Summer Camp

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Welcome to Acera’s summer program!

Our STEAM camp will run from June 10 to August 23. (NOTE: No camp during the week of July 4th.), enabling kids ages 5 to 17 to tackle enticing challenges —from fashion technology to physical computing, gondola building to vlogging —individually and in groups. Sessions run in mornings, afternoons, or for full days.

Expanded offerings for 5-7 year olds include: Carnival Design, Toy Making, Advanced Block Building, Backyard Ninjas, and more. For 12-17 year olds, Acera offers college-level, mini-courses in sciences, history, and politics through the Young Investigator Series.

Click here to view the summer calendar at a glance!

Download the 2019 Summer Camp brochure

If you’re new to Acera, read on to find information on our philosophy, and what to expect at our STEAM summer camp.

Acera’s summer programs are so unique, the PBS Design Squad team keeps coming back to film them. In the two episodes below featuring our Catapult Building and Raft Building sessions, hear and watch our students design, engineer and create at Acera!


About the Acera Summer STEAM Camp
The Acera Summer STEAM Camp is a creativity-based arts and sciences day camp where children can nurture their natural desire to inquire, create, and innovate. With emphases on critical thought, creative problem solving, and integration of content areas, our diverse program offerings inspire all types of learners and thinkers. Our staff consists of professionals with significant experience in the classroom and in their own fields of expertise. Among them are award winners, active research scientists, and working artists. We believe in offering high caliber, authentic, engaging instruction, as much during the summer as during our school year program.

What To Expect
Our STEAM Summer Camp is designed to challenge students of all ages and learning styles. Participants should expect to tackle difficult, enticing problems, individually and in groups. They should anticipate taking the time to incorporate new techniques as they create unique works of art or design experimental protocols or novel engineering solutions.

Who Is Eligible?
All children ages 5 through 17 may attend. There is no testing or formal application process for our summer program, and enrollment at Acera’s Sept-June day school is not required. Participants must be able to work successfully both independently and in group settings.

A Typical Day

8 am- 9 am Early Drop Off (extra fee)
9 am- 10:30 am Morning Session
10:30 am- 11 am Outdoor Play
11 am- 12 pm Morning Session Continued
12 pm Afternoon-only students arrive
12 pm- 1 pm Lunch and Outdoor Games
1 pm Morning-only students depart
1 pm- 2:30 pm Afternoon Session
2:30 pm- 3 pm Outdoor Play
3 pm- 4 pm Afternoon Session Continued
4 pm- 6 pm Extended Day (extra fee)

Early Drop Off/Late Pick Up
Early drop off (8 to 9 am) and Late pick up (4 to 6 pm) will be available.

Search Courses

Curiosity, creativity and innovation come alive at Acera’s Summer Camp! Immersed in STEAM-rich experiences, students (5-17) envision, design, build, experiment, program, film, paint, compose and perform in our fully equipped Innovation Lab. Activities are led by experienced educators with backgrounds in engineering, science, and the arts.

Scroll down the page to search our camp offerings by age, date, activity, or full/half day programs. You may also view a PDF of the calendar here.

Featured Courses


Adam Rosell, Woodshop Teacher

Alisha Panjwani-Collins, SEEDS Studio Lab Manager & Research Practitioner
B.Sc., Fashion Design, Annamalai University
M.S., Media Arts and Sciences, Media Lab, MIT

More About Alisha Panjwani-Collins

Alisha is a designer and educator, and the founder of the Acera SEEDS StudioLab, where children can find tools and techniques that enable them as creators and natural innovators, and where they can make their ideas and stories come to life. SEEDS stands for Science, Engineering, Esthetics, Design and Storytelling; and for a hands-on space that breaks with the boundaries of specific fields of inquiry or practice. By engaging students in playful, experiential, inquiry-based, and collaborative learning experiences, Alisha works to nurture children’s creative confidence with new technologies and encourage their involvement in creative acts within their communities. She is the co-author of the book StartMaking! and co-founder of the Duct Tape Network. Alisha comes to our school from the Lifelong Kindergarten group at the MIT Media Lab, where she completed her master’s degree in Media Arts and Sciences and worked as a research assistant. Before coming to MIT, she worked as a design and research associate at Project Vision, an organization that builds educational tools aimed at fostering resilience through creativity in children from poor urban communities. Alisha has won awards and fellowships for her innovative approach to both design and education, for example from the Aga Khan Education Board in India, and the Future of Learning Institute at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education.

