Elementary School Programs

SSA Summer provides a nurturing, supportive and fun experience for elementary school-aged children entering grades PK-5. Sports camps, focus camps and traditional day camps offer an endless array of choices and opportunities.

Day Camp Discovery (K-5)

Shady Side Academy Elementary Summer Camp Students Swimming

One of the oldest (and most fun) traditional day camps in the Pittsburgh area, Day Camp Discovery offers a complete program of activities for children entering grades K-5. New this year, we will be offering flexible one-week enrollments as well as STEAM related activities with our media arts, science and arts & crafts program areas. Our camp community is focused on providing a developmentally appropriate, safe and warm environment for all campers. With an attentive and well-trained staff, we've infused Day Camp Discovery with opportunities for creativity, autonomy, resilience, empathy and a sense of community.

Campers are grouped into co-ed squads by grade. With kids from more than 40 schools (and several countries), campers have the chance to make lifelong friendships. Kids enjoy a full day of activities, from swimming to media arts to outdoor adventure. Special activities complement regular programming and include competition days, Friday picnic dance parties and field trips. Lunch is included, and bus transportation is available.

2018 Dates & Rates

Location: SSA Senior School, Fox Chapel

Ages: Children entering grades K-5 in 2018-2019

Time: 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Week 1: June 18-22
Week 2:
June 25-June 29
Week 3
: July 2-6 (closed July 4)
Week 4: July 9-13
Week 5: July 16-20
Week 6: July 23-27
Week 7: July 30-Aug. 3

One Week: $375
Two Weeks: $725
Three Weeks: $1,085
Four Weeks: $1,450
Five Weeks: $1,800
Six Weeks: $1,925
Seven Weeks: $2,240

After-Care: $10 per day, available until 6 p.m.

Lunch included, free before-care beginning at 7:30 a.m. included, busing available.

Activities

Elementary Student reading at Shady Side Summer Camp

  • Arts and Crafts
  • CampFit
  • Fitness and Aerobics
  • Media Arts
  • Outdoor Adventure
  • Science
  • Sports (Basketball, Soccer, Tennis)
  • Swimming
  • Theater Spotlight

A Typical Day at Day Camp Discovery

  • 7:30 a.m. – Before-Care
    Early-arriving campers gather in the camp office.
  • 8:30-8:45 a.m. – Arrival
    The gym fills with the sounds of kids playing and laughing as campers arrive via cars and buses.
  • 9 a.m. – Morning Meeting
    Our camp director welcomes campers and staff, takes attendance and explains the schedule for the day.
  • 9:15 a.m. – Morning Activities
    Campers rotate through three activity periods with their squads. Tennis, soccer and outdoor adventure are awesome ways to spend a cool morning outside!
  • Noon – Lunch
    Campers and staff gather in the dining hall for family-style lunch. Our on-site caterer prepares a delicious and nutritious hot meal each day, with vegetarian and gluten-free alternatives.
  • 1:20 p.m. – Afternoon Activities
    Squads enjoy two additional activity periods – it's a great time to swim or make a film in media arts! With a fully rotating schedule, we make sure campers have a chance to enjoy all of the activities at Day Camp Discovery!
  • 3:45 p.m. Afternoon Meeting
    Campers gather in the gym to hear highlights from the day, take part in a game or contest and prepare for dismissal.
  • 4 p.m. – Dismissal
    Campers head out to cars and buses after a fun and fulfilling day of camp.
  • 4:15-6 p.m. – After-Care
    For parents who need a little more time, we offer after-care for an additional fee. Campers relax in our air-conditioned lounge while watching kid-friendly movies, playing board games and working on art projects.

East End Explorers Day Camp (PK-3)

Elementary school campers at East End Explorers Day CampEast End Explorers Day Camp offers fun, age-appropriate activities on our Junior School campus in Point Breeze for kids entering grades PK-3. The camp offers age-based programming in both full- and half-day sessions, and includes lunch.

