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A SMART Summer Camp Begins; Second Session Will Be July 17-28

Published: July 14, 2017

This summer marks the 26th year for Newtown Continuing Education’s SMART (Summer Music and Art) Camp, and Newtown Continuing Education Director Elissa Gellis said it has returned to its original location, Sandy Hook Elementary School, for the first time in 25 years.

“After 25 years and five schools, SMART has landed back to it’s roots at Sandy Hook School,” said Ms Gellis in an e-mail recently.

SMART Camp is offered in two sessions this summer. The first session ran from July 3 to 14, and the second session will run from July 17 to 28. The program is open to students exiting kindergarten to sixth grade. It offers programs in art, theater, science, and more.

In recent years the SMART Camp programs were offered at Head O’ Meadow Elementary School. After a “big moving day,” SMART Camp Program Director Stephanie Cardwell said only some adjustments were needed before the first week of the first summer session began.

Ms Cardwell said on July 6 that the first week of SMART this year was going “really well.”

Co-Head Interns Brenna Anderson and Jess Maturo said this year’s SMART Camp has some new offerings. Each day students divide into groups to attend different programs, which are all offered in classrooms at the school. Students also head outside to play during breaks between the programs. A cooking class was added this year, along with fun with drums and animals in art through time, according to Brenna.

Inside one classroom on July 6, Lisa Dawson led a paper mosaics class. Ms Dawson also teaches a puppet making class and a papier-mâché class.

“I have some very wonderful students that are being incredibly helpful,” said Ms Dawson as students worked around her.

For the paper mosaics class, Ms Dawson said she started teaching the students about spacing out their designs by using sponges and paint on paper. The students learned how the elements came together and some of her students created journals to keep track of everything they learn in the classes.

“It is all about being as creative as can be,” said Ms Dawson.

On July 6 her paper mosaics students were creating placemats to bring home.

Across the school in another classroom, Jean Walter was overseeing her animals in art through time class. Ms Walter said the students began with learning about cave paintings and how animals were depicted. For that lesson, Ms Walter created a “cave” in the classroom using sheets and tarps. The students crawled inside and painted on paper on the sides of the cave.

Ms Walter’s students were learning about the Unicorn Tapestries at the Cloisters in New York City, in the July 6 class. The tapestries are examples of art from the Middle Ages. For the lesson, Ms Walter had the students create paper unicorn designs.

The second session of SMART Camp begins on July 17. For more information about SMART Camp visit or call the Newtown Continuing Education office at 203-426-1787.

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