MARQUETTE - The last thing you'd expect children to do in the summer is to go to class and have fun, but every year hundreds of children do just that by learning at Summer College for Kids.
The program has been offered at Northern Michigan University for children in grades kindergarten through eighth grade since the late 1980s. Classes range from making machines with LEGOs to learning about how the human body works to building and testing rockets. Summer College for Kids is offered through the Seaborg Center, which hires classroom teachers to teach the classes, said Susan Nazarko, coordinator of conferences and pre-college programing at NMU.
"I bring my grandchildren to College for Kids because it's an excellent way to spend some time," Nazarko said. "Families keep coming back year after year and sometimes I have college students walking down my corridor and saying they remember coming to College for Kids there."
Noah Jensen, left, and Andon Buyarski experiment with a cup that has a piece of paper towel tapped to the bottom in the 2013 Real Messy Science class during Summer College for Kids. If the cup is put in the water properly the air gets trapped and the paper towel stays dry. (Journal file photo by Adelle Whitefoot)
A student shows off a dry towel during the experiment. The students learned that if the cup is placed in the water properly the air will get trapped inside and prevent the paper towel from getting wet. (Journal file photo by Adelle Whitefoot)
Susan Nazarko, director of the program. (Journal file photo by Adelle Whitefoot)
This year, there are a few new things about Summer College for Kids. Every year there are new classes offered, but to register this year parents only need to go online and fill out a form.
"Our mission at the Seaborg Center is to promote mathematics and science as well as technology and engineering," Nazarko said. "College for Kids a allows us to do just that."
During the summer classes, Nazarko said she will periodically pop into classes throughout the day to see how things are going, to observe or even sometimes pitch in. But no matter what, she said it's always fascinating to see the students in the classes.
"When parents ask their kids what they learned in school that day, they might say nothing, and we know that's not true," Nazarko said. "But later, when they are on a family walk, they might remember something they learned in College for Kids and then just start talking about it.
"It's so much fun that they don't even know how much they are really learning."
There are four sessions offered over the summer with both morning and afternoon classes. Another new feature offered this year is lunch supervision between morning and afternoon classes. This allows parents who have signed their children up for a morning and afternoon class to drop their child off with a lunch at the morning class, which allows them to stay until their second class. Lunch time supervision costs $10 per week per student.
Morning classes are from 9 a.m. to noon and afternoon classes are from 1-4 p.m. Classes are a week long and the session are June 23-27, July 7-11, July 14-18 and July 21-25. Classes cost $65 to $75 per student depending on the class. Children can take a class that is meant for a grade they just left or a grade they are going into.
For example, a child going into second grade can take a kindergarten through first-grade class or a second-grade through third-grade class.
For more information about classes or to register for a class visit www.nmu.edu/seaborg.
Adelle Whitefoot can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 243. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.