Campers enjoy traditional day camp experiences such as water play and outside games as well as safe, fun adventures in the city. Our convenient East End location allows campers to easily visit trails and museums in the same day. It's the best of both worlds!

Each week has its own theme, coupled with daily opportunities for educational enrichment. In addition to daily water games and outdoor play, campers will excavate fossils, solve mysteries, make movies and more!

2018 Dates & Rates

Location: SSA Junior School, Point Breeze

Ages: Children entering grades PK-3 in 2018-2019

Times: Full-day 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.; half-day 9 a.m. - 12:45 p.m.

Week 1: June 18-22
Week 2:
June 25-June 29
Week 3
: July 2-6 (closed July 4)
Week 4: July 9-13
Week 5: July 16-20
Week 6: July 23-27

Full Summer, Full-Day: $1,925
Full Summer, Half-Day: $1,375
Weekly Session, Full-Day: $360
Weekly Session, Half-Day: $240

After Care: $10 per day, available until 6 p.m.

Lunch is included. Free before-care begins at 8 a.m. Bus transportation is NOT available.

Weekly Themes

Counselor and camper working together on arts and crafts

Campers have age-appropriate activities related to a weekly theme.

A Typical Day at East End Explorers

  • 8 a.m. – Before-Care
    Early-riser campers gather in the Junior School gymnasium.
  • 9 a.m. – Arrival
    The gym and outdoor field begin to fill with the sounds of children playing as campers arrive from parent drop-off.
  • 9:30 a.m. – Morning Meeting
    Counselors gather their squads, take attendance and explain the day's schedule.
  • 9:30-11:45 a.m. – Morning Activities
    Campers alternate between thematic programming, enrichment classes and a mid-morning snack to keep their minds and bellies full.
  • 11:45 a.m. – Lunch
    Our community gathers in the cafeteria (or PK building) with lunch served family-style. Our on-site caterer prepares a delicious and nutritious meal each day, offering vegetarian and gluten-free alternatives.
  • 12:45 p.m. – Half-Day Dismissal
    Our half-day campers head home after an exciting morning.
  • 1:15-3:45 p.m. – Afternoon Activities
    Full-day campers enjoy two additional activities each afternoon. More time to enjoy deeper learning about the theme of the week, splash around with water toys or lounge in the outdoor wading pools!
  • 3:45 p.m. – Afternoon Meeting
    Campers and staff gather in the gym to hear highlights from the day, take part in a silly game or contest, and prepare for dismissal.
  • 4 p.m. – Dismissal
    Campers and staff head outside to cars after a fun and fulfilling day of camp.
  • 4-6 p.m. – After-Care
    For parents who need a little more time to pick up their kids, East End Explorers Day Camp offers after-care to continue the fun!

Sports Camps (K-8)

Baseball playerSSA Summer offers plenty of sports camps to pique the athletic interests of kids entering grades K-8. All camps are one week in length and directed by SSA coaches, ensuring the programs remain developmentally appropriate.

Our coed camps welcome boys and girls of all ability levels. From beginners looking to try a sport for the first time, to intermediate players looking to enhance their skills, SSA sports camps provide kids with a fun and exciting opportunity to learn from great coaches and players! As an added benefit, each camp includes a swim period, giving young athletes a chance to cool off in the summer heat!

2018 Dates & Rates

Ice hockey playerLocation: SSA Senior School, Fox Chapel

Ages: Varies by sport (see below)

Time: 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.

  • Boys and Girls Tennis: June 11-15 (grades K-5)
  • Boys and Girls Basketball Camp: June 11-15 (grades 2-6)
  • Soccer Shots: June 11-15 or Aug.6-10 (grades 1-3 & 4-6)
  • Boys and Girls Golf Camp: July 30 - Aug. 3 (grades 4-8)
  • Boys and Girls Ice Hockey: Aug. 6-10 (grades K-8)

Ice Hockey: $400
Golf: $465
All Other Sports Camps: $380

After Care: $10 per day, available until 6 p.m.*

Lunch, free before-care at 7:30 a.m.*, and daily swim period included. Busing available.

