Who are we?
The mission of the Bank Street Summer Camp, Spring Camp and KiDS College is to foster emotional, physical and ethical growth within campers and kids, by using educational professionals to help them develop their own personalities and individual voices through love of play, creativity and collaboration. Through experiential and recreational education, we seek to strengthen not only individuals, but the community and larger society, in which adults and children, in all their diversity, interact and learn. We see, in camp the opportunity to educate and build a better society.
Why Bank Street Summer Camp?
Kids are busier than they ever have been. Over stimulated and overloaded, many families struggle to find time to balance their children’s lives with recreational play and focused exploration. As a progressive school, Bank Street is focused on the development of children academically, but also with regard to their social and emotional growth. The Bank Street Summer Camp provides time and structure for campers to develop as learners through love of play, creativity and collaboration, all outside of an academic environment.
The American Camp Association conducted national research with over 5,000 families between 2001 and 2004, each from 80 accredited camps, specifically about immeasurable skills that campers receive and practice during the summer camp experience. Parents, campers and camp staff reported significant growth in the following non-academic concentrations; environmental awareness, decision making, adventure and exploration, independence, self-esteem, interpersonal skills, peer relationships and leadership. No differences were found in a particular type of camp, be it day camp, sleep away camp or travel camp.
Summer time offers an opportunity for parents to add balance to children’s lives and the time is right for schools and camps to teach the whole child, beyond academia and scholastics. Children need time, practice and a safe environment to connect with themselves and each other. Bank Street College has spent almost one hundred years making these goals a reality and the Bank Street Summer Camp has continued this tradition in a recreational summer setting.
Bank Street Camp celebrates the individual child, creating a positive camp culture and zest for living that encourages exploration and problem solving. This positive environment is also reflected through the vast diversity of camp, including ethnicity, family structure, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation and learning styles. This environment recognizes and celebrates the differences between campers, staff and families, while teaching children to respect one another’s people, cultures, life choices and way of life.
Camp staff is made up of graduate students from the Graduate School, alumni from the Graduate School and the School for Children as well as various outside specialists, teachers and professionals in their fields. Many campers return to camp as counselors because of their positive experience as campers. One third of campers go to the Bank Street School during the year, making a large portion of the camp body from other schools in the New York City area.
Bank Street Summer Camp has gone beyond the standards of a traditional camp venue by offering indevidualized options like Spanish Immersion, Theater, S.T.E.A.M., Science, Film Writing and Production and Travel, to name a few. We have also entered into numerous collaborations with major NY museums, including the Liberty Science Center and The Rubin Museum. Our collaboration with the Hunts Point Alliance for Children helps us build young leaders through their participation in our Leadership Development Program.
Swimming is not a separate program. All campers and staff swim during their designated swim time at the outdoor Skyview pool in Riverdale. Swim time at Camp is divided into both instructional swim and free swim. During instructional swim, counselors and lifeguards work along with the campers to further develop both their comfort and skill in the water. While campers are never made to do anything they do not want to, all campers are required to be in the water.
How does the Camp follow Bank Street School’s progressive philosophy?
At camp, we encourage campers to deepen their ideas, extend their thinking and come up with their own story lines, fostering the most essential building block for imagination, helping campers do what they do best: play.
Before a younger group embarks on a dramatic play scenario or ventures out to a playground, counselors will often sit the group down to make a plan for who will play what, what props will be needed, and what the group will do to include everyone interested in joining. Both bold, adventurous children and shy, timid children are able to find a way to feel comfortable before and during their conversations and anticipated activity. Asking questions such as "What will you do next?" "Who is in this family?" or "Does your ice cream store need signs?" encourages campers to think carefully and creatively.
Any challenges that arise from group play are viewed as valuable learning experiences that counselors will help navigate and mediate to find both simple and complex solutions. Listening to campers insures better communication between campers and helps everyone feel safe to create and play with one another.
Developmentally, kids are able to focus on more specific activities and projects as they get older. Starting in second grade, our Middle Camp and Upper Camp programs campers have the opportunity to choose from a variety of programs specifically focused on Sports, Spanish Immersion, Science & Technology, and Musical Theater, where they can write their own Musical. All programs can be taken on a two week basis, except for our Theater and Film programs, which are four-week commitments.
What is our staff like?
Our remarkable staff are made up of graduate students from the Graduate School, alumni from the Bank Street College of Education Graduate School as well as various outside specialists, teachers and professionals in the fields.
Passionate about their work and dedicated to the camp and the campers, our staff members bring out the best in children. Our staff body is very diverse with respect to family structure, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation and learning styles and this really gives campers the opportunity to see themselves in our staff members and that’s really important in any educational institution.
What is Camp like?
Many campers return to camp as counselors because of their positive experience as campers. One third of campers go to the Bank Street School during the year, making a large portion of the camp body from other schools in the New York City area. We have gone beyond the standards of a traditional camp venue by offering focused groups like Spanish Immersion, Travel, Film and Science. We have also entered into numerous collaborations with major NY museums, including the Liberty Science Center and the Rubin Museum.
Our activities are based on what is developmentally appropriate for each age group. Our Lower Camp, which is Pre-K to 1st grade, offers a Spanish immersion program as well as our regular Day Camp option. As campers get older our programs become more focused, so our Middle Camp and Upper Camp programs, from 2nd to 8th grade, offer developmentally appropriate focuses on Musical Theater, Sports, Spanish, Travel, Science, STEAM and Film Writing and Production.
All groups take swim instruction in our beautiful outdoor private pool in Riverdale, which is a 15-minute bus ride. We also provide lunch and snack to each group.
What is the Bank Street Summer Camp August Alliance?
The Bank Street Summer Camp has recognized that Summer Camp is no longer a luxury, but a necessity for working parents. Finding a camp in August is particularly challenging as many facilities are preparing for their fall openings. In cooperation with Columbia University and the Cathedral School, the Bank Street Summer camp is providing weekly programs throughout all of August for children between Pre-K and 8th grade. Programs will include morning swim and a variety of developmentally appropriate trips and activities.
Spring Camp is a two week vacation program offered during spring break. Campers can do one or both weeks from March 16th-20th and/or March 23rd-27th. Enhance your child's Spring Break with fun and innovative programming at Bank Street Summer Camp's Spring Break! These programs, for kids in kindergarten and up, have been designed to engage kids on an emotional, intellectual and social level with the same Bank Street Summer Camp staff kids know and love.