Alexis Daniels, Enrichment Program Manager
B.A. Anthropology, Community Health, Fine Art, Tufts University
M.S. Occupational Therapy, Tufts University

Alyssa Colby, Middle School 1 Core Teacher
M.A. Teaching University of Maine, Orono
M.A. Philosophy Brandeis University
B.A. Wheaton College

Brianna Shaughnessy, Science Teacher and Kelp Enthusiast
Ph.D. Candidate, University of Massachusetts
M.S. Marine Sciences, Northeastern
B.A. Biology, Wheaton College

Camila Garcia Enriquez, Visual Arts Teacher
M.Ed Harvard Graduate School of Education
B.A. Visual Arts Instituto Superior de Arte, Havana Cuba

Danny Fain, Computer Science & Games Specialist
S.B. Geoscience, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Teacher Education Program, with emphasis in Math and Science teaching
Several Workshops in Design and Development of Digital and Video Games, Team-Based Design, and Multimedia Visualization

David Alsdorf, Technology & Narrative Specialist
M.Ed, Early Childhood Education, Lesley University
A.B. Religion, Reed College

More About David Alsdorf

David is a teacher, education researcher, curriculum developer and artist who teaches robotics in Boston Public Schools and conducts research through Tufts Center for Engineering Education and Outreach (CEEO). For the last two years he has worked with The LEGO Foundation and Tufts studying makerspaces in education. As part of this research has enjoyed two teaching residencies at the International School of Billund (the birthplace of LEGO) where he was tasked with teaching “Creativity” to 9-10 year olds. He has an undergraduate degree in Religion from Reed College and a masters in Early Childhood Education from Lesley GSE.

David Olson, Technology Specialist / EQ Coach
M.Ed. Lesley University
B.A. Anthropology, University of Massachusetts

Dylan Foley, Music, Video Production, and Instrument Building Teacher
B.A. Music Production & Engineering, Berklee College of Music

Esteé Hill, Architect Specialist
MAT Tufts University
BAR, University of Cape Town South Africa

Faith Blake, Science Teacher
M.A. Education, Secondary Certification in Biology and Chemistry, Stanford University
B.A. Biology, Tufts University

Jenifer Demko, Lower Elementary Core Teacher
Tufts University, M.A.T. Child Development
Simmons College, B.A. Communications
Montessori Institute of San Diego, Primary Teacher Certificate

Jordan Daniels, Philosophy Instructor
Ph.D. Candidate, Philosophy, Emory University
M.A. Philosophy, The New School for Social Research

More About Jordan

Jordan is a Ph.D. Candidate and instructor of philosophy at Emory University. She specializes in German philosophy and aesthetics, and is currently finishing her dissertation, Figurations of Nature in Kant and Adorno. Her teaching style is motivated by the conviction that studying the history of philosophy helps us understand not only our world but our role as participants in the world. For this reason she especially enjoys teaching feminist philosophy and ethics.

Josh Briggs, Engineering, Woodshop, & Math Specialist
B.S. Engineering & Environmental Science, University of Notre Dame, 1996
B.A. History, University of Notre Dame, 1996
M.S. Civil Engineering, University of New Hampshire, 2006
Registered Professional Engineer (P.E.), Massachusetts, 2012

More About Josh Briggs

Josh studied and trained as a civil engineer for more than fifteen years prior to changing careers to teaching in 2014. After graduating with dual degrees from University of Notre Dame in 1996, he worked as an engineer in contaminated groundwater assessment and remediation in the San Francisco Bay area. He relocated back to the Boston area in 2000 and worked for a small environmental firm designing restoration solutions for stream and wetlands impacted by human development and stormwater. Josh then pursued his M.S. in Civil Engineering studying the use of porous asphalt for stormwater treatment (2006). After several years of working in rainwater harvesting design and installation, he made the leap to education. He started out teaching woodworking for Eliot School’s School Partnership Program in Boston Public School classrooms. Soon thereafter, he started part time at Acera running Frugal Engineering sessions for Creativity Morning. He began working full time at Acera in the 2015-16 school year. His focus at Acera is creating exciting projects for students that leverage student creativity while developing solid construction and engineering skills. Josh originally hails from Maine, where he developed his great love for boats, building and playing in the outdoors!

