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College’s program returns with evolved curriculum

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For nearly a decade, the program was part of area children’s summer fun.

Dozens of elementary-aged children would go to Franklin College during the summer. They learned how to put together roller coasters, how to say a Japanese sentence and learned fractions using candy.

Last summer, the college’s Kids on Campus program was shuttered.

This summer, Kids on Campus will be back, offering the sort of educational fun that has become well known in the community, said April Reamsnyder, event management coordinator for the college.

“The kids get so much out of it, and it is so much fun,” she said. “This has become a part of the community.”

Balanced calendars cutting into summer vacations and low pay for teachers were to blame for the one-year closure.

Most local school districts had adopted balanced calendars, cutting summer break in favor of more time off during fall and spring breaks. Also, teacher’s pay for a class at the camp was lowered, Reamsnyder said.

Enough teachers didn’t propose classes which prompted organizers to cancel the event completely. The college began hosting classes for high school students.

Parents contacted Reamsnyder and said they were disappointed the program was canceled and that it was an annual tradition for their students.

Organizers wanted to find a way to get the program back.

Jeff Stanley, a teacher who had taught science classes at the camp, started calling teachers to ask that they take on a class at the program.

Stanley taught at the camp for six years and wanted students to be able to learn things that are difficult to cover during class, he said.

“It’s a very educational program, they don’t even know they are learning,” Stanley said.

Teacher pay for the program was raised and Kids on Campus was scaled back to one session. In the past, parents had two week-long options to pick from.

Parents can opt to enroll their children in one class, a half-day program or a full day of classes. Those two options are still available.

Classes this year will continue to have a science theme, with students being able to take a flight simulator, astronomy or cells and DNA class.

Children also will be able to learn about everything from ultimate Frisbee to natural disasters. Theater and reading classes have been added. Students can learn the basics of karate.

Kids on Campus has been constantly evolving in its nine-year history, Reamsnyder said.

The program started as a fun summer camp. Learning was secondary.

Curriculum evolved. Now teachers who propose a class must prove that it will meet at least three academic standards.

Attending the camp can be a family tradition, with siblings attending together and younger kids following in their older siblings’ footsteps.

The camp help connects the college to the community, Reamsnyder said.

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