Club Elementary School
  • Walnut Creek: Walnut Acres Elementary School

South Bay Camps

  • Cupertino: St. Joseph of Cupertino School
  • San Jose Almaden: Los Alamitos Elementary School
  • San Jose Evergreen: James F. Smith Elementary School
  • Saratoga: Saint Andrew’s Episcopal School
  • Sunnyvale: Catholic Academy of Sunnyvale: St. Martin Location

San Francisco & Marin Camps

  • San Francisco North: Presidio Middle School
  • San Francisco South: Brandeis Hillel Day School
  • Tiburon: Del Mar Middle School

SUMMER QUEST (5th – 8th GRADE)

Peninsula Camps

  • Hillsborough: Crystal Springs Uplands School
  • Los Altos: Santa Rita Elementary School
  • Palo Alto: Palo Alto High School
  • San Carlos: Arundel Elementary School

East Bay Camps

  • Berkeley: Cragmont Elementary School
  • Fremont: Gomes Elementary School
  • Lafayette: Stanley Middle School
  • Oakland: Claremont Middle School

South Bay Camps

  • San Jose Almaden: Los Alamitos Elementary School
  • San Jose Evergreen: James F. Smith Elementary
  • Saratoga: Sacred Heart School
  • Sunnyvale: Resurrection Catholic School

San Francisco & Marin Camps

  • San Francisco: Brandeis Hillel Day School
  • Tiburon: Bel Aire School

Meatless Monday Offers 10 Hot Tips For Tasty Summer Grilling That’ll Get You Fired Up For A Healthy BBQ Season

Summer is the perfect time to enjoy delicious, sizzling meals straight off the grill!  As you get set to fire up your BBQ, instead of the usual meat-focused fare, cook up some grilled veggies instead.  Giving up meat doesn’t mean having to give up smoky barbecue flavor.  Vegetables are amazing on the grill, plus meatless [...]

Meatless Monday Offers 10 Hot Tips For Tasty Summer Grilling That’ll Get You Fired Up For A Healthy BBQ Season

Summer is the perfect time to enjoy delicious, sizzling meals straight off the grill!  As you get set to fire up your BBQ, instead of the usual meat-focused fare, cook up some grilled veggies instead.  Giving up meat doesn’t mean having to give up smoky barbecue flavor.  Vegetables are amazing on the grill, plus meatless grilling is an easy way to add vitamin-packed, healthy seasonal produce to your diet, which can help reduce your risk of certain chronic diseases. [Read more...]

Loving the Teen You’ve Got + Job Hunting for Teens + When to Worry + Eating Disorders

[amazon asin=B0064XB8CG&template=thumbnail1&chan=default]Guest 1: Tom Sturges, author of Grow the Tree You Got.
Topic: 100 ideas for raising amazing adolescents and teenagers.
Issues: Learning to let go; the importance of making mistakes; punishing with kindness; what rivers can teach us about adolescents; seven ways to keep the peace.


[amazon asin=145057842X&template=thumbnail1&chan=default]Guest 2: Abby Kohut, author of Absolutely Abby’s 101 Job Search Secrets.
Topic: Success tips for teen job seekers and their parents.
Issues: Why you’re on a Never Ending Interview whether you know it or not; How to be resilient in the face of rejection; The importance of LinkedIn, Twitter & Facebook to your job search; How and why you should interview your next boss; How to use retro technology as part of your new strategy.


[amazon asin=0814473636&template=thumbnail1&chan=default]Guest 3: Lisa Boesky, author of When to Worry.
Topic: How to tell if your teen needs help and what to do about it.
Issues: How to spot the warning signs of serious problems like depression, cutting, bipolar disorder, and drug abuse; specific dos and don’ts for decreasing teen struggles and suffering in the family; how and where to get professional help.


[amazon asin=B003P9XDOS&template=thumbnail1&chan=default]Guest 4: Marcia Herrin, author of The Parent’s Guide to Eating Disorders.
Topic: Supporting self-esteem, healthy eating, and positive body image.
Issues: THow to broach the subject with your child; why blame doesn’t work; how to tell bad eating habits from dangerous behavior; the Maudsley Method: what it is and how parents can use it to treat their children.