The five-week summer school session is mandatory for all Little Keswick School students. During the summer school session, students focus on building social groups and increasing comfort with the classroom environment and current academic expectations; new students begin to practice what it means to be a student in our community. Additionally, students continue their work on developing individual capacities without risking the regression typically occurring in other settings when students take a long extended summer break.
Academic Program during Summer:
- Academic instruction during the summer session serves to teach the student to learn basic routines, build relationships and for assessment in the areas of math, reading and language arts. An abbreviated daily school schedule and class size of eight boys or less allows for intensive, individualized instruction by experienced special educators.
Residential Program during Summer:
- It’s summer and the boys spend most of their time enjoying recreational activities and having fun. When not in their half-day of school the boys enjoy residential life. Experienced instructors provide unique, motivating and fun daily activities such as arts/crafts, woodworking, horseback riding, swimming, soccer, basketball, hiking, fishing, camping, biking, canoeing and more. A camp-like feel is important during the summer session. Trips to recreational areas in Virginia are offered each weekend. Optional activities include Boy Scouts, music lessons and private horseback riding lessons.
An Enhanced Understanding of your Child:
- A select number of students per summer may benefit from a Summer Only Experience at LKS. A therapeutic summer experience can provide parents with an enhanced understanding of their child after spending five weeks in our program. Experience, understanding and skill building define the parameters of our summer program. A primary objective of a student attending the five week summer program is to experience oneself being successful in a structured, safe, engaging, social and fun setting away from home. Participation in the program allows parents to have the opportunity to develop an enhanced understanding of their son as well as, the relationship between him and his environment. Students will learn effective skills for interacting with others, managing their emotions and efforts, and realizing their positive intentions more consistently. They begin to practice these skills with the intention that they will develop into productive and healthy habits over time. Immersion in our community allows our boys to socialize with similarly developing peers who are interested in developing positive relationships. The social intelligence curriculum provides that constant contextual coaching and shaping to help the boys learn ways to influence how others see and relate to them.
- Oversight for our relationship-based intervention that occurs regularly throughout the day is provided for each student by a member of our clinical team. Formal direct services provided to each student by this team include:
- One individual therapy session per week (5)
- One family therapy session per week (5)
- One group therapy session per week (5)
- Three parent consultations: Orientation, Midpoint, Completion of the program (3)
- Upon completion of the summer program, the assigned clinical staff provides a detailed summary about what we have learned about your son during his intensive interactions during the five week session. Relevant areas addressed could include:
- Your son’s organizational and cognitive capacities
- His patterns of successful and detrimental social skill development and his use of specific principals of social intelligence
- His emotional regulation capacities
- His self-concept characteristics and formation
- His patterns of behavior and interactions within the family relationships
- Where he fits in relation to typically developing peers
- Recommendations for you, his parents, and for professionals continuing to work with your son
The Summer Sessions in June and August
Little Keswick School offers summer sessions during the three weeks before and after the July summer session. The summer sessions are attended by all students who are not ready to be at home for a three week extended break. The summer sessions provide facilitated social interactions, programmed daily schedule and organizational support that is difficult to imitate at home over extended break periods. It also helps students who have particular difficulty with interactions and effective functioning at home or with the transitions from home to school. The hands-on, fast paced and experiential nature of the program creates a fun way to sustain and build social development, increased self-awareness and increased capabilities through structured and facilitated outdoor play, interaction with friends, and skill acquisition.
Instruction, coaching, shaping, collaboration and direct supervision of students is scheduled at a 1:3 staff to student ratio. Onsite administrative and clinical oversight is provided throughout the 23 days by senior administration and by our Child Psychiatrist who also provides ongoing monitoring, consultation, and medication management for all students.
The summer sessions maintain the basic tenants of Little Keswick School’s award winning program. Students receive direct-care, support, guidance, and instruction from well-trained professional staff who use the Little Keswick School relationship-based model. Three specific areas of growth:
- Social thinking
- Social Communication
- Social Role and Identity
Belonging is built on establishing a social role and identity by harmoniously integrating the thoughts, feelings, and agendas of other people with ones own. Social thinking skills, developed in Michelle Garcia-Winner’s Social Thinking Curriculum are practiced with daily lessons. In place year-round at LKS, the summer sessions develop these capacities through intensive practice in smaller groups and a more hands-on context.
- Personal inventory
- Goal Setting
Personal Awareness forms the foundation for creating a cohesive and positive idea of “who I am.” Staff amplify a student’s experience of himself so that his self-awareness can support goals, choices, and efforts. Students receive constant feedback about their strengths, about their feelings, the impact of their behaviors, and ultimately about their identities. The Bridge Experience continues this crucial part of the program, while offering opportunities for reflection through art, journaling, small-group processing, inquiry-based instruction, and guided-attention activities.
- Skill Acquisition
- Strengths & Weaknesses
- Experienced Success
Competence develops when one can repeatedly exclaim “I did it!” At the heart of the Bridge Experience are hands-on, experiential activities including hiking, camping, canoeing, kayaking, swimming, fishing, wood craft, horseback riding, orienteering, geo-caching, service work, and camp cooking. Besides being fun and engaging, these activities offer students an opportunity to demonstrate being as capable young men. For more than 50 years at LKS, students have continually demonstrated that this sense of personal agency is crucial in the development of self-esteem and personal independence.