2019 Classes & Descriptions

2019 Class Schedule

We have a fun and engaging schedule of classes for summer 2019. Check out the schedule of classes for our standard two-week camps below.

For more scheduling flexibility and a new type of camp, we are also offering new One-Week Explorations this year. 

Classes & Descriptions

Campers have the ability to design a schedule that reflects their personal interests and goals for the summer! Pick and choose from over 60 class offerings spanning the arts, science, athletics, and more! For class descriptions, click on a category below.

For the 2019 Schedule, click here.

New for 2019

One-week Explorations

Spend a week with our experienced summer camp teachers exploring the Pacific Northwest. Whether you’re on a camping trip or staying closer around town, these camps offer a chance to get out and explore. 

Please note that boarding is NOT available for these camps. And while we welcome international students, there is no English support for these camps. Participants should be able to participate in English.

Coastal Backpacking 101
July 15-19, 8:30 am – 4:00 pm. Depart for overnight trip Wednesday morning, return Friday afternoon
$750

Spend two days at the Northwest School learning the basics of planning a backpacking trip. Make a menu, get to know your gear, map your route, and make a safety plan. Then, head out to the Olympic Coast for a three-day and two-night trip. Set up your tent under the stars, explore tide pools and coastal forests, and wiggle your toes in the sand. This easy backpacking journey allows plenty of time for exploration as you travel from site to site. The Northwest School has gear you can borrow, or you can bring your own. A packing list will be sent prior to camp.

Cascade Foothills Geology
July 22-26, 8:30 am – 4:00 pm. Depart for overnight trip Wednesday morning, return Friday afternoon
$750

Washington’s Cascade Mountains offer a “range” of exploration and activities. Spend the first two days of the week at the school understanding the geologic history of Washington state and how it fits into the Pacific Ring of Fire. On Wednesday, head into the Cascade foothills for three days and two nights of hiking, camping, and exploring. You’ll set up a base camp, and then head out for a hike each day.  The Northwest School has gear you can borrow, or you can bring your own. A packing list will be sent prior to camp.

Seattle Inside and Out
August 5-9, 8:30 am - 4:00 pm daily
$600

What makes Seattle one of the greatest cities in the world?  Find out as you spend time outside, exploring a local park and beach, and hiking in nearby mountains. Immerse yourself in the history of the people who’ve called Seattle home. Visit the headquarters of one of the world’s largest companies, and iconic Seattle attractions like the Space Needle and Pike Place Market.

Whether you’re an international visitor, a lifetime local, or somewhere in between, join us on this week-long adventure exploring Seattle, inside and out!

  • A Little Bit of This and That

    Cooking with NWS
    The Northwest School is known for delicious lunches designed and prepared by our professional kitchen team. Join our chefs in preparing some of their favorite dishes. Go home with full bellies and scrumptious new recipes! $25 materials fee

    Creature Creations
    Looking for a new friend who is cute and cuddly or scary and weird? You've come to the right place! In this class, you will gain the skills needed to sew up your own plush creature creation. We will use recycled fabrics, found objects, and more, to give life to your new pal. The only limit is your creativity. $25 materials fee

    Exploring Seattle
    Students in this course explore Seattle through field trips. Together we visit a range of local sites and participate in a variety of activities to become better acquainted with the rich history and cultural diversity the city has to offer. While each session involves excursions outside the classroom, each focuses on a different theme and involves different field trips. $25 materials fee

    Session 1: People - Seattle is home to diverse communities of people. In this session, we will travel to a range of cultural sites, including the Wing Luke Museum, the Duwamish Longhouse, and the Klondike Gold Rush National Park. You’ll learn how to say “hello” in a local indigenous language, get to walk through a historic hotel, and see what was sold in the first Nordstrom store, all while learning about the people who call Seattle home.

    Session 2: Places - Seattle is known for the Space Needle. But what other places make the city special? In this session, we will visit the Bullitt Center, the greenest building in the world, take the elevator to the top floor of Seattle’s tallest skyscraper, and dip our toes in the Puget Sound at Alki Beach. Exploring various places throughout Seattle will give us a unique perspective on the city’s history.

    Session 3: Cultures - Some of the best food, art, and music in the world can be found right here in the Emerald City. In this session, we will treat ourselves to the Seattle’s most popular ice cream, admire the paintings and sculptures at Frye Art Museum, scavenge for the cutting-edge street art throughout Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood, and meet some local musicians. By the end of the session, you’ll be an expert on the culture the city has to offer.

