Middle School Programs

for students who will have completed the U.S. equivalent of grades 6 or 7

5-Week Programs

June 28-July 31, 2020

Academic Enrichment

Our five-week Middle School Academic Enrichment program offers more than 30 courses designed to inspire students’ love of learning and discovery of something new, to challenge their skills, and to build upon their successes.

We offer both traditional courses in English and the Humanities as well as innovative course options in the STEAM fields of science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics, or applied mathematics.

Students currently in the U.S. equivalent of grades 6, 7, and 8 can also take an SSAT Preparation Course. Group and individual tutoring options are offered by Pillars of Learning’s expert instructors for an additional fee (see SSAT Test Prep below).

English Language Institute

Through the use of a wide variety of language learning strategies, English Language Institute (ELI) courses in reading and writing drive substantive changes in the student’s ability to read, write, speak and understand spoken English.

ELI courses have been carefully designed to integrate essential skills that will enable students to grow their ability to write, speak, listen, comprehend, and read.


Non-native speakers of English who have studied the language for at least 2 years in their home schools and who are conversant in English. With their application, all Middle School ELI candidates must submit one recent graded English composition with teacher’s comments and corrections, and an English translation of their transcript and school's grading system. Level placement is determined by a diagnostic test administered on the first day of classes.

Please note that a TOEFL or TOEFL Junior test is strongly recommended for English Language Institute and is required for all other programs.

SSAT Test Prep (Meets after school day)

Group Course

Both the Middle and Upper Level SSAT classes offered by Pillars of Learning are eight sessions long.  The first four sessions introduce the critical problem-solving methodologies and education about processing that students need to improve their scores. The last four sessions focus on tailored and individualized worksheets and group work sessions that help students recognize their patterns of errors, understand how to practice efficiently, and complete difficult problems similar to the ones they missed on the tests.  Using proprietary metrics, the course collects data on what specific stimuli and problem types cause issues with the students’ cognitive process, then disseminates that information to the students quickly via email.  All test results and tailored recommendations are emailed to both parent and student so that future practice can be guided from the insights gained through the course.  The course runs eight hours of lectures and two full length proctored practice tests.  Class size is limited to 14 per section; students receive all requisite test materials including practice tests, prep book, and customized worksheets.

Individual Instruction

Individual SSAT Instruction provides students with specialized tutoring in test preparation. Students enjoy the same material and methods utilized by the SSAT Preparation Course, but in a one-on-one dynamic with an expert tutor.  The first two sessions focus on methodologies and problem-solving in general and the remaining six sessions are tailored and customized sessions based on patterns of errors in the student's tests and practice material. Individual sessions move at a faster pace and offer greater flexibility in adapting the curriculum to the specific needs of the individual student.

Summer Students

4-Week Programs

June 28-July 24, 2020

Theater Arts Institute

The Theater Arts Institute offers a four-week total theater immersion experience. Students learn the process of theater through daily classes designed to explore and enhance their skills in acting, singing, set and costume design, playwriting, and dance.

In addition, students attend nightly laboratory sessions to work together on performance and design projects and attend master classes in movement, voice and diction, improvisation, lighting design, children’s theater, and stage management. All aspects of the dramatic experience are highlighted, with opportunities for young artists to grow in many areas. Students complete scene work in classical and modern drama, rehearse and perform numbers from a variety of musicals, and design set and costume pieces for different periods.

Students also take field trips to professional theater and artistic performances throughout New York and New England.

This program is designed for the young person who is serious about expanding their knowledge and willing to take risks in all areas of theater.

Choate Dance Performance

Summer Students 3D Printing
Summer Students Class Activity

2 Week Programs

Session I: June 28-July 10, 2020

Session II: July 12-24 2020

Invention & Design Lab (Sessions I & II)

Invention & Design Lab is a two-week intensive workshop of hands-on exploration of topics in designing and making. Students are introduced to design thinking, sketching, modeling, 3D printing, electronics, and basic computer programming with Arduino micro-controllers. Utilizing Choate’s state of the art i.d.Lab, students are guided through a series of projects which help them build skills and unlock their creative potential. Part engineering and part art, and always fun, this course helps students turn their ideas into reality through the steps of brainstorming, sketching, designing, prototyping, and constantly revising.

Evening lab hours complement class day sessions and enable students to accomplish even more with their projects.

Writing Workshops (Sessions I & II)

The Writing Workshops help students enrich their skills as readers, writers and critical thinkers. This two-week curriculum focuses on the development of critical thinking skills and independent analysis. Students learn the importance of including detail and description in their creative writing and evidence and support in their analytical writing.

Documentary Filmmaking (Session I)

The Documentary Filmmaking program offers a two-week introduction to documentary filmmaking for students going into 7th and 8th grades. Week one focuses on identifying the strategies and tools of documentary filmmakers through screenings and discussion of a wide array of documentary content. Week two focuses on a shooting and editing practicum and the production of a documentary short film. This hands-on course offers real world skills and experience in project planning and development, interviewing subjects, and using film to tell a story. Guest artists visit the classroom to share their professional journeys and offer workshops in their area of expertise.

Evening lab hours complement class day sessions and enable students to accomplish even more with their projects.

Introduction to Robotics (Sessions I & II)

The Introduction to Robotics workshop is a two-week program that facilitates the development of STEM skills: engineering building and design, C programming, resource management, and electrical and programmable debugging. Students design, assemble, operate, and program a robot to complete complex tasks through both remote control and autonomous systems. The program utilizes VEX hardware and Robot C programming language to complete several projects. Each assignment has a unique objective from a robot balloon battle to an autonomous ball collector. Students are put to the test and encouraged to release their creative energy by making their robot dream fantasies into reality.

A Biologist's World (Sessions I & II)

This two-week program provides middle school students with a hands-on laboratory and field-based approach to the fundamental topics of biology, ranging from a study of cells and the molecules that make up cells to the study of organisms, populations, and ecosystems. An understanding is developed by exploring how energy flows through ecosystems and how populations change over time due to evolution, reproduction, and genetics. Students will set up and conduct experiments in the classroom and will also explore aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems on campus and on field trips.

Choate's USGBC LEED-Platinum certified and net-zero energy Kohler Environmental Center will be utilized for a portion of the course, allowing students to conduct experiments and explore that area of campus. The program is designed to provide a solid background for future life science and environmental studies.

Summer Student with a Book

2019 Course Descriptions

2020 Course Descriptions coming soon!


A Day in the Life:

7:15-7:55 Breakfast. Pancakes at the Dining Hall.
9:35-10:10 Review homework for quiz tomorrow.
10:50-11:30 Study Hall. Review Arabic alphabet chart.
11:45-1:05 Lunch. Burger Day! Sign up for weekend trip to New York City.
3:15-4:15 Kickball sports practice.
4:30-5:15 To the Tuck Shop in St. John Hall Student Center for a milkshake.
5:30-6:00 Dinner with friends. Head to the Pasta Bar!
6:15-7:15 Dorm sports! Way to go, Nichols dorm!
7:30-9:00 Study Hours. Work with online program to learn new Arabic vocabulary.
9:00-9:30 Study Break. Grab a slice of pizza! Downtime with friends.
9:30-10:00 Finish homework. Shower. Call home.