2023 Classes & Descriptions

Create a Schedule as Individual as You Are

Choose Four Classes - Make a Combination You Like

The Northwest School Summer Camp schedule contains four periods or blocks a day; each camper can select a schedule of four classes each day for two weeks.

Do you love the arts? Take 4 arts classes. Want to mix it up? Try a sport, an art class, take a hike, and see how much fun math can be. Try something you've never done before. With so many classes to choose from there is so much to explore. 

See the Class Schedule here

  • Architecture

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

    Designing Seattle
    This class will 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.

    Intro to Architectural Modeling
    In this deep dive into the world of architectural modeling, students will learn about the design process, transforming 2D drawings into models, and the use of models in architectural practice. 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 professional modeling materials.

  • 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.

    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.

    Disc Sports
    Ultimate Frisbee is an exciting, non-contact team sport, played by thousands the world over. Learn tips and techniques for throwing and catching, as well as teamwork and strategy. Then, master the art of throwing at our rooftop the Disc Golf targets. Cleats are optional for this class.

    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 about current nutrition guidelines and ways to incorporate balanced eating habits and exercise into our daily lives that will help keep us strong, committed and healthy

    Net Sports
    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 a variety of martial arts, 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.

    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. Cleats are optional for this class.

    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: Fluent Writers

    Our Writers' Workshop classes are designed for campers who are native English Speakers, have Advanced ELL skills, or have spent at least one year attending school in the US. Teachers and campers together will decide which route they want to take with their writing.

    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, or 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.

    Learn how to gather ideas and turn them into a good story. We’ll discuss interviewing tips, sentence structure, and journalism ethics. We will analyze sources, identify bias, and weed out the click bait. We’ll then develop content, work on graphic layout and design, and put together a newsletter to share with everyone at camp.

    Writing: Thriving in 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. Projects or topics may include art analysis, current events, persuasive essays, or informative prose.

  • 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.

  • NWS Special

    Social Justice Leadership
    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

    Board Games
    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 play some of the most popular board games of all time in the United States with others and learn to strategize, cooperate, make deals, and have fun.

    Urban Gardening
    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.

  • Performing Arts

    Guitar & Keyboard
    While not formal lessons, this class will give you the chance to practice and work on your music performance skills. Play a duet with a friend, learn a new chord on your own, or start a whole group band. We can throw in some percussion too if that’s more your jam. We’ll vary our genre, arrangements, and styles so you can play something that resonates with you.

    Improv Theater
    Improvisation (or improv) 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!

    Dance & Movement
    No previous dance experience and perfect for the person who is willing to try new things. Learn to create expressive and original movement through improvisational exploration to the musical rhythms of jazz, blues, and hip-hop! Through articulated exploration of shape, line, and form the dancer will develop and create dances that are fun, meaningful, and unique. If you can move, you can dance! Join us!

  • Science, Technology, & Math

    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.

    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.

    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!

    Human Biology
    Why does your heart speed up when you exercise? Why do you need sleep? How do vaccines and genes work? How does our environment affect our health? 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: Just for Fun
    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 ground basic skills in visual models and physical manipulatives. We will define a variable, balance equations, combine like terms, find the area, volume, and surface area of shapes, identify patterns and much more. Intended for students ages 10-12

    Personal Finance
    Let’s learn about money! This class will help you understand the basic concepts of personal finance and how these concepts can be applied to creating goals, forming habits, and asking questions that will assist in making decisions for high school and beyond. By the end of this course, you will be able to create a budget, understand financial vocabulary, and make decisions on your future financial goals.

    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.

    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!

  • Visual Arts

    Animation Creation
    Use iPads and iOS apps to tell a story through pictures. See hand-drawn pictures, claymation, or digital illustration come to life through technology. Experiment with motion, timing and spacing to make your vision dance across the screen.

    Ceramics: Hand Building
    Take a lump of clay and turn it into art! In this class, we will explore clay-handling techniques including coil building and slab work as you learn to design and build with clay. Your finished product may be a sculpture or a useful item, but it will be messy and fun.

    Ceramics: Advanced, Wheel Throwing
    For campers with some ceramics experience, take your art to the next level on the ceramics wheel. Learn how to center clay on the wheel, throw it into simple forms, and use tools to trim and shape your cylinders, bowls, or plates. Due to the physical nature of using a ceramics wheel, this class is recommended for campers who are at least 48” tall.

    Filmmaking Studio
    Lights, camera, action! In the world of film, 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. Make your vision come to life as you tell your story.

    Introduction to Drawing
    Learn the basics of line, shape, form, and texture to make drawing your favorite form of self-expression. Using a variety of media – graphite, charcoal, ink, and colored pencil – practice observing and capturing the world around you on paper. Create still-lifes, landscapes, animal sketches, and self-portraits as you build basic drawing skills.

    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.

    Mixed Media Art
    Combine a variety of procedures and materials into your next visual art masterpiece. Techniques will include collage, printing, manual cut and paste, and transfers. Use paint, glue, photography, fibers, found objects and drawing supplies. Develop your personal style as you practice with mixed materials and see how each element of your art piece interacts with others.

    Painting Studio: Acrylics
    Both painting studio classes will explore fundamental concepts with paint and brush. In acrylics, campers will focus on color theory, brush handling 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.

    Painting Studio: Watercolor
    Both painting studio classes will explore fundamental concepts with paint and brush. In watercolor, we will emphasize painting richly colored works, rather than washed-out “watery” pictures. Campers will create both abstract and carefully observed realistic images. We will focus on water-soluble media including watercolor, ink and aquarelle pencils.

    Photography: Black & White Film
    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.

    Photography: Digital Lab
    Get to know the language of professional digital photography. Spend time outside taking pictures, and then move into the lab to transform the images with Adobe software. 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.

    Figure Drawing Studio
    Harness the skills to accurately draw faces. Work from life and photos as you draw self-portraits or your favorite celebrity. Practice proportion, shading, and perspective to learn the rules of photo-like drawing so you can break them as you transition to anime or caricature.

    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.

    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 illustrations.

    Sewing Studio
    Create, alter, upcycle, or re-style. Personalize your style and repurpose found fabrics and thrift-store finds into something cool and uniquely you. Whether you design clothes, creatures, or a new bag, practice the foundational sewing skills of measuring, cutting, stitching, and finishing

    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.

Summer Camp