|A participant in College for Kids' theatre class|
Forget your lazy days of summer. Hundreds of East County elementary and middle-schoolers will be busy engaging their minds and bodies while having fun at College for Kids classes at Cuyamaca College.
The winning combination of fun and learning has proven so successful that 57 sections of classes – about 30 percent more than last year -- are now offered through the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District’s Continuing Education program for youths, ages 8 to14.
Registration just opened for the low-cost, mostly weeklong classes offered from 9 a.m. to noon and 1-4 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, July 8-Aug. 1. Featuring a wide variety of workshops in art, dance, fitness, science, media and more, this summer’s College for Kids includes a new football camp for ages 8-11 and 12-14. Also new this summer is a trio of classes at the Heritage of the Americas Museum located on the college campus introducing youngsters to art and outdoor camping skills.
One parent, Krista Jean Santoro, said a music performance and theory class, “Glee!,” was a big hit with her 8-year-old daughter and her friend who took part in College for Kids last summer.
“Both of them had a wonderful time,” Santoro said. “My daughter would come home, eager to practice what she had learned. She didn’t want the class to end. She took it very seriously -- it wasn’t just fun and games.”
Initially worried that the class would be taught by an instructor accustomed to older students, Santoro said she was happy to learn that the program’s teachers are mainly credentialed elementary and middle-school instructors.
“They understood the kids they were teaching,” Santoro said, adding that she had attended College for Kids about 20 years ago and has many fond memories.
First offered during the ‘80s, the College for Kids program has been revitalized and updated to include technology-related offerings such as classes in making movies using Adobe Flash animation software. Last summer, a career-exploration component was added. It returns this year as the Youth Boost Career Institute, free career exploration for incoming seventh- and eighth-graders interested in the fields of health and medicine; green entrepreneurship; and science and engineering.
Funded by grants from the California Career Technical Education Pathways Initiative, the career institute connects students with industry experts assisting them on career-related projects. The entrepreneurship class, for example, will focus on starting up a business that repurposes recycled jeans into coasters, backpacks and hair accessories. The four-week vocational workshop makes it possible for students, selected on the basis of a 50-word essay, to rotate through each of the career areas.
As with all College for Kids offerings, the career-education workshops will be led by a credentialed instructor. The middle-schoolers will also be mentored by high school students selected from a district-supported teacher-preparation program targeting seniors from Granite Hills, Grossmont and Mount Miguel high schools with career plans as teachers.
“Over the last couple of years, College for Kids has developed into this great niche program and this year, we introduced it for spring break,” said Erin Roberts-Hall, business developer for the district’s Continuing Education division, based at Cuyamaca College. “Last summer, we were expecting about 200 kids, but we ended up with triple that.”
Enlisting both college faculty and off-campus instructors with unique skills to capture the interest of youth, enrollment goals for College for Kids were easily surpassed for both last summer and spring, Roberts-Hall said.
Committed to addressing the educational needs of the community, the district also views College for Kids as an early orientation for Grossmont and Cuyamaca’s future students.
“This is a truly a fantastic way to introduce tomorrow’s students to our colleges by offering fun and enriching classes they can enjoy over the summer,” said Chancellor Cindy L. Miles. “These learning opportunities may be just the spark to fire up a young student’s interest in a career of the future.”
The College for Kids offerings run the gamut from the practical, with the Youth Boost Career Institute, to the creative, such as the Children’s Theatre Workshop. Designed to help students discover their inner whimsy, the workshop is also geared to improve speech, vocabulary, projection, confidence and social interaction through theater games, improvisation, singing, monologues, audition techniques and more.
Other classes, with fees ranging from $80 to $120, include:
o Cake Decorating: Use decorating tools and icing on cookies, cake pops, cupcakes and cakes.
o En Garde, Ready, Fence: Learn the art of fencing to improve agility, strength, focus and tactical thinking.
o Babysitter Training: Become a certified babysitter by learning infant care skills, home safety, CPR, and first aid.
o Hand Drumming for Beginners, which introduces kids to the conga, bongos and djembe, a skin-covered hand drum originating from West Africa.
o Glee! Explore movement, songs, music theory, and play “American Idol” on Wii.
o Rock Band: Perform rock music in a small group while learning song forms, pentatonic scales, power chords and improvisation.
o Drumline: Explore different drum line instruments while learning basic rhythms, notation and techniques.
o Digital Animation: Develop skills in computer drawing, character skeleton and movement, frame layering, and dialogue matching.
o Kid Power Self-defense Class: Learn stranger awareness, abduction defense, and how to respond to bullies through martial arts and team-building.
o Jewelry Design for Kids: Identify common gems and learn wire wrapping techniques to make custom jewelry.
o Golf for Beginners: A PGA golf pro will teach everything from course etiquette to swing techniques
o Video Game Design: Work in pairs to learn the basics of computer programming for video games, and create your own game to take home and play.
o Photoshop Fun: Learn photo editing tricks and use selection tools to manipulate your images into works of art.
o Puppeteer Theatre: Develop hand puppeteering skills including lip-syncing and basic choreography.
o Public Speaking for Fun and School: Through games and exercises, learn the techniques to become comfortable in front of groups from an award-winning Toastmaster.
o All About Beach Games: Learn new games to play at the beach – volleyball, Over the Line, Frisbee
o Financial Fitness and Fun: Understand how to make wise money decisions by learning personal budgeting, spending patterns and planning for the future.