For the fourth year in a row, California has issued 20,000 layoff warnings to schoolteachers.
With continuous reduction in an already understaffed and overworked job force, schools are amping up the emphasis on core subjects and the three R’s – reading, writing and arithmetic.
Art, physical education and applied sciences have fallen by the wayside as the constant budget cuts deem them unnecessary and thereby expendable.
Classroom hours are being devoted to preparing students for standardized testing, leaving little time for applied lessons and hands on learning.
The problems facing California’s schools are not new.
Eleven years ago, Glen Tripp, CEO and Founder of Galileo Learning, while working for an after school program saw the problems with the traditional model of learning first-hand and knew that something had to change.
Through his work as an educator, Tripp realized that while children received basic skills with subjects like reading and math, they lacked the creative problem solving and divergent thinking necessary to rise as a generation of innovators and creators.
“Galileo Learning is devoted to developing innovators who can envision and create a better world,” says Tripp. He believes that innovation and creative confidence is crucial to both personal fulfillment and in changing the world.
Learning is a Bay Area company that hosts art, science and outdoor summer camps. It began as a partnership with the San Jose Tech Museum in 2002.
A partnership that was appreciated so much so, that Galileo Learning was asked to run the museum’s summer camp program the following year. And one that they have ran ever since.
Galileo Learning has 33 camp locations around the San Francisco Bay Area offered to children who are pre-kindergarten through the eighth grade. They offer new and exciting programs like Go Kart building, digital filmmaking, video game design, music production and fashion design.
“Technology is playing a huge role in children’s lives and what we’re trying to do is help them to use technology to express themselves and to create rather than just for consumption,” says Tripp.
The belief of founder Glen Tripp is that the more effort that is put into having the best educators leading the camps, the better the experience for the children.
Galileo Learning has been recognized as one of the best summer camps in the Bay Area. In 2001, the San Francisco Business Times named Galileo Learning the number one Best Place to Work in the Bay Area.
Not wanting to stand pat with past successes, Galileo spends more than any other summer camp program, reinvesting into new and exciting programs and development.
Each year’s curriculum is new. The company spends roughly $500,000 every year towards curriculum development.
This year will be their first running the summer camp for Chabot Space & Science Center in Oakland, CA.
Parents who have children enrolled in Galileo say that they have been hooked since the first day their children attended.
Leslie Johnson, Lafayette resident and mother of two, has been taking her children to Galileo for the past five years.
“The innovative approach of mixing education while they are still having fun keeps my kids interested and excited to go back,” says Johnson.
She says that being introduced to Galileo Learning has changed the way that her children not only view education in general, but also the world.
Michael Ungar, a marriage and family therapist, believes that camps like Galileo provide children with the experiences that they need to prepare them well for life. He writes in his blog for Psychology Today that in addition to building new relationships and strengthening identities, “camps give kids both cultural roots and the chance to understand others who have cultures very different than their own,” says Ungar.
With the Bay Area being one of the most diverse places to live in the world, more often than not, people still seem to spend the vast majority of their time with those who come from the same background. Galileo allows children to break away from that norm and build relationships with many that they previously may not have come into contact with in new and exciting ways.
Children at the summer camp are learning without realizing that they are. Rather its Newton’s Laws while constructing roller coasters, computer programming and design while creating their own video game, or aerodynamics while designing, building and launching rockets.
There are many innovative subjects like cartoon workshop, painter’s studio, fashion design, digital filmmaking, web design, chef classes and many more.
And as usual, Galileo Learning has spent the entire nine months of the traditional school year creating exhilarating day camp curriculums to blow the socks off parents and campers alike.
If you are a returning family or if this will be the first summer camp your children will be attending, be sure to be impressed.