Kacie Brown, Theater Director and Instructor
BFA , University of North Carolina School of the Arts

More About Kacie Brown

Kacie hails from Southern California where she began her career as a professional actress and is a proud member of Actor’s Equity Association. After graduating from UNCSA she moved to New York City to continue her acting career. Upon moving into teaching Kacie has had the opportunity to teach in both public and independent schools in New York and Massachusetts. She has had the opportunity to both pioneer drama programs and create new curriculum, and to honor and grow existing programs. Kacie is very excited to be a part of the Acera Summer Program.

Kara Williams, School Counselor and Student Support & Services Manager
B.A., Theatre, Eastern Connecticut State University
M.A., School Counseling, University of Saint Joseph

More About Kara Williams

Kara’s experience includes education and work in Theatre, Financial Aid, and most recently School Counseling. After earning her M.A. in School Counseling at the University of Saint Joseph in West Hartford, CT, Kara moved to Massachusetts. Kara appreciates the opportunity of working in the environment that Acera provides where she is able to interact with and help students. Kara is creative, organized, and excited to help in the many facets that her role at Acera includes.

Kim Machnik, Middle School Bridge Core Teacher
MS Ecological Learning and Teaching, Lesley University
B.A. International and Global Studies, Brandeis University

More About Kim Machnik

Kim comes to Acera School from Heifer International, where she specialized in curriculum design, teacher training, and global education outreach. As a former teacher of elementary gifted students, she is passionate about teaching children to be global citizens of a healthy, thriving planet. Kim started at our school as a cross-classroom teacher before taking over her own classroom in fall 2015. She also launched our first summer program in 2015.

Kyle Browne, Acera STEAM Instructor
BFA , Communications Design, Pratt Institute
MEd, Arts, Community and Education, Lesley University
MFA, Interdisciplinary Art, School of Visual Arts

More About Kyle Browne

Kyle is a visual artist, educator, STEAM consultant and community engagement professional. She teaches at the MFA and deCordova Museum, assists with research in school maker-spaces for STEM learning with TERC and integrates the ‘A’ into STEM curriculum for the city of Cambridge. She is the lead arts educator for the city of Cambridge STEAM advisory board and develops community engagement projects for a local public arts non-profit Now + There. Her work has been exhibited locally and nationally and she believes in the richness of integrating arts with other disciplines. She loves bringing drawings to life through stop-motion animation and going on art and nature explorations!

Marie Delaney, Woodshop Teacher & Innovation Lab Manager
Certificate in Furniture and Cabinet Making, North Bennet Street School

Michael Hirsch, Science Lab Manager
B.S., Molecular Biology, Clark University
M.A.T. Biology, Salem State University

More About Michael Hirsch

Michael began his work life as a scientist in the exciting world of Kendall Square biotech researching and creative therapeutics for metabolic disease and inflammation. During that time, he helped placed over 20 drugs into clinical trials and published several papers in the field of diabetes. Despite his success, Michael was feeling unfulfilled and realized that his favorite part of being a scientist was teaching others his research and sharing his passion of science. After receiving his masters degree and Massachusetts teaching certifications, Michael taught Biology and Chemistry in public high schools for 3 years where his zeal and excitement towards his content made him a favorite among students. His belief is that everyone can be a scientist and his goal in the classroom was simple: experiment and solve scientific problems. Michael was attracted to Acera’s vision of curiosity, inquiry based conceptual learning, and an opportunity to work with like-minded creative teachers. He loves the collaborative nature of the school, its ever-changing curriculum, and ability to provide a cutting edge, cool, safe, and unique place for many different types of student to learn and practice their skills. In addition to science, Michael is also an avid musician, playing and recording with 7 instruments and is a published pop culture media writer.

