Elite University was founded 15 years ago on the principles of creating an environment of choice and non-coercion for children. With a belief in the philosophy of free thinking and creativity, our programs are student-led and the students have the opportunity to assist in the selection of their curriculum. An environment of non-coercion allows the students space to make their own decisions, and over the years our students have surprised us with just how self-aware, honest and wise they can be. The key? Listen to them.
Stumbling into Childhood Education
Elite U founder Jere Charlot began her career teaching adult basic education at a community learning center in Third Ward. In addition to the adults, many of them parents, dozens of children were forced to wait for the parents to finish classes due to the dearth of affordable summer camps in the area. Jere took it upon herself to develop a curriculum for the children and began testing them with the GED materials for adults. The following summer, Jere began teaching private voice and piano lessons and Elite University was born.
“I had no idea that children were the way to go for myself. The experience that I’ve had teaching kids that makes it fun for everybody is that kids want to move around and I want to let them move around. Kids want to be kids and I want to let them be kids because I get to be a kid with them.”
Celebrating 15 Years of Interactive Education
Since 2005, Elite U has expanded its offerings to include thirteen educational camp programs which promote interactive learning and inspire the next generation of artists, scientists, engineers and thinkers – and Jere’s unique philosophy has a lot to do with that.
“Once the kid sitting across from you realizes, ‘oh, this person wants to have fun!’ then all of the expectations for good checkmarks fall away and we’re just two people learning.”
Mandy Trichell has put her three children through Elite University’s programs and says that “the thing that attracted me the most to it was how hands-on Jere was and how she treated all the kids like they were her own.”
Elite U: Let Your Freak Flag Fly
Elite U alum Hannah Dargahi spent 10 years under Jere’s tutelage before going to Hofstra University to continue her vocal education. Looking back, Hannah fondly recalls Jere’s relationship with her students.
“She always treated us as equals. She loved us all equally and individually. She loved all our quirks and everything about us, and I feel like that also bonded us as children.”
It didn’t take long for Jere to realize that Elite truly catered to the young artist. As she puts it, “when artists are very young, they don’t quite fit into every group. You could fit in at Elite because no one was trying to make you bend.”
Summer 2020: Bigger than Ever
Having expanded Elite U into new markets and new programs, this summer promises to be the most ambitious of Elite’s 15-year history. Camp programs include sports, such as gymnastics, archery, horseback riding, karate and fencing; S.T.E.M. programs like medical science, robotics and aerospace engineering; and fine arts such as creative drama, culinary arts, mixed media art and a music immersion camp. Each camp includes a field trip on Wednesday and a full slate of activities to ensure your child is exhausted by the end of each day.
We can’t wait to get this summer started and would absolutely love if you took a look at our camp offerings for 2020. Visit http://eliteusummercamps.com to put your child on the path of excellence this summer!