The learning environment at CDE focuses on nurturing curiosity about the world in a safe, family-like atmosphere. Small classes allow our teachers to engage the children by using songs, games, and hands-on activities that help make learning fun! Each student chooses an academic class that meets for approximately two hours each morning and again in the afternoon for Exploration Hour, an engaging, project-based learning experience designed to reinforce language skills and creativity.


Throughout each session, students participate in a varied program of recreational and artistic activities, with an emphasis on activities that promote teamwork and cooperation. They are encouraged to follow directions and be responsible team members as they play, sing, explore, and learn. Activities include visual and performing arts classes, sports with professional coaches, swimming, and special discovery courses in mathematics, science, and robotics.

Sports and Swimming
CDE students may choose to take part in two intensive, four-day sports programs taught by highly qualified coaches: Milan Academy Scuola Calcio, which is run by coaches from the renowned AC Milan Club, and Tennis Junior Camp. These optional programs are offered at an additional cost.

Children swim nearly every day and are instructed by certified lifeguards to build their confidence in the water. They also play a variety of sports that focus on teamwork and fundamental skill building.

Performing Arts
Our talented Dedicated Performing Arts Team prepares the children to perform an original musical and teaches them singing, dance, drama, musical theater, percussion, and even ukulele! Students showcase all their hard work at the Summer Arts Festival during the final week of each session.

Visual Arts
Special visual art classes allow children to express creativity through a variety of mediums, from painting to photography to ceramics. Projects are displayed at a Visual Arts Exhibition during the final week of each session. 

Evening Activities
After dinner, counselors lead the children in activities that focus on teamwork and friendship. Favorite events include a luau and dance, a scavenger hunt across campus, the Ultimate Dance Off, a Harry Potter night, a game of Capture the Flag, and a Carnivale put on by the Middle School Program.

Weekend Clubs
On Saturdays, boarding students take part in a number of exciting weekend clubs that are designed to teach children new skills in small groups. Recent activities have included paddleboarding, French cooking, landscape watercolor painting, hiking, and puppet-making.


CDE students have ample opportunities to further their learning outside the confines of their primary academic class.

Once a week, students visit the state-of-the-art Campo Science Center for an exciting exposure to the principles of robotics. Each session is designed to help them develop a passion for programming, problem-solving, engineering, and creativity. Working with their peers and teacher, students explore engineering concepts through teamwork, construction, and imagination.

Each student also participates in a weekly science course that provides a hands-on, interactive look at the physical sciences.

Time off campus lets children explore new surroundings while feeling safe and secure with their friends and counselors. Recent activities have included pedal boating on Lake Lugano, learning how to make cheese at an Alpine dairy farm, creating toys at a toy hospital, exploring a fossil museum, and visiting the historic Bellinzona castles. All children have the opportunity to go on an overnight camping trip in the Alps, 10-year-olds take a special trip to the Monte Tamaro high ropes course, and boarding students spend an evening shopping in downtown Lugano.

CDE boarding students take part in special weekend trips, including full-day trips on Sundays. Recent excursions have included a journey to Lucerne to explore the renowned Swiss Transport Museum, a visit to the Parco San Grato botanical gardens, and a trip to the Pombia Safari Park in Italy.