Nicole Notaro, Upper Elementary Core Teacher
B.A., Child Development, Tufts University
M.Ed., Education and Child Development, Tufts University

More About Nicole Notaro

Nicole joined the Acera staff in 2014 after teaching at Atrium School for 7 years. She is a passionate, enthusiastic and creative teacher with a strong desire to help each learner grow to his or her fullest potential. Nicole works closely with students, faculty and families, and has taught independently and with co-teachers. She has experience creating meaningful, engaging, theme-based curriculum in all subject areas for 4th and 6th grades, and is experienced with differentiating instruction between students of varying abilities and learning styles in many different settings. Nicole believes that effective teachers must be knowledgeable in subject matter content and able to choose between a range of pedagogies. As such, Nicole has striven to acquire a strong foundation in both academic content and developmental approaches. Nicole believes that teaching is both a moral and ethical endeavor characterized by sound judgment and mindful choices made as part of conscious planning. As a teacher, she seeks to create meaningful relationships with her students and support them in becoming more knowledgeable, able, and thoughtful individuals. Nicole believes teaching is an art form that requires the swift coordination of subject content and knowledge of ones’ own students, a process she finds intellectually challenging and extremely rewarding. She responds to children’s thinking, inquiries, confusions, learning needs and world views by listening to children’s expressed ideas and observing learning behaviors. Nicole uses these observations to influence her instruction.

Rachel Kramer, Math Specialist
B.S. Engineering and Applied Math Tufts University

Vered Brooks, Middle School 1 Core Teacher
M.Ed., Lesley University
B.A., Literature, Bennington College


Registration is now open for Acera STEAM Summer Camp! REGISTER HERE

We require a deposit of $100 per session a student is registering for. For example, for a morning and an afternoon session, even if in the same week, the deposit is $200. Deposits are due at time of enrollment.

Full tuition total is due by May 1, 2019. After May 1, registrations must be accompanied by payment in full.

Please note that enrollment is not complete until paid for and approved by Acera Staff.

You can pay your deposit or tuition via our website, or by check. If you are uncertain about the deposit/tuition amount you owe, contact and we will confirm your deposit due, and total tuition.

Questions? E-mail us at or call at 781-729-3489.


Acera Summer Internships for High School Students

We seek generous, patient, creative youth who want to develop their leadership skills in a non-profit school with a start-up “feel.” Our interns serve as support in the classroom and during free times, modeling responsible behavior and engagement in the learning process. Based on age and experience, outgoing 8th-12th grade students may be eligible for either the Acera Mentorship Program or the Acera Education Leadership Program.

Objectives and Eligibility

Acera Mentorship Program:

The Acera Mentorship Program supports young High School students (outgoing 8th, 9th or 10th grades) in the transition from childhood to adolescence. Interns grow their skills in perspective-taking and group leadership in an inspiring and innovative environment. All interns participate in weekly workshops led by School Counselors and Managers to grow their skills, identify their strengths or areas of improvement, and engage in reflective problem-solving. Interns assist Teacher Entrepreneurs in their STEAM classes, both participating and taking on greater responsibility as merited. Mentees are expected to work a minimum of 2 weeks of the summer. Fee for program: 50% of listed class tuition


Acera Education Leadership Program:

The Acera Education Leadership Program is available to students (typically outgoing 11th or 12th graders) who have completed the Mentorship Program or have references that show the individual’s ability to take on work independently. This program offers interns opportunities to coach younger interns, apprentice with specialized Teacher Entrepreneurs, and take on greater responsibility. Throughout the summer, interns will participate in weekly leadership workshops and collaborate with a multidisciplinary team of Counselors, School Administrators, Artists, Musicians, Scientists, and other professionals. Prior interns have reported that this internship helped them develop new social skills, refine areas of interest for college, deepen their self-awareness, and have fun! Leaders are expected to work for a minimum of 4 weeks of the summer. Additional roles for Education Leadership interns may be modified based on applicants’ strengths and interests, administrators’ needs, as well as the teaching styles of Teacher Mentors. No fee for program. Paid internships may be available, if intern takes on administrative or woodshop assistant roles.


