It’s typically rare to hear laughter, energy and chatter during the summer months in the hallways of schools.  
At Oak Hall Episcopal School, however, the halls have been anything but empty.
June has played host to the school’s summer camps, with two weeks of OHES Boot Camp and the OHES Fun Camp bringing students to the school for weeks of fun activities, creative projects and learning. The Fun Camp, which caters to younger students, wrapped up on Friday. While the camp is a fun, exciting atmosphere for students, the camp serves many other purposes.
“It’s an introduction for my class when school starts,” Tammy Landgraf, OHES early childhood 3 teacher, said. “That way when they come to school they’re not scared and they know their routine.
“There are less tears because they know me and they know what my expectations are.”
Landgraf said the camp can help ease the tension of a student’s first school experience and establish  relationships before the student officially walks the halls of OHES. Students can begin school at OHES at age 3, which can be a new experience for both the student and the parents.
“We’ve built a relationship and have a rapport with them so they’re not scared and not anxious,” Cynthia Bell, OHES first grade teacher, said of the camp experience.
Bell said during the summer months students are away from the classroom and can, potentially, regress if they’re not reading regularly and continuing to learn. While summer is a time off for students, completely halting the learning process can do more harm than good, with “the summer slump” possibly stinting learning and forcing the beginning of school to be a remediation period.
Bell said the camp is used to foster continental cognitive growth.
“We just keep them from the summer slump,” Bell said. “We continue the reading and the math activities.”
The camp uses activities to stimulate the brain, which are based around the camp theme. This year the camps used a “beach” theme to educate campers about marine life, read books about the ocean and performed counting activities using sand and sea shells. Bell said they use different manipulatives to “enhance their (the students’) learning experience.”
“If you’re not coming to school each day you don’t have those classroom experiences to continue moving forward,” she said. “So during the summer when we read less and aren’t doing those math activities then we will regress and not learn as much had we been in the classroom everyday.”
The camp isn’t just open to future and current OHES students, children from the community can sign up for the camp as well. Bell said several of her campers this year don’t attend OHES and “had a great time” meeting new friends and being a part of the camp. Landgraf noted the camp can give students and parents a glimpse of what OHES is about and get an idea of educational opportunities in the community.
“It’s a big benefit,” Landgraf said of the camps.
The camp is designed to provide a fun learning experience for students, with educational elements that reinforce reading and mathematic skills. While the camp is a fun experience for campers, it isn’t a bad time for the teachers either.
“It’s fun for us,” Bell said. “It’s not as structured as the classroom and you get to ease back a bit.”