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IDEA Center Anticipating Summer STEAM Program in Warwood

photo by: Alan Olson

Helen Bradley, right, and Sharon Johnson operate the IDEA Center in Warwood. Pictured on the posterboard are photos from the 2021 Summer STEAM program.

A local business is trying to drum up support for its summer program, geared at keeping kids’ minds active in the midst of their summer vacation.

The IDEA Center in Warwood holds the Summer STEAM Program – science, technology, engineering, arts, and math – from June 13 to July 8. The program is available to kids from kindergarten to sixth grade. The program was condensed from six weeks to four from previous years.

Owner Helen Bradley said just two kids were currently enrolled in the program, and is hoping to draw more into this year’s run. She’s been buying materials to keep kids’ minds engaged, with kits for building robots and volcanoes, assembling circuit boards and kinetic machines, and more.

“We ended up doing rockets; we did a water-propelled rocket, some of them went 40 feet up in the air,” Bradley recalled from last year.

Bradley, who runs the IDEA center with her sister Sharon Johnson, said the goal of the STEAM program is to keep young minds active to close the learning gap between the end of the spring semester and the start of the fall.

photo by: Alan Olson

Numerous educational toys and activities await young minds ahead of the IDEA Center's Summer STEAM Program.

“We do a review of math and reading skills so we can help fill that learning gap,” she said. “They can practice, if they need more help on multiplication tables or fractions, that’s what we’re going to focus on for each student. They’ll all get a folder near their grade level, try to focus on that, and sharpen their skills.”

This summer, Bradley said, they’ll be reading Charlotte’s Web, which she hopes to couple the daily reading with vocabulary and reading comprehension assessments, but also with puppets and other reading aids to get the kids more immersed in the story. This is coupled with a casual competition between the students to better promote engagement. Where possible, Bradley said she likes to pair the kids up so that older students help younger ones grasp the material.

Bradley said the kids who’ve taken the summer program have a blast, and describes the program as a full package for a kid’s summer.

“They’re going to have the whole ball of wax – reading and math skills to bridge that learning gap, science and math activities, arts, building things, working with robots,” she said. “We really want to make it exciting and fun, plus we do a lot of outdoor stuff. … We want to start with the review, and work into the activity for the afternoon.”

The program costs $150 per week, and runs weekdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. She added that a discount will be made available to families who commit to the full four-week program.

The IDEA Center is located on W.Va. 2 in Warwood, near the south end of town. They can be reached at 304-905-1506 or on Facebook.


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