By Jeff Harrison
Fun and learning are one in the same for area children this summer.
Rose State College has been serving up a healthy dose of both with their youth summer programs. The popular Kids College offers classes for children grades K-6, while Teen Scene program is designed for older children.
Like in college, campers can pick their own class schedule. The summer programs cover a range of topics including arts, science, food, athletics and others. Many of the programs incorporate STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) and STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math). The classes are divided into appropriate age groups. Most summer classes run from Monday through Thursday, with separate morning and afternoon sessions.
Phoebe Thomas, a first-grader from Jones, and Liam Wilson, a second-grader at Soldier Creek Elementary, have attended several camps including Projects Galore, Dr. Seuss Reading and High Time for Heroes. One of Liam’s favorite projects was learning about the constellations.
“We got to make the constellations out of cotton balls,” he said.” First we drew dots and then glued the cotton balls on.”
Rose State also offers special Friday classes. The day camps include STEM classes, field trips and other educational programs. Campers have visited such places as Tiger Safari near Tuttle, the Museum of Osteology, iFly Indoor Skydiving and more.
The programs are offered during morning and afternoon sessions. Each session lasts 3 hours. The morning sessions run from 9 a.m. until noon, and the afternoon periods are from 1 p.m. until 4 p.m. Students are welcome to bring a lunch and eat with camp staff from noon until 1 p.m. Rose State also offers early drop-off, starting at 7 a.m. and late pick-up, running until 6 p.m.
Classes are taught by professional educators, many who work in area school districts. The teachers help select topics for the classes and build their lesson plans. Susan Allen, a teacher at Del City Elementary, enjoys the freedom afforded in developing her lessons.
“I love teaching here because you can teach outside the box and do a lot of imaginative things,” she said. “We set up the curriculum and it’s amazing what we can do in 12 hours of class time.”
The Kids College classes also promote kinesthetic-tactile learning, which allows students to learn by physical activities rather than lectures or demonstrations. Allen recently taught students about force and motion with marbles and tubes that were taped up around the classroom.
“It’s all hands on. I can’t do that in a normal classroom because we don’t have the space,” she said. “But we have the ability here and small groups to work with.”
The Rose State programs are designed to supplement existing education curriculum and keep students learning during the summer break, according to Rick Woodard, Community Learning Director at Rose State College.
“We want to complement the education system and provide a support mechanism that keeps kids learning during that three month lapse,” he said. “We don’t want them to feel like they’re at summer school. We want them to have fun and learn.”
Parents are welcome to sign up their children for as many classes as they choose. Some children participate in morning and afternoon sessions several weeks. Rose State staff promotes safety for students with a secure system and on-site police officer.
“We emphasize this is a safe and fun learning environment,” Woodard said. “At the beginning of the camp, parents check in their children and let us know who can check out the child at the end of the day. We also have a PIN associated with each child.”
Kids College and Teen Scene both started June 6 and continue through Aug. 5. Kids College is held at the old Traub Elementary School, and Teen Scene classes are at the Community Learning Center.
For more information and to register, visit www.rose.edu/clc.