Living Classrooms’ Dent House Community Center Brings Virtual Summer Programming to Children and Their Parents in Southwest DC

July 31, 2020

Living Classrooms of the National Capital Region has developed its first Virtual STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) Summer Camp that is coming alive in the homes of thirty rising 6th-8th grade students in Southwest for five weeks this summer. Led by the staff at our Dent House community center, the camp has been creatively adapted to provide services to meet the needs of the whole family, particularly for students’ parents who may need employment assistance.

The camp curriculum was designed in partnership with the education team at Kingman Island, Camp Fraser, and our Ascend through Music Program and utilizes STEAM Activity Boxes filled with supplies and lesson plans sent to each student weekly so they can complete independent activities from their home. The students also connect through live online video chats where our educators lead lessons that have been adapted from our exemplary on-site model to fit a digital platform.

Throughout the program:

  • Our Ascend through Music Program will deliver lessons on the fundamentals of music and songwriting and teach skills to support the students’ self-expression through music.
  • Students will take virtual field trips to Camp Fraser nature preserve and Kingman & Heritage Islands and then be encouraged to explore the environments of their own neighborhoods.
  • The students will be encouraged to participate in Service Learning opportunities by investigating their surroundings and preparing actionable plans to make an impact in their community.
  • A guided discussion of “All American Boys” (a novel selected from DCPS’ summer reading list) will encourage students to explore and develop their own views on racial tension and violence from the youth perspective.
  • During weekly “Monday Matters” reflections, students will participate in group circles focused on developing social-emotional wellness, positive identity formation, confidence, and positive coping mechanisms.
  • Students will learn about digital media, photography, and storytelling using their smartphones. They’ll explore social commentary and begin to develop their own styles and points of view, and how to translate that into effective storytelling.
  • Professionals in STEM careers will join the camp as guest speakers to discuss education pathways and career development.

While youth are focusing on these fun and educational activities, Living Classrooms staff will also be reaching out to the adults in the household to provide support including opportunities for job training and resources.


Living Classrooms Staff Writer