A blend of education, life lessons

Summer Kids@Carroll expands in its 3rd year

March 18, 2007|By Arin Gencer | Arin Gencer,Sun Reporter

This summer, Carroll County children could get tips on designing their rooms, take steps toward becoming a millionaire or learn about Quebec, Morocco or Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

Those classes are among several dozen offered for this year's Summer Kids@Carroll, a program running from mid-June through mid-August for children ages 3 to 14 at Carroll Community College.

Kids@Carroll was designed to fill a gap in summer activities for children, said Mary Anne Marsalek, coordinator of Lifelong Learning at the college.

More than 1,000 children enrolled in last year's sessions, she added, which inspired organizers to add classes in preparation for the program's third year. "We're always looking for programs that will truly enrich our students," Marsalek said. "We've got a little bit for everybody."

New activities on the agenda include science courses to inspire future archaeologists, paleontologists or ecologists, and a middle-school camp called "How to Be a Millionaire: Financial Smarts for Teens," in which students can learn how to save and invest their money.

"We all say we wish we had these kinds of programs when we were growing up," Marsalek said, referring to the financial courses. "We all need this now."

Future authors and artists can develop their artistic skills in creative writing and sculpting camps.

Some of the previous summer's offerings are back. Kids for Peace, which promotes world culture appreciation and understanding, will help kids use their imaginations to travel to Africa and South America. Legos camps have also returned, this time with new features, said Alissa Harrington, coordinator of technology training at Carroll.

Harrington said the classes incorporate math, the arts and technology. With gears and motors that connect to the toy plastic blocks, she said, children can use computers to write a script of moves for robots they build.

"It gets them in a frame of mind [of] a programmer. ... The kids really have to think it through," Harrington said. "It teaches them planning" -- and how to work in a group. Students are encouraged to think like engineers in a session built around creating 3-D drawings of different objects, she said, further developing their math and science skills.

Many sessions will be taught by teachers, Marsalek said, but others bring in people from other lines of work: a drummer in "A World of Music," a financial planner in "How to Be a Millionaire," an interior designer for "Cool Space: Designing Your Own Room."

The summer smorgasbord "fills a need for more art and the creative skills," said Nancy Gregg, coordinator of the college's child development center. Research shows that immersing a child in the arts helps with brain development, Gregg added.

The enrichment courses also create an extended learning environment outside school.

"The child is choosing what they want to learn, and when a child chooses that, the learning is easier," Gregg said.

Parents can enroll their children for the one-week camps at any time, Marsalek said, although some do fill quickly.

Prices range from $90 to $325.


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