*No before- or after-care June 11-15

2018 Sports Camps

Boys and Girls Tennis Camp

June 11-15, grades K-5

Tennis pro Mark Haffner has been running a tennis camp at Shady Side for more than seven years. Campers will learn basic front-hand and backhand skills, practice serves, learn game strategy and have a blast with the best kids' tennis coach around!

Soccer Shots

June 11-15 or Aug. 6-10, grades 1-3 & 4-6

If you’re looking for an exciting week of camp for your child, come join us at Soccer Shots Summer Camp. We have a special curriculum for our camps, and your kids will be sure to have a great time with some of their favorite Soccer Shots coaches! The week will focus on individual skill, fitness and sportsmanship, and learning through fun games and team interaction. Sneakers or athletic shoes, and a water bottle is all that is needed (we will provide a Soccer Shots water bottle on the first day).

Soccer Shots is an engaging children’s soccer program with a focus on character development. Our caring team positively impacts children’s lives on and off the field through best-in- class coaching, communication and curriculum. Our coaches are the best-trained in the business. Our expert-approved curriculum is age-appropriate and aligns with childhood education standards. In addition we provide an exceptional customer experience and ongoing communication with parents.

Boys and Girls Basketball Camp

June 11-15, grades 2-6

SSA varsity basketball coach David Vadnais welcomes all future hoops stars for a week of fun and training. From shooting and ball-handling to defense and strategy, Coach Vadnais and his staff will work with kids on fundamental skills.

Boys and Girls Golf Camp

July 30 - Aug. 3, grades 4-8

SSA varsity coach Mark Hessler will take beginning and immediate golfers and prepare them for the next level. Golfers will spend mornings at the Pine Creek driving range honing their short game, putting and driving skills, while competing in fun skills games for prizes! After lunch, golfers will head to the Fox course at Pittsburgh North to play nine holes. Coach-to-golfer ratio is 4:1. Current varsity coaches, college golfers and a few pros will coach this camp. Must have own clubs.

Boys and Girls Ice Hockey Camp

Aug. 6-10, grades K-8

SSA boys prep hockey coach Jonathan Johnson and his staff lead two simultaneous ice hockey camps in our McKnight Hockey Center. The beginners' camp focuses on the fundamental skills necessary to play hockey. The advanced camp focuses on conditioning, strength and refinement of skills for the more experienced player. Players must provide their own equipment: helmet with full face mask, should pads, elbow pads, hockey gloves, hockey pants, hockey jock, shin pads, skates and a stick.

Focus Camps (K-5)

Camper painting at Focus CampJoin us for Shady Side Academy’s weeklong Focus Camps! Each fun and exciting camp is focused on specific skills to further develop your child's mind, body and spirit - from arts to science to sports and games!

Creative activities and fun games supplement the learning process, all while enjoying life on our beautiful Senior School campus. Also, in conjunction with The Handwork Studio, we are proud to offer a hands-on, project-based camp.

Instructed by Shady Side Academy coaches and teachers, and SSA Summer staff, Focus Camps are the perfect start or end to the summer!

2018 Dates & Rates

Student sewing at Focus Camp

Location: SSA Senior School, Fox Chapel

Ages: Varies by program, see below

Time: 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Week I: June 11-15

  • Ovation Drama Camp (grades K-5)
  • Passport to Mindfulness (grades K-2)
  • Intro to Drone Flying Missions (grades 1-2)
  • Drone Superhero Missions (grades 3-5)
  • Chess Camp (grades 1-7)

Week II: July 30 - Aug. 3

  • The Handwork Studio Day Camp (grades K-5)
  • Intro to Drone Coding Missions (grades 1-2)
  • Drone Coding Wizards (grades 3-5)
  • Chess Camp (grades 1-7)
Camper working with LEGO robotics