    Fashion Studio: 1000 Ways to Transform a T-shirt
    There are so many ways to personalize a t-shirt. In this class, we will learn how to alter t-shirts to fit better, cut them in ways to make them extra cute, embellish them with our own designs, and paint on them to create our own textiles, all while using up-cycled t-shirts. $25 materials fee

    Fashion Studio: Re-FABULOUS
    Learn how to personalize your style and repurpose found fabrics and thrift-store finds into something cool and uniquely you. Using embellishment and a combination of hand and machine sewing, we will breathe new life into everyday pieces. Create something fabulous for your wardrobe! $25 materials fee

    Film Studies: Hayao Miyazaki’s Anime
    Miyazaki’s films are some of the most popular in contemporary cinema. Global acclaim for his films is undoubtedly due to his beautiful animation. However, his characters and stories speak across cultural borders. In this class, we will look at films reflecting core issues important to Miyazaki such as pollution and the environment, women and gender roles, and socioeconomic differences.

    Film Studies: Science Fiction and Fantasy
    Using television shows and movies like Dr. Who, Star Trek, and Harry Potter we will explore social issues and expand our creative side. We may look into topics like gender roles, racism, over use of technology, and care for the environment. During class, we will watch movies and shows, and then explore them through art, writing, and discussion. Some movies may be PG 13.

    Leadership for Social Justice
    Learn to build relationships as a platform for our leadership development. How can we become better collaborators, better community builders, and better facilitators? Through field trips and guests, along with a variety of fun and engaging activities, this is the perfect place to find tools to "be the change you want to see in the world."
    *Intermediate English speaking and writing highly recommended

    Life’s a Game!
    Can life skills and insights into the human condition be learned through board games? In this class, we will explore the techniques needed to be a successful board game player. We'll learn how games can be used to teach reason, logic, mathematics, and strategy. You only need a positive attitude and a love of games to enjoy this class!

    Pop Culture and Gender Socialization
    What subtle and not-so-subtle messages are we receiving about gender identity from music, movies, television, magazines and other art forms? What role does popular culture play in forming the opinions we hold about gender roles, respect, empathy and compassion? We will listen to current music, watch videos and movie clips, and look at print media to analyze how we are socialized towards gender. Let’s explore and discuss!

    Thai Fruit & Vegetable Carving
    Believed to have originated in Thailand more than 700 years ago, food carving is now taught in primary and secondary schools throughout the country. Join NWS chef Rung Muanggan as he shares his culture’s heritage through this revered art form. $25 materials fee

  • Architecture

    We are excited to partner again with the Seattle Architecture Foundation to offer two innovative classes!

    Designing Seattle

    This class will take a look at the transformations happening in Seattle communities through the lens of Seattle’s unique history. Students will learn how the Seattle we know today was created by decisions made decades ago. We will visit neighborhoods, talk with architects, and design models for new buildings and spaces such as parks, houses, stores, libraries and streets. Students will then design and build their own solution to a challenge facing our urban community using cardboard. $25 materials fee

    Intro to Architectural Modeling

    In this deep dive into the world of architectural modeling, the class will learn about the use of models in architectural practice, while exploring the many different forms a “model” can take. We will construct a study model out of cardstock and cardboard, learning techniques to communicate the big ideas about your design. We will then build a more detailed presentation model to scale, using balsa wood and other professional modeling materials. $50 materials fee

  • Athletics and Movement

    Our sports classes offer campers the opportunity to learn and build camaraderie through active play. Through a variety of sports, exercise, and dance, we will foster health, fitness, and teamwork. Campers should come to class prepared with appropriate attire.

    Advanced Recess
    Don’t care what you do as long as you can get out and run around? This class is for you! Bringing back old school recess favorites like street hockey and dodgeball, as well as new favorites like ultimate, this class will have you on your feet and out in the summer sun. Requires tennis shoes with non-marking soles.

    Basketball
    We’ll focus on introducing and developing fundamental basketball skills through a variety of fun drills, games, and scrimmages. You will practice shooting form, dribbling, and passing, as well as offensive and defensive footwork and principles. Requires tennis shoes with non-marking soles.

    Capoeira: Afro-Brazilian Martial Arts
    Developed by enslaved Africans in Brazil to fight against colonial oppression, this “dance of war” weaves tradition, history, spirituality, and philosophy into a uniquely beautiful art form. Combining elements of breakdancing and martial arts, with a soundtrack of Brazilian songs and instruments, this class is a great way to gain flexibility and strength while learning how to express yourself through your body.

    Fitness Studio
    Our fitness class is all about having fun while getting an education about proper exercise technique, strengthening our bodies, and improving our cardiovascular conditioning. We will also learn ways to incorporate fitness activities and exercises into our daily lives that will help keep us strong, committed, and healthy!

