Frequently Asked Questions!
Why are you called “Empow”?
We are so glad you asked! Check out our blog post on the subject.
What is your student-to-staff ratio?
Camp and After School is staffed at least 6:1. The Department of Public Health (10:1) and Department of Early Education & Care (13:1) have minimum requirements, which we make sure to surpass quite heavily.
Who are your teachers?
Please see our Team page for staff background. We pride ourselves on hiring people who are equally competent in child education/development and technology. We support our staff with continuous professional education. All staff is CORI and SORI-checked, and there will always be someone available with First Aid and CPR training.
What technology will my child be learning?
The answer is… whatever they want! At Empow, we embrace the element of choice. Empow is equipped with all sorts of animation supplies, software, and technology. We encourage kids to design, build, and code in whichever platform they are interested in. We have curriculum in Video Game Design, Animation, LEGO Robotics, Java coding, Scratch Programming, 3D printing, Video & Music Production, DJing, and more!
What does a typical day at Empow Camp look like?
8:30am – 9:30am Drop-off and special activities. Kids play games and get comfortable with friends, staff, and the studio.
9:30am – 10:00am Project Time and Camp Circle-Up. We set up the schedule for the day and let kids ease into their projects. This is a good time for anyone to ask questions or get help before we transition into the morning activity.
10:00am – 10:30am Snack time and technology demos. We show kids student projects made at Empow to influence their creativity and get them excited to learn a new craft of their choice.
10:30am – 12:00pm Project time. Campers work on projects at their own pace, guided by our expert staff. Kids can choose to work individually with help from staff, or work with friends in a group project. This is where kids build their robots, design video games, and film unique animations!
12:00pm – 1:00pm Lunch and outdoor time. Our staff will walk the campers over to Depot Square and have lunch outside (weather permitting). When campers stay inside, they watch some awesome videos like Mythbusters or Smarter Every Day! Only full campers are here during this hour.
1:00pm – 3:00pm Project time. Campers continue to work on their projects and ask questions to our teachers.
3:00pm – 3:30pm Afternoon Snack and tech demo. Each day Staff give kids an introduction to a different technology that we teach. Kids can choose to try out the demo or go back to their own tech project.
3:00pm – 4:00pm Project time. Campers continue to work on their projects and ask questions to our teachers.
4:00pm – 5:30pm Extended day. Campers can play games with other students, continue their projects, or try something new!
Will my child be on the computer all day?
Because we are a tech-based education program, screen time is definitely a part of the day. So, we make sure to take plenty of breaks during the day for demos and group activities. Lunch break also includes a longer outdoor recess with games like capture the flag. Also, a large portion of our curriculum uses a computer as a secondary tool, like building and programming robotics or shooting a mini-movie. If you are concerned about your child and his/her time on the computer, please make sure to bring it up with the Program Director.
Can campers learn how to code?
Yes! We teach coding in a number of ways. Two of our tracks are dedicated to a specific programming language – Scratch & Java. Other examples of coding are embedded into existing tracks like video game design, VR / AR, and more. Some example of this are below:
-The popular video game design software, Gamemaker, has a programming game code called GML.
-In the Unity curriculum for 3D Game Design and Virtual Reality & Augmented Reality, students work with C#.
Movements for the Lego Mindstorm robots also require programming, however, this is not done via a scripting language, but a visual drag-and-drop system called EV3. (A great way to learn the principles of programming!)
-Minecraft Education Edition uses a number of modding plug-ins that focus on teaching kids how to code using a drag-and-drop interface.
What ages are students at Empow?
Empow Studios supports grades 1-12 in many different program types. Camp tends to focus on tighter age ranges, while STEM After School program is focused only on kids entering grades 2-8.
How will I know what my child is learning during their program?
My child has special needs. Can he or she attend?
In general, if your child has an aid in school, they are required to bring the aid to our programs. Also, it is very important for us to know in advance when a child has special needs so that we can plan for it appropriately and maximize their learning and enjoyment without disproportionately taking staff’s attention from other participants. There is a form to fill out in the registration process called “special considerations” where you could explain difficulties for your child as well as proper coping mechanisms for our staff. We recommend also speaking with the Director on the first day of camp.
How do you manage such a wide age range in the same group?
Child development is a huge, dynamic spectrum. Children of same age sometimes have vastly different abilities and interests. We pay individual attention to a child’s emotional makeup, reading level, ability to work independently, ability to sustain focus, and other developmental factors. We also pair up more experienced campers with the less experienced to foster mentorship and support learning by both sides. Our curriculum & tools support a project based learning environment, where students work at their own pace. Reading more about our Teaching Approach here.
Are campers separated by age?
The short answer is that all students share one learning space; we do not divide different ages into different classrooms. Those working on the same technologies tend to be grouped together (so that everyone working on robotics is in the robotics area, everyone working on video game design is seated in the same area, etc), and then students of similar ages work near other kids their age within that technology group. For additional details, please see our blog post on the subject.
What is the difference between the full-day and half-day sessions?
The only difference is the amount of time students have to complete their projects. Half-day and full-day students have the same program options open to them.
Is there a minimum number of blocks to sign up for STEM After School Club?
No minimum, but Thursday, which is a long day due to the Lexington early release schedule, consists of two sessions, 12-3 and 3-6:30. Tuesday is the long day in Newton consisting of 2 sessions. If you need coverage for both, please select both blocks.
Is there an enrollment fee for your programs?
There is NO enrollment fee for any of our programs, including STEM After School Club and Camp. There is a late registration fee for camp if you sign up during the weekend before camp starts, which helps pay our staff over the weekends to prep your medical paperwork to allow your child to attend camp. However, please be advised that for administrative purposes, we do require 30 days notice for canceling a membership. There is a small fee for putting a membership on hold.
What if my child or I don't like the Empow Studios experience?
During your first month of enrollment in STEM After School Club or any of our Tech Clubs (30 days from first attendance), you can cancel your membership at any time and you will receive a refund, pro-rated according to the number of sessions attended. No cancellation fee will be applied.
After 30 days, we will require a 30-day notice for all cancellations or significant reductions in schedule.
Please note, that if you do not notify us within 30 days of a schedule change, be it a cancellation or putting a membership on hold, your credit card will be processed as scheduled.
Can I visit my child in camp?
We encourage parents and friends to visit. We do ask that you arrange your visit with the Studio or Camp Director in advance. We also have a project showcase each Friday during Camp so you can see all the projects your child has been working on.
What kind of equipment will my child be using?
Every student has their own Windows laptop to work with. We also have a pool of other digital equipment and props such as webcams, headsets, microphones, green screens, samplers, digitizing pads, art supplies, and LEGO components. We use a wide range of kid-friendly software for graphics, architecture, engineering, animation, photo manipulation, etc.
Where can I park my car?
We have two studios, one in Lexington and one in Newton. We also have +14 other locations where we run camp, and over 100 partners we teach with. Visit our Locations page for more information on directions and arrival notes.
Is your Studio wheel chair accessible?
Yes! Empow Studios is wheel chair accessible, via an elevator located in the back of the facility. Contact the front desk at 617-395-7527 and ask for assistance using the back entrance. Please note: due to the age of the building in Lexington at 1776 Massachusetts Avenue, we are grandfathered into the current bathroom layout, and our bathrooms are currently not wheelchair accessible.
Still have questions?
We love to talk!
Join Empow Studios Today!
We offer many types of programs, including workshops, after-school classes, birthday parties, and more. Check out our weekend clubs!
Empow Camp is a unique combination of imaginative play and sophisticated technology, where projects are completed at each student’s pace.