Week III: Aug. 6-10

  • Sports & Games (grades K-5)
  • The Handwork Studio Day Camp (grades K-5)
  • Jr. Filmmakers (grades 3-5)
  • Passport to Mindfulness (grades 3-5)
  • Ultimate Drone Obstacle Challenge (grades 3-5)

The Handwork Studio Day Camp: $490
Drone Camps: $425
All Other Focus Camps: $380

After-Care: $10 per day, available until 6 p.m.*

Lunch, free before-care at 7:30 a.m.*, and daily swim period option are included. Busing is available.

*No before- or after-care June 11-15

2018 Focus Camps

Ovation Drama Camp

Week I (June 11-15), grades K-5

If you just can't wait to be a star, take the stage with some singing, dancing and acting! Taught by Senior and Middle School drama staff, students will create a set, make their own costumes, learn some songs and dances, and perform for an audience of friends and family on the last day of the camp.

Intro to Drone Flying Missions

Week I (June 11-15), grades 1-2

Intro to Drone Flying Missions is specifically designed for campers with little to no experience flying drones. Through the use of iPad flight simulators and clear instructions on basic flying maneuvers, young Drobots’ pilots will experience a program filled with excitement, games, challenges and learning. Campers work all week long to prepare for the most enjoyable part of the week: the Ultimate Drone Games that include events such as: Tic-Tac-Drone, Drone Darts, Duck-Duck-Drone and more. All campers go home with interactive workbooks and plenty of Drobots Company keepsakes and trinkets so the memories last long beyond the summer. For more information on Drobots Drone STEM Camps please visit: www.drobotscompany.com

Drone Superhero Missions

Week I (June 11-15), grades 3-5

Superhero Missions is specifically designed for both the novice and experienced drone enthusiasts. Our instructors will open the creative minds of participants as campers attack and defend against Superheroes and Villains. Students will begin the week learning basic maneuvers before using their “Spidey-Sense” to conquer missions such as: Batman’s Drone-Mobile Escape, The Breakout of Iron Man and more. Participants will storyboard their own escape missions while other students attempt to outsmart them using the drone to locate and capture. All campers go home with interactive workbooks. For more information on Drobots Drone STEM Camps please visit: www.drobotscompany.com

Intro to Drone Coding Games

Week II (July 30 - Aug. 3), grades 1-2

Intro to Drone Coding Games is specifically designed for campers with little to no experience flying drones or coding. Campers will learn the basic principles of how to code drones to fly. Campers will learn to pitch, yaw and roll through self-created obstacle courses and then utilize iPads to code the drones through the obstacle courses. All campers go home with interactive workbooks and plenty of Drobots Company keepsakes and trinkets so the memories last long beyond the summer. For more information on Drobots Drone STEM Camps please visit: www.drobotscompany.com

Drone Coding Wizards

Week II (July 30 - Aug. 3), grades 3-5

Drone Coding Wizards has been specifically designed for both the novice and experienced drone enthusiasts. Through the use of iPad flight simulators and clear instructions on basic flying maneuvers, young Drobots’ pilots will experience a program filled with excitement, games, challenges and learning. Campers work all week long to prepare for the most enjoyable part of the week: the Ultimate Drone Games that include events such as: Drone Baseball; Dronado, Womp Rat Invasion, Drone Bowling and more. All campers go home with interactive workbooks. For more information on Drobots Drone STEM Camps please visit: www.drobotscompany.com

The Handwork Studio Day Camp

Week II or III (July 30 - Aug.3 or Aug. 6-10), grades K-5

Picture your child in the care of energetic and imaginative counselors exploring the world of needle-arts. At Handwork Day Camp, you’ll find campers sharing stories and laughs while working on a wide array of unique projects. Our goal is to teach useful skills such as, hand-sewing, embroidery, knitting, weaving, needle-felting and much more! Campers are always free to express themselves and are enveloped in creativity and fun. Whether refining skills or learning brand new ones, our camp is sure to delight. Join the fun with Summer 2018's fresh new curriculum with different projects every week!

