When Northland Pioneer College started Kids College, there was a priority in mind: make learning fun while introducing kids to college in a positive way. Years later, after seeing substantial growth, the program is doing just that for youths ages 6 to 14.
“Our vision is to have Kids College not only be something fun to do in the summer, but to make it a program that can get children interested in college for the future,” said Rebecca Hunt, NPC Community and Corporate Learning specialist. “Our classes help students develop invaluable skills, such as the love of learning and curiosity.
For example, kids’ science and observation skills are put to the test when they take the interactive forensics class, or when they learn basic concepts in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) while building robots! Their communication skills are developed when they participate in the theatre program or work together as a group in ‘Campfire Science,’” said Hunt.
These popular options are just a few of the 64 classes offered this last summer. “Kids College has grown into something that’s very exciting to be a part of. It’s great to see children having fun while learning about all kinds of subjects. All the classes enable students to experiment and really find what they’re passionate about,” said Hunt. The program offers many different kinds of classes, such as exploring the arts with animation or clay sculpting, or promoting active living with basketball, soccer and even Zumba.
With so many options, NPC had a record 628 students enrolled into Kids College, spread across four different NPC campuses, illustrating the need and want for similar programs in more communities. This summer’s top five most popular classes were Forensics, Theatre, Campfire Science, Rookie Robotics and Cupcake Bake and Décor.
Hunt noted for next summer she is focused on increasing local awareness of the program and class availability. Classes average in cost from $25 to $35, which covers supplies and instruction. “NPC is working hard to keep class costs low so that it is affordable to all participants. We’ve even started offering Kids College scholarships, which help students enroll in classes for free,” explained Hunt. Funding for the scholarships is provided by the nonprofit NPC Friends & Family alliance (www.npcfriendsfamily.org) whose goal is to raise funds to ensure this opportunity is available to all interested children.
– Michael Nilsson