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June 30, 2021

Kennedy Institute Announces Summer Civic Education Programs

Virtual sessions designed for summer camps, summer school, libraries, adult education and more

BOSTON - The Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate today announced its civic education programming lineup for camps, libraries, summer school, and other education programs throughout the summer. The virtual offerings, hosted by highly trained, nonpartisan instructors from the Kennedy Institute, cover a range of political and social issues and are presented through both Democratic and Republican viewpoints.

Educational experiences at the Kennedy Institute use immersive role play and simulation to teach civics and inspire the next generation of leaders. Their variety of virtual programs are intended for individuals of all ages to debate modern day issues, learn from one another, and leave empowered to make their own contributions to improving their communities and the nation.

“We understand the challenges and learning gaps exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the growing national dialogue calling for deeper civic education for students as well as adults,” said Caroline Angel Burke, Vice President of Education, Visitor Experience, and Collections at the Kennedy Institute. “For these reasons, we felt it was important for the Kennedy Institute to provide our immersive and engaging educational experiences throughout the summer as a resource for educators, students, and adults who would like to learn more about democracy and the role the United States Senate plays in American politics.”

Among the Kennedy Institute’s educational offerings throughout the summer:

  • “Welcoming Words” program introduces K-3 students to the Statue of Liberty as a symbol of welcome for new immigrants. Students listen to a story about Lady Liberty, think about what it means to welcome others, and work on a creative activity together with a Kennedy Institute staff member.

  • For grades 4-8, the Kennedy Institute’s “Pathways” programs teach students about modern-day issues such as citizenship and environmental justice. Students work together as if they were Senators to build a bill that effectively balances the needs of various groups impacted by the issue.

  • “Real Life Civics” is part of the Kennedy Institute’s response to a nationwide call from across the political spectrum for improved and expanded civics resources for adults. In a lively, interactive one-hour format presented online, Kennedy Institute staff explain how the U.S. government is structured under the Constitution, the division of powers among the branches, and the origins of and crucial role played by traditions and norms.

“These virtual education programs are some of the best ways to learn about the United States Senate and the importance of our democracy through an immersive and hands-on approach to civic education,” said Sarah Yezzi, Director of Education, Family, and Youth Programming at the Kennedy Institute. “We are excited to continue this important work throughout the summer to provide an additional resource for educators, students, or adults who are interested in learning more about civic education.”

Since its opening in 2015, the Kennedy Institute has offered an expansive roster of non-partisan civics education classes, programs, and resources for K-12 and college students and professional development resources for history, social studies, and civics teachers. These offerings have been expanded in recent years to include programming for adult engagement and education, including public program series like “Getting to the Point” and “Across the Aisle.” A complete list of the Kennedy Institute’s live, interactive virtual classroom opportunities can be found here.

About the Edward M. Kennedy Institute

The Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate is dedicated to educating the public about the important role of the Senate in our government, encouraging participatory democracy, invigorating civil discourse, and inspiring the next generation of citizens and leaders to engage in the civic life of their communities. Learn more via www.emkinstitute.org.

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