Sports & Games!

Week III (Aug. 6-10), grades K-5

This multi-sport camp offers basic guided instruction and semi-competitive play in sports including tennis, soccer, basketball and track & field. Recreational sports such as kickball, dodgeball and volleyball will complement “training” sessions. All campers will get a chance to relax and recuperate in our beautiful indoor pool.

Jr. Filmmakers Camp

Week III (Aug. 6-10), grades 3-5

Technology and computer skills abound in Jr. Filmmakers Camp. Our media arts lab serves as the hub of operations for our tech-savvy campers. Young filmmakers will use the entire campus to complete creative activities such as film editing, slideshow creation, graphic design, audio manipulation and LEGOmation.

Ultimate Drone Obstacle Challenge

Week III (Aug. 6-10), grades 3-5

This is week is filled with pure action as students enjoy one of the world’s fastest growing sports, Drone Obstacle Racing. Campers will progress through various skill challenges and learn how to perform various exercises and maneuvers to become familiar with the drone’s speed and agility. Campers will use iPads and remote controls to navigate the drone through short and long obstacle courses. Participants will also create the design and help build the the obstacle course in preparation for the last day’s final activity and competition. All campers go home with interactive workbooks. For more information on Drobots Drone STEM Camps please visit: www.drobotscompany.com

Chess Camp

Week I or Week II (June 11-15 or July 30 - Aug. 3), grades 1-7

Whether brand new to chess, or already a checkmate champion, your child can learn more about the royal game at the Chess Camp. Led by USCF National Master Ben Johnson, the camp will feature daily interactive chess lessons, but also fun activities like team chess, chess puzzles and chess trivia. Chess teaches higher order thinking skills and sportsmanship, so chess camp is a great way to help your child stay sharp over the summer. Chess sets are provided for use at the camp.

Passport to Mindfulness

Week I (June 11-15), grades K-2 or Week III (Aug. 6-10), grades 3-5

Campers will experientally "travel" to ten different countries from India to Peru while trying a variety of contemplative practices. Folktales, art projects, nature walks, yoga and music are just some activities involved! This is a truly unique camp combining world cultures, art and fun learning!

A Typical Day at Focus Camp

Camper drawing

  • 7:30 a.m. – Before-Care
    Our early-riser campers gather in the camp office.
  • 8:45 a.m. – Arrival
    The gym begins to fill with the sounds of play as campers arrive from parent drop-off and bus transportation.
  • 9 a.m. – Morning Meeting
    Each camp's lead counselor welcomes campers, takes attendance and explains the day's schedule.
  • 9 a.m. - 12 p.m. – Morning Activities
    Campers move to their Focus Camp locations and begin with introductory and team-building activities. Instructors focus on teaching new skills and honing old ones that will culminate in a final project or activity.
  • 12 p.m. – Lunch and Recess
    Our community gathers in the Dining Hall with lunch served family-style. A period of free play follows on the quad.
  • 1:20-3:45 p.m. – Afternoon Activities
    A period of swim and/or gym games is also offered for older campers.
  • 3:45 p.m. – Afternoon Meeting
    Campers and staff gather in the gym to get ready for dismissal and reflect on the awesome day!
  • 4 p.m. – Dismissal
    Campers head outside to cars and buses after a fun and fulfilling day of camp.
  • 4-6 p.m. – After-Care
    For parents who need a little more time to pick up their kids, we offer after-care. Campers relax in our air-conditioned lounge area, watch kid-friendly movies, play board games and work on art projects.

Summer School (2-5)

Campers working on an iPadShady Side Academy offers Summer School courses to meet the needs and interests of elementary school students entering grades 2-5. Courses reinforce learning from the prior school year and prepare students for the challenges of the school year ahead.