    NetSports
    Enjoy summertime favorites such as volleyball, badminton, and tennis. Practice serving, rallying, and spiking as you challenge each other in teams. Then grab a racquet and practice your swing in badminton and tennis as you pair up in doubles or establish your independence in singles. This class may be held outside, if weather permits. Requires tennis shoes with non-marking soles.

    Self Defense
    Develop the emotional and physical acuity to go from idle to “ready to react.” Drawing from martial arts, including Kali/Escrima, Aikido, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and Silat, this class will give you the skills and resources to protect yourself in a wide array of situations. We will also explore non-violent personal safety tactics for you to keep handy in your pocket and ready to pull out at a moment’s notice.

    Soccer
    Build your skills in the world’s favorite sport! We’ll practice standard moves and learn new strategies that we will put into play during scrimmages. This class will be held outside, rain or shine.

    Urban Hiking
    Often referred to as the Emerald City, Seattle is an urban gem full of hidden natural oases, sweeping vistas, historic landmarks, and amazing art installations. Whether you are a local Seattleite, or new visitor to the city, you will discover that Seattle is best explored by foot. This class is a great opportunity to connect with fellow campers, enjoy the Seattle summer, and discover the physical and mental benefits a simple walk can provide.

    Yoga Studio
    This class is about exploring flexibility, strength, and relaxation. Practicing yoga postures can create stronger focus, better sleep, and happier people. We will laugh, move, stretch, and breathe while studying proper alignment, anatomy, and how to live in and feel our bodies.

  • English Language Learners (ELL)

    English language learners are welcome to enroll in any of our Summer Camp classes, unless a class is listed as requiring native English proficiency. Below are classes specifically for ELL students who wish to improve their English language skills. Due to the integrative nature of our camp, international campers must have at least one year of English instruction and be able to understand basic instruction.

    Speaking & Presentation – Beginning & Intermediate
    In this class, we will work on pronunciation, enunciation, and projection. Through repeated practice and small-group activities, you will become more at ease in your overall language ability. Campers will be assessed and divided into appropriate levels on the first day of class.

    Beginning Level – Campers designated as beginners will have had at least one year of English instruction and be able to understand basic inquiries (e.g. how are you, what is your name, etc.). The class will focus on expanding vocabulary and building confidence in using English. We will also have an emphasis on listening comprehension so that students are more able to participate in conversation with native speakers.

    Intermediate Level – Campers designated as intermediate are able to communicate in English, but want to build their conversation and presentation skills. Using English as a bridge, students will interact with classmates to learn about their cultures, habits, expectations, and aspirations. They will then relate what they have learned about each other in classroom presentations, where they will focus on pronunciation skills such as cadence, intonation, stress, and overall fluency.

    Reading & Writing – Beginning & Intermediate
    Through reading, we will develop our English vocabulary. We will then work on expressing your thoughts clearly and eloquently in writing. Our instructors will begin with the basics and guide you through the rules of English composition. Campers will be assessed and divided into appropriate levels on the first day of class.

    Beginning Level – In this class, students will review phonetics, spelling, and grammar, while also building their vocabulary. We’ll look at creative writing as well as news articles and short stories to find inspiration for our own written pieces.

    Intermediate Level – Students will spend time reading and writing in multiple genres, including poems and short stories, and practical genres like menus and letters, to help them develop their language skills.

  • Language Arts

    Creative Writing: Poetry Studio
    Haiku, rhyme, narrative, and verse. In this class, you will explore poetry as an expression of your personal view of the world. Write sonnets, cinquains, and nursery rhymes as you explore the rhythm and meter of words in English or other languages. Share spoken word and visual poetry with your classmates or the whole camp, and let your inner poet emerge. Must be native English speaker or have intermediate ELL skills.

    Creative Writing: Short Stories
    In this class, we will learn how to craft stories by thinking about genre and plot structure. We will write several short stories that play with the genre conventions of historical fiction, science fiction, fantasy, children’s literature, and biography. Must be native English speaker or have intermediate ELL skills.

    Journalism
    Learn how to gather ideas and turn them into a good story. We’ll discuss interviewing tips, sentence structure, and journalism ethics. We’ll then develop content, work on graphic layout and design, and put together a weekly newsletter to share with everyone at camp. Must be native English speaker or have intermediate ELL skills.

    Writing: Surviving Middle School
    Going beyond grammar, this class will focus on project-based writing and help students develop research skills necessary for assignments they may encounter during the school year. Must be native English speaker or have Advanced ELL skills.

