or nearly a decade, children have headed to Franklin College during summer break for special classes that bring learning to life.
At the summer day camp program, Kids on Campus, they have learned the science behind bubble making and how to play the piano and have turned M&Ms, pretzels and other foods into math problems.
Registration is now open for the 10th Kids on Campus summer camp, hosted by Franklin College.
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The camp has become a must-do for some local families, and the diverse class offerings have attracted students from the county, Indianapolis, Decatur Township and Shelbyville.
Students pick classes based on their interests for the weeklong camp. Each class is taught by a certified teacher and covers an academic standard for that grade, said April Reamsnyder, a coordinator for the event.
Typical classes are learning about chemistry in “Harry Potter’s Potions” and learning how to blog for middle-school aged students. The idea is to offer something beyond what students will get in school, Reamsnyder said.
Students may find their interest in the dozens of classes they can choose from. Most of the classes are more hands-on and detail-oriented approaches to a subject than students are used to in school, she said.
“It is (subjects) they may not have known they had an inkling for before,” Reamsnyder said.
The camp offers the chance for both teachers and students to dive deeper into subjects than they can during a typical school day, said Trisha Fox, fourth-grade teacher at Clark Elementary School.
“I only have a certain block of time that I can teach science,” she said.
Kids on Campus was started as an outreach for the college, Reamsnyder said. College employees wanted to be more involved in the community. They decided that a kid’s camp was the way to achieve that.
“I think it was to bring more community awareness into Johnson County, “ she said.
Students took fun classes like the science of bubbles and how to build roller coasters.
Organizers decided they wanted the camp to be more educational, so classes had to meet state academic standards to be considered for the camp.
Classes started to evolve. More science and technology classes were offered for older students, and classes on arts and sports were incorporate, according to Jeff Stanley, fourth-grade teacher at Clark Elementary School and a camp organizer.
“There is more emphasis on the changing educational environment,” he said.
A few years ago, Kids on Campus stopped.
A new balanced calendar for most school districts in central Indiana decreased enrollment, families couldn’t squeeze in the camp for the summer, and teachers weren’t willing to give up their tightened summer breaks to teach at the camp, Reamsydner said.
Camp organizers found a way to pay the teachers more, and two sessions were cut to one. Those steps allowed the camp to come back the next summer.
Families enrolled their students in droves once the camp came back, Reamsnyder said.
“We came back last year, and it was like gangbusters,” she said.
What: Kids on Campus
When: 8:30 to 3:50 June 22-26.
Where: Franklin College, 101 Branigin Blvd.
Cost: $189 before May 22. This includes six classes daily.
How to register: Register online at franklincollege.edu/.