About Intern Program Managers:

Vanessa Roman – Prior to joining Acera, Vanessa was a Yoga Instructor. At Acera for 6 years, she ran the Kinetic Math class for young students, Human Sexuality for the Middle School, Theatre Arts for all ages during Creativity Morning, and Friendship Skill-Building during recess. She returns to us this summer from Providence, Rhode Island! Vanessa specializes in mindfulness and coaching students be their best selves.

Kara Williams – Kara’s experience includes education and work in Theatre, Financial Aid, and most recently School Counseling. After earning her M.A. in School Counseling at the University of Saint Joseph in West Hartford, CT, Kara moved to Massachusetts. Kara appreciates the opportunity of working in the environment that Acera provides where she is able to interact with and help students. Kara is creative, organized, and excited to help in the many facets that her role at Acera includes.

Alexis Daniels – Before joining Acera, Alexis worked as an Occupational Therapist and culinary instructor, founded an urban farm, and led a study abroad program for college students across the globe. She supported students’ emotional well-being and facilitated weekly community building sessions, to create an authentic space for group reflection, development of identity, and conflict resolution.

Pricing & Policies

Class prices include all materials and lab fees, and an Acera T-shirt! Prices vary by class (“Search Courses”).


Early Drop-Off is available, beginning at 8 a.m. The cost is $5 per day, or $25 per week.
Late Pick-Up is available between 4 and 6 p.m. The cost is $10 per day, or $50 per week.


Bus transportation is not available at this time. However, you may indicate your interest during online registration to join a carpool list (as driver or rider). Your information will be shared with other families interested in car-pooling, based on geographic proximity.


Once a session is fully enrolled, students can choose to be waitlisted. You can pick another session at the same time and switch should a slot become available; or just be waitlisted. When we begin a waitlist, we will do our best to find an instructor to increase the class size.


Changes and Cancellations: $100 deposit per class is non-refundable. If you need to switch weeks of camp, we will do our best to try to place your child into a new session. If there are no options available that work, we will issue you a refund of the session amount, less the deposit. The latest you can cancel a camp session is June 1, 2019

In the unlikely case a session does not fill, we reserve the right to cancel a specific offering. We will inform you at least four weeks ahead of the week the program is scheduled to run. Students will be able to switch into another session or receive a reimbursement (including deposit).

No refund or reduction in fees is possible for a child who arrives late, leaves early, or attends part of a session due to illness (other than hospital stay).

For those who pre-registered, if payment in full is not received by May 1st, your camper’s registration may be cancelled. For enrollments made after May 1, tuition is due in full at time of enrollment. You must pay your camp balance before starting your session. The Acera Staff appreciates your efforts to communicate changes, deletions, or additions to your camper’s registration.


Lunch & Snack: Acera STEAM Camp does NOT provide lunch and snacks. Please send your child with a bag lunch, snacks, & water bottle.

Student Ages: We aim to be flexible with our age requirement for classes (for example, if your child is turning 7 in September and wants to join a 7-10 class). If you have questions, please contact

Late Fees: A late fee of $10 will be charged for parents who arrive late (after 1pm for AM sessions, after 4pm for afternoon sessions, or after 6pm for late pick up students) to pick up children.

Laptop/Extra Fees: Some sessions require extensive laptop use. If you are unable to send your child to school with a personal laptop, you will have the option to rent a laptop (more information available in May). Additionally, a few courses (i.e. Make Your Own Gondola and SEEDS Computational Critters) utilize technology that is NOT included in the base price. If students would like to keep these items (such as micro:bit), a materials fee will be assessed and payment can be made at the end of the week.

Removal from camp: Decisions about participation in STEAM camp are made at the discretion of the instructor and the Enrichment Programs Manager. If a student is not able to participate in a safe and productive way, or if the teacher feels that the student is not engaging at a level appropriate for the program, the instructor may ask that s/he switch into a different session, or not return to the program. Refunds will not be provided for students removed from the program due to behavioral issues.


Limited financial aid is available and awarded based on demonstrated need. Please email us at to request a Scholarship Application. The deadline for this request is Aprill 1st, 2019.