  • Music & Performing Arts

    African Drumming
    We provide the drums, you bring the rhythm. In this annual favorite, you will be introduced to the sounds of West Africa through drums, games, and storytelling.

    Digital Music
    Learn the basics of navigating GarageBand and constructing rhythms, bass lines, chord progressions and melodies. This project-based lab will have you creating your own music from day 1. You will have the skills you need to learn other programs, and you will never listen to music the same way again!

    GRAM (Guitar, Rhythm, and Movement)

    Time to groove and move! Enjoy performing music in rhythm-driven folk idioms with basic guitar, ukulele, hand drums, body percussion, and movement. This class is perfect for students wanting to get started on guitar, learn hand percussion, and have fun moving with the rhythm.

    Improvisational Theater
    Improvisation is the ability to make things up on the spot—a skill that comes in handy in many aspects of life! In this class, we will explore the basics of improv through exercises in agreement, commitment, spontaneity, and listening. You will test your creativity as well as build your confidence.

    One Act Plays
    Learn the inner workings of the theater world by exploring your creativity through one act plays. We will select the play(s), improvise the set, and put on a performance for our fellow campers. If time allows, we may even develop our own script!

    Songwriting for Everyone
    Have you always wanted to try writing a song? Here's the place to give it a try! Learn the art of songwriting through fun games and exercises. We will explore lyrics, melody, phrasing, rhymes, and inspiration. You don’t have to play an instrument. All this class requires is a willingness to tap into and share your creativity.

    Vocal Performance Choir
    If you love to sing, this class is for you. Experience the joy of singing with other students from around the world. Students will learn vocal development through proper breath control, articulation, ear training, and presentation. Our daily practices will prepare you to share your vocal talents with your fellow campers, instructors, and family members at our final student concert. Come sing, grow, and learn with us!

  • Science, Technology, & Math

    Computer Animation
    In the world of animation, if you can imagine it, you can create it. This is your chance to bring your imagination to life. We’ll learn to express our ideas in pictures and words while discussing storyboarding, scriptwriting, scenic layout, and more.

    Creative Math Studio
    Fibonacci numbers, ratios, fractals, and geometric sequences. Explore the fun and creative side of algebra, trigonometry, and geometry in this exploration of math as art. Make golden ratio spirals, find fractals and sequences in the garden, and search for math concepts in various works of art, then make your own math art works to share with the whole camp.

    DIY Chemistry
    You can try this at home! Explore the basics of chemistry using common household materials. Explore pH with cabbage juice, make polymers with glue, and generate heat with baking soda. Besides just being fun, home chemistry experiments are a great way to get a jump on understanding fundamental concepts in physical, analytic and inorganic chemistry. $25 materials fee

    DIY Robots
    This class will be about making battery-driven scooting, lurching, and walking machines. We'll explore electronics and engineering as we discuss the parts necessary to make electricity produce movement. Students will work in teams to construct kinetic artworks. $50 materials fee

    Hot Rod Workshop
    By using batteries and motors for power, we’ll learn to make small-scale drag racing machines! Creativity and ingenuity will be necessary as we convert everyday common materials into fast-moving machines. At the end of the class, students keep their creations! $25 materials fee

    Human Physiology
    Why does your heart speed up when you exercise? Why do you need sleep? How does blue light ruin your sleep (including staring at your phone screen at night). We’ll answer these questions and more as we study how the human body functions.

    Marine Biology: Our Changing Ecosystems
    Marine ecosystems are rapidly changing due to pollution, global warming, and human consumption. In this class, we will study the biodiversity of marine life and how climate change is affecting coral reefs and the pH of the ocean. Taking advantage of our proximity to the Puget Sound, we will use low tide to explore our own shores!

    Math: Surviving Middle School
    Whether you’re looking to get a jump start on middle school math or just trying to keep current with your studies, this class will challenge you to apply basic skills to real problems. We will emphasize proportional thinking and algorithms, and learn to communicate math reasoning and organization. Depending on students’ ability, we may also introduce Pre-Algebra and Pre-Geometry concepts. Intended for students ages 10-12

    Northwest Urban Nature
    Wildlife is all around us, even in the heart of the city. Taking advantage of our urban campus, explore the plant and animal life here in our own backyard. Survey the birds and insects that call Seattle home, learn the difference between a maple and an alder, and seek out local green spaces. Experiment with different ways of tracking, surveying, and estimating wildlife populations as you get to know our wild neighbors here in the city.

    Physics Lab
    When was the last time you questioned natural laws? When you drop something, it falls, right? But if you’ve ever stopped to ask why or how, this class is for you. Conduct simple experiments to see Newton’s laws and thermodynamics in action. Trace the path of electrons through a circuit and measure the strength of a magnet. Find the fun in the fundamentals of physics in this foray into how the universe works.

