About Create Academy

Creativity * Collaboration * Critical Thinking * Communication * Innovation

Summer: A Time to Explore

PNA’s summer programs provide a safe place where students are free to imagine, invent, dream and build: a place where they can fail and start again with new ideas and inspiration. Creativity, collaboration, critical thinking, communication, and innovation encompass all aspects of the experience. Overall, we want to teach students the benefits of using their own minds, ideas and hands to create.

Project Based Learning

Our summer programs are organized around Project Based Learning. Each week poses a challenging problem for students to solve or a question to investigate, all while learning new skills. Weekly projects focus on critical thinking, problem-solving, collaboration, and self-management skills. Students ask questions, find resources, and apply information, all at a developmentally appropriate level. The projects feature real-world context, tasks and tools, and have impact– or speak to students’ personal concerns, interests, or issues in their lives. Throughout the week students give, receive, and use feedback to improve their process and product.

For example, students in the Flights of Fancy camp were challenged to design the flying car of the future. They researched shape and wing styles of things that fly, visited the Alaska Aviation Museum to see airplanes of the past and then built several prototypes of their ideas based on their research, the results of test runs and feedback from other students. On the last day of camp, students demonstrated their knowledge and tested their final designs during a launch party attended by the whole camp.

Social and Emotional Skills

We believe there is a strong link between academic success and social-emotional skills. We believe that a high-quality experience for every child is built on the foundation of a safe and joyful learning community. Our summer program shares our school culture of inclusion, respect, kindness, and responsibility. Each day we spend time developing interpersonal skills and building relationships between students and teachers using The Responsive ClassroomⓇ approach. This approach emphasizes academic, social and emotional growth in a strong community. Daily morning meetings, guided discovery and collaborative problem solving lay the groundwork for successful communication and collaboration in the classroom, higher achievement in academics, and a cohesive community with a shared purpose. The nurturing guidance and support of Create Academy teachers fosters positive social development as children gain self-awareness. Children learn to express feelings, build friendships, and resolve conflicts. Independence is nurtured, as campers are encouraged to take care of their personal possessions and participate in classroom jobs.

Art and the Outdoors

In order to facilitate collaboration, and as a source of inspiration, students at Create Academy explore the outdoors daily and may visit Ruth Arcand Park during the week. Through outdoor education activities ranging from games, low ropes initiatives, geocaching, nature hikes, team-building exercises, orienteering and other outdoor skills, students work together to brainstorm ideas and compromise on solutions to the challenges they face.
Daily musical, visual or performing arts classes expose students to the creative process. Through the arts, students develop and hone their ability to analyze, critique, grasp abstract ideas and express themselves. As students gain confidence and creative integrity, they develop public speaking and risk-taking skills by presenting their thoughts and ideas to others.