Language arts and mathematics classes enrich the academic experience through hands-on engagement with subject material and close, working relationships with teachers. Class sizes range from 5-14 students and are assigned by grade level and ability. Sixty-minute periods are typically followed by moderate homework assignments to deepen understanding and prepare for the next day of learning. We recognize that summer is a time for play, and our aim is to provide students the opportunity to bolster their academic skills in a supportive and joyful environment.

Need full-day child care? Our Stay & Play option pairs Summer School classes with Day Camp Discovery for a full day of learning and fun! See below for details.

2018 Dates & Rates

Location: SSA Senior School, Fox Chapel

Ages: Children entering grades 2-5 in 2018-2019

Six-Week Session: June 18 - July 27, all courses are six weeks long.

Times for Stay & Play: 8:45 a.m. – 4 p.m.

One Course + Stay & Play: $2,495
Two Courses + Stay & Play: $2,995
Individual Courses Only: $975 each

Lunch included for Stay & Play students only.

*Times subject to change for courses

Stay & Play

Need full-day child care? Your kid will enjoy the best of both worlds when you register for SSA Stay & Play! Kids enroll in six weeks of Summer School, and when they're not in class they enjoy the rest of day in Day Camp Discovery! This option is only available for the entire six-week session. Lunch and free before-care is included. Busing and after-care are available for an extra fee.

Progress Reports

Progress reports are issued at the end of the summer session to provide parents with individualized and detailed feedback on their child's experience. In addition, teachers provide parents with weekly newsletters to keep them informed about their child's coursework with individualized comments as needed. Classroom teachers keep the Summer School Director up to date on student progress; parents are contacted and action plans formulated for students in need of additional support.

Elementary Language Arts

Summer elementary language arts classes build upon and encourage our students' love for reading, writing and storytelling. Using the C.A.F.E. approach, the courses help students bolster their comprehension of stories, decode with accuracy, read aloud fluently and expand their vocabulary.

Students read books from Shady Side Academy's summer reading lists. The selected books provide opportunities to discuss the literary elements of setting, characters and plot. Students learn to discern a story’s main ideas, as well as increase appreciation and understanding of the story: text-to-text, text-to-self and text-to-the-world. These are hands-on courses that meet students at their current level and help prepare them for the challenges of the school year ahead.

Elementary Mathematics

Elementary math classes are hands-on, skills-based, engaging courses that meet students at their current level and help prepare them for the challenges of the next school year. Through projects, play and problem-solving activities, students bolster their math skills and passion for the subject.

The use of the Math in Focus curriculum (Singapore Math) bolsters mathematical stamina and understanding. Students entering grade 2 will be led through the concrete-to-pictorial-to-abstract progression, while students entering grades 3-5 will learn problem-solving using bar modeling.

We recommend enrolling your child in the course most closely aligned with the math course he or she will be taking in the 2018-2019 school year. For most students this is their grade level for the 2018-2019 year.

School Break Camps (PK-5)

Elementary school student having fun a break campShady Side Academy's After School Explorers program offers programming during winter and spring breaks for children in grades PK-5. These exciting day- and week-long camps offer six hours of safe, enriching care, and are available to students from any school.

Each affordable camp is centered on a central theme; over the course of the week students will create their own comics, explore a veterinarian's office, visit with some animals, make their own felt bugs, and more!

Learn more.

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Contact Us

Nate Verbanets

Nathan Verbanets
Director of Programs

Testimonials

"My daughter was ecstatic to learn she was able to attend the East End Explorers camp again. Each day she came home, she poured out the day's events like a faucet. She was extremely happy. It was truly a blessing to know that it was made possible because of your thoughtfulness. Thank you so much for all your assistance. Somehow I don't feel thank you is quite enough."

"Our son has been attending [camp] for the past six years. He has enjoyed every summer attending Discovery Camp and Camp Ren and looks forward to coming back year after year!"


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