    Scientific Illustration
    Take a deeper look at the natural world around you. Learn to capture and understand the detail of scientific drawings and work from the observation of plants and animals to create realistic and beautiful illustrations. $25 materials fee

    Sumo Bots
    Custom build your own sumo bot! Working in teams, we will create a mechanical structure, decide on an electronic system, and program the robots’ software. With in-class competitions, we’ll continue to refine our creations. Let the battle begin! $50 materials fee

    Survival Biology
    A look into how basic biology holds up the backbone of our society. We will pose the question: How does a society rebuild after a large scale natural disaster or cataclysm? Using raw materials, we will dive into the science of soap making, water purification, food preservation, medicine, and other things we usually take for granted.

    Urban Farm-to-Table
    Trace the food we eat from the soil to the plate. Get your hands dirty in The Northwest School’s own Urban Farm and Garden, then wash up and head into the dining room to enjoy the “fruits” of your labor. Explore urban farms and food deserts and discover the ideal soil and water conditions for growing delicious, healthy food in a city.

  • Visual Arts

    Ceramics: Functional Pottery
    Want to make a new coffee mug for your mom? Perhaps you want a one-of-a-kind cereal bowl. Using coil building and slab work, you will find gratification in creating, from scratch, an item to use in everyday life.

    Ceramics: Shaping Sculptures
    Take a lump of clay and turn it into art! In this class, we will explore clay-handling techniques as you learn to represent gesture, proportion, mass, structure, and surface form in three dimensions.

    Comic Art & Illustration
    Build your drawing skills and create your own original comic. In this class, you’ll develop a signature style while learning the art of storytelling through 2D interpretations of action, sound, and expression. $25 materials fee

    Graphic Design: Intro to Illustrator
    Learn the basics of Adobe Illustrator, one of the most popular professional design platforms on the market. Through various labs you will manipulate photos, text, lines, and shapes to design and create posters, advertisements, brochures, and even lay out web pages or magazine spreads.

    Filmmaking Studio
    Lights, camera, action! Dive into the world of filmmaking by creating, shooting, and editing your very own short film. As a class, you will devise a concept, storyboard, and write a script. We’ll then form a production crew, rotating roles to shoot, direct, and act. Finally, we’ll edit the film together before debuting it at the camp showcase. $25 materials fee

    Glass Mosaic Studio
    In this companion class to our popular Stained Glass Studio, learn the art of cutting and grinding colorful stained glass into a pattern of your choosing. Then, set your glass design into a concrete mold to make a unique stepping stone or door stop to decorate your home or garden. $25 materials fee

    Jewelry Making Studio
    Fashion unique, wearable works of art. Start with learning general tools of the trade: chain nose and needle nose pliers, jump rings and wire cutters. Then add various findings and clasps to make bracelets, earrings, pins, necklaces and rings. Use polymer clay, assorted beads, colored wire and paper quill to create multiple pieces of your own design. $25 materials fee

    Painting Studio
    Exploring fundamental concepts with paint and brush, become comfortable with brush handling, color theory, and composition. We will draw inspiration from still life, the natural landscape, and our own imaginations! We will work predominantly in acrylic paint on canvas paper, canvas board and stretched canvas. $25 materials fee

    Photography: Going Old-School!
    Learn photography the old-school way! With your own 35mm manual camera, or using one of ours, you will master the basic camera functions and develop your photos in our professional dark room. $50 materials fee

    Photography: Your Digital World
    Get to know the language of professional digital photography. Spend some time outside taking pictures, and then move into the lab to transform the images with Adobe® Photoshop®. Practice finding a good photo wherever you are, regardless of your environment. Then, make subtle changes to your photo to make it that much better or completely change the look of your photo. We recommend bringing your own, but digital cameras are available for class use. $25 materials fee

    Printmaking Studio
    This class is all about the art of multiples! We will go through the process of designing, creating, and running our own prints on paper and on fabric, using block printing, screen printing, and other techniques. $25 materials fee

    Stained Glass Studio
    Learn to design magnificent pieces under the instruction of a professional stained-glass artist. Choose from a variety of patterns, cut and grind glass shapes, work with lead-free solder, and create a one-of-a-kind piece that will fill any space with color and light. $25 materials fee

    Stop Motion Animation
    Come explore the original form of animation! We will work together to write a script, design and develop characters and props, and explore filmmaking skills such as lighting, camerawork, and editing. Whether using clay, household items, or ourselves, we’ll create a short film to share with the camp community. $25 materials fee

Summer Camp