Dallas International School
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What do Mandarin Chinese, hip-hop dance, and emoji design all have in common? They’re all among the wealth of offerings at Dallas International School’s Summer Enrichment Camp. And like soccer, sculpting, and countless other activities available at this six-week program, these courses offer students diversity, flexibility, educational enhancement, and the chance to learn new skills while having great fun.
“Our day camp has run for more than three decades, and it grows more with each passing year,” says Yohanis Mibrathu, Director of the DIS Summer Enrichment Camp. “In 2018, we’ll have 60 staff members and more than 400 students. We’ll be introducing new activities such as DJ classes, Omnisports, and computer-game programming. And we’ll be offering camp on the upper school grounds as well as at the lower school location so we can extend more choices to our campers.”
DIS summer camp is broken into two three-week segments; kicks off on Monday, June 11; and wraps up on Friday, July 20. Its final deadline for enrollment is Monday, June 4. And on two Fridays—June 29 and July 20—it hosts “Summer Joy,” with students hitting the stage to show their parents everything they’ve learned at camp.
That learning spans the full spectrum. “Essentially, we offer many camps rolled into one,” says Aisha Dibaki, the DIS Summer Enrichment Camp Coordinator.
Over the course of six weeks, students are welcome to explore literary offerings (such as creative writing); scientific ones (such as “little vet school”); the artistic (i.e. photography and painting); and the athletic (i.e. tennis and soccer).
Children ages three through 13, who comprise the bulk of campers, convene at the lower school or Churchill campus, while those in the 5th to 12th grades have the option to meet—for the first time in 2018—at the upper school or Waterview location, where many of them attend classes during the school year.
Roughly six percent of campers come from overseas. “Meeting these newcomers helps DIS students broaden their horizons,” says Mibrathu. “They forge friendships and cultural exchanges that enrich their lives, and that last well beyond summer camp.”
For children who come from abroad—and for locals whose families take summer vacations—the structure of DIS summer camp offers much-welcomed flexibility.
“Parents get to build each camp schedule for each individual child,” says Dibaki. “On our enrollment form, there are a total of twelve options for the six weeks.”
Activities are available in the morning (9am-12pm) and in the afternoon (12:30-3:30pm), with a break between sessions for a healthy catered lunch. Students can come anywhere from a half day for a single week to full time for all six weeks.
Starting as early as 7:30am and continuing as late as 6pm, childcare is available for youngsters whose parents are juggling busy schedules.
When camp wraps up in the afternoon, students at Waterview can take guitar lessons, while those at Churchill can enjoy summer-school activities including piano, origami, and basketball.
Educational enhancement
Whether campers opt to explore chess, crafting, or culinary classes, educational enrichment is part of every offering.
Foreign-language instruction—one of DIS’s key strengths—is a core component of camp, and is available not just to kids, but to their parents as well. Taught from kindergarten through 12th grade during the DIS school year, French is also available here—as are Arabic, German, Mandarin, Spanish, and English as a Second Language.
“We try as much as possible to mix language learning with other activities,” says Mibrathu. “Campers can do everything from sports to cooking classes in French.”
No matter what languages or other subjects they’re learning, children at DIS summer camp are continually building new skills.
“During our new Omnisports sessions, we’re learning a combination of soccer, dodgeball, rock climbing, and other sports,” says Kenneth Jones, who coaches Omnisports and basketball at the DIS summer school. “But we’re also learning teamwork, communication, and how to keep our heads in the game.”
Though camp gives DIS students a very different experience than the one that they enjoy during the school year, this experience is vital and valuable in and of itself. “This is play-based learning,” says Mibrathu, “but it’s learning that is guaranteed to stick with these students long after the summer is gone.”
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