Slimy, sticky, messy, and fun. That’s what kids love about College for Kids at Minnesota State University Moorhead. For four days children ages eight to 14 take classes that ignite a passion for learning, while exploring their interest in arts and crafts, fitness and sports, nature, science, technology and space. All classes offer a unique, hands-on learning experience. College for Kids offers 30 classes ranging from Scuba Diving to Pottery on the Wheel to MotoTechs to Crazy Kitchen Chemistry. “It’s an opportunity for kids to experience something they don’t normally have exposure to. Something they think is really cool, but Mom and Dad don’t necessarily have a pottery wheel, or a swimming pool they can go scuba diving in, or electronics they can play with,” said Sara Schultz, College for Kids co-director and MSUM Physics and Astronomy professor. “It’s an opportunity for them to step out of their norm and explore something new in a safe environment.” Shireen Alemadi, MSUM biosciences professor, has been involved with College for Kids for nearly six years and is now co-director. For the past few years she has taught Grossology, which focuses on crusty and disgusting experiments.Alemadi said she continues to be involved year after year because of the kids. “I like when you see in their face that they’re not only having fun, but they’re learning something.” This summer College for Kids is offering afternoon classes so kids can stay on campus all day. The program gives children the opportunity to take classes to discover their passion on a deeper level, and the exploration has helped some students discover what they want to be when they grow up.
Kathryn Langevin attended College for Kids in the summer of 2002, and her experience affirmed her passion for science. “I took classes such as Chem 4 Kids and Earth Science. They were both amazing classes featuring a multitude of engaging hands on activities that made the sciences truly come alive,” Langevin said. “Some of the experiments were guided, but others were extremely explorative.”Langevin is now a junior at MSUM majoring in biology with an emphasis in health and medical sciences and a minor in chemistry. “College for Kids sparked a curiosity inside me at a young age that I carried throughout my k-12 education, and it helped me pursue a career in the science/medical field.”One student in the MotoTechs class was eager to continue his learning beyond College for Kids. “The last day he was so excited; he had so much fun. His parents came in and asked if he could get involved in research with someone, and he’s 11 years old! I told them I’d see what I could do. I appreciate the enthusiasm,” Schultz said. “The staff at MSUM's College for Kids made learning so fun. The knowledge was so intertwined that learning was effortless,” Langevin said. MSUM students also reap benefits through College for Kids by gaining experience teaching in the classroom. Art education majors teach a few of the art classes, along with MSUM faculty and alumni that are now teachers in the F-M area. “We try to get the MSUM students involved as well, because it gives them real-world experience that they can put on their resume,” Schultz said. Alemadi and Schultz are excited to offer afternoon classes for the first time and hope it offers more flexibility to family’s schedules.“We want to continue to make College for Kids a success and do something that’s good for the university, our students, and the kids that come to our program,” Alemadi said. At the end of the day, the important thing is that children are learning, so why not let them make a mess or blow something up while doing it?College for Kids runs July 9-12 and July 16-19. For more information and a complete list of classes, visit www.mnstate.edu/collegeforkids. Follow MSUM College for Kids on Facebook.