The Advent School | Summer Program
Experience The Advent School's unique engineering and design-based summer program for elementary school children.
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Engineering and Design Summer Program

Dream, Design, Discover

Each summer, Advent’s SMART Lab is transformed into a makerspace where children can design, tinker, and build. The summer program, Dream, Design Discover, offers three completely unique two-week sessions for children ages 5 through 12.

The first Monday of every session, designers sort through recycled materials, learn proper tool use, and are introduced to the Design Process. Each day designers and faculty explore the city by traveling to the Esplanade, Teddy Ebersol Fields/splash pad, or Public Garden to play games, get some fresh air, and recharge. On the last Friday of each session, the designers share their creations and experiments with friends and family at a Design Expo.

Get a sneak peek! Click here to read about a day in the life of the designers.

Our Philosophy

Advent’s summer program is grounded in the School’s mission. We believe:

  1. All children are creative problem solvers
  2. In the importance of collaboration
  3. Boston is an extension of the classroom, which helps children identify the needs of their communities and find inspiration

Program Fees

Program Cost: $1,200 for each two-week session

Extended Day Care Cost: $20 per day

2017 Program Themes

Pedal Power

Did you know that you can power a laptop, blend smoothies, and wash your clothes by pedaling a bike? In this session we will investigate how designers and engineers from around the world use bicycle parts to power their lives. Hands-on activities will deepen our understanding of the scientific concepts behind bicycles and other simple machines. This session will culminate with a showcase of our designs, prototypes, and our ideas about how to get our creations out into the world!

Designers in this session will:

Deconstruct bicycles and other pedal powered machines

Identify the parts and mechanisms and discover how they work together

Create new technologies incorporating gears, chains, wheels, and pedals

Wind + Water

Have you ever wanted to build a marshmallow blaster? A boat that propels itself? A hovercraft? If so, the Wind + Water session is for you! Wind and water are natural sources of power and a great way for us to explore and understand movement and energy. Inspired by young inventors from around the world, we will learn how wind and water can be used to create movement in  cars, boats, and more!

Designers in this session will:

Seek inspiration from international inventors who engineer for the environment

Explore the properties of recyclable materials and their ability to fly, float, and sink

Design wind and water powered technologies such as hovercrafts, boats, and balloon-powered cars

Bridges, Buildings, and Boulders

Designers will examine amazing feats of engineering in the form of famous buildings and bridges from around the world. We will visit, study, and draw structures throughout the city and investigate their architecture from the inside out. We will examine the incredible 3D model of Boston at City Hall and learn about what portions of the city are likely to change in the coming years.

During a special field trip, we will venture to an indoor rock climbing facility to learn about how the towering walls were designed and constructed…. and, of course, climb them too!  This session will culminate with a showcase of our landmark recreations and our interpretations of what cities will look like in the future.

Designers in this session will:

Learn about effective building materials and proper tool use

Investigate concepts like stability, scale, and strength through hands-on activities

Collaborate with fellow designers to create a replica of a famous structure, construct a futuristic city, or design a miniature climbing wall

Program Information


Drop Off: 8:30 – 9 a.m.

Program: 8:30 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Pick Up: 4 – 4:15 p.m.

Extended Day: 4 to 6 p.m.


Drop Off & Program: The Advent School SMART Lab at 99 W Cedar St., Boston, MA 02114

Pick Up & Extended Care: The Advent School at 15 Brimmer St., Boston, MA 02108

What to Bring

  1. A nutritious lunch
  2. Two snacks
  3. Refillable water bottle
  4. Closed-toed shoes (We work with tools and messy things!)
  5. Comfortable clothes that can get dirty
  6. Sunscreen already applied for the day, and for application throughout the day (We go outside every day.)

Click the + below to learn about each age group.

Junior Designers (5-6 years old)

Reggio-inspired, the Junior Designers are provided with ample opportunity to explore and create as they generate scientific ideas and theories. Open-ended questions invite the children to engage with materials in interesting ways, while an introduction to the design process helps them further their creations.

Student to Staff Ratio: 9:1

Senior Designers (7-9 years old)

The design process is a central focus for the Senior Designers. Steps such as “idea generation” and “gathering feedback” aid in the building, testing, and creation of a final prototype. Access to power tools, along with instruction on proper tool use, allow Seniors to create with a variety of materials.

Student to Staff Ratio: 10:1

Design Leaders (10-12 year olds)

Combining the principles of design with leadership skills, the Design Leaders teach and support others in the design process. As they create, Leaders share their knowledge with the younger designers during joint activities. Trips into the community and guest speakers extend the learning and provide new leadership opportunities.

Student to Staff Ratio: 10:1