Although most students leave Keene State College when summer rolls around, the campus continues to stay occupied by some curious, younger minds.
According to Educational Program Coordinator at KSC, Heather Jasmin, this summer will be the ninth year of KSC’s Kids on Campus program.
The half-day or full- day program is open to all children entering grades one through eight, Jasmin said.
Jasmin explained further that Kids on Campus was created nine years ago and offered classes over a two-week period. Jasmin said at the beginning, there were only 11 classes offered to about 100 students.
According to Jasmin, the program has expanded over time to now being four weeks long with 46 classes to offer. Jasmin said this year, the program anticipates about 225 children.
According to the Kids on Campus website, classes run July 14 to 18, July 21 to 25, July 28 to August 1 and August 4 to 8. Jasmin said parents can register their children by visiting The Office of Continuing Education at KSC or online on the office’s website.
Once a child is enrolled, he or she is involved in one week of classes. Each class is three hours long and is either held in the morning from 9 a.m. to noon, or in the afternoon from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Depending on what week the child is enrolled in, there are corresponding lists of activities to participate in.
For example, according to Jasmin, the oldest children may build cars out of LEGO’s which utilize renewable energy sources. The children in grades four through six may learn about the physics behind roller coasters, and the youngest students may examine clues and evidence as they search for a missing teddy bear.
KSC student and Early Childhood Education major, Meghan Murphy said she thinks the program and the activities are really beneficial to the children enrolled in them.
“[The program] would be a great way to encourage learning through the long summer break. It gives children the chance to continue growing even when they are outside of school. This way, they do not fall behind on their learning,” Murphy said.
Jasmin said each Kids on Campus class is made up of 14 children and is well equipped with an experienced teacher.
“They are mostly local school teachers, many of whom are KSC alums,” Jasmin said.
According to Jasmin, each class also has a high school or college student as an assistant.
Murphy said she thinks the experience of being a counselor would be really beneficial, especially to a student in the early childhood education major.
“It would give them [the KSC student] lots of experience in the field that they would like to work in,” Murphy said.
Lydia Price, a student attending Wheelock College for social work and psychology, has been a counselor for Kids on Campus the past two summers.
She originally found the position through her mother Phoebe Price, an academic and career advisor at KSC.
Price said her job as a counselor consisted of making sure the children transitioned from class to class, assisting teachers and making sure lunch and free-time went smoothly and safely.
“I enjoy working with kids because, especially during the summer, they are full of energy and seeing their smiling faces and excitement to be at camp keeps me going [and] makes me just as excited to be there every morning. Children have such big imaginations and I think that if we all took a step back and looked into the mind of a child we could all learn something amazing,” Price said.
Although Price is not majoring in early childhood education, she said she still enjoys being surrounded by the children.
“Working with kids has always been a passion of mine and having the opportunity to see the growth and immense amount of knowledge children have over the years is inspiring to say the least. Watching the campers grow even over one week or the four weeks of camp is extremely rewarding,” Price said.
Now in the ninth year of the program, Jasmin said she believes the program is successful.
“Most kids return year after year, and the children have so much fun that they are almost never shy, uncomfortable, or homesick,” Jasmin said.
While Price agreed with Jasmin, she said she believed the staff also has a huge part of the programs success.
“Having a motivated and good group of counselors and teachers is also what keeps the program so successful and thriving, because without such a great staff the children would not stay safe and enjoy their summers as much as they have in the past eight summers,” Price said.
As for the future, Jasmin said she hopes to see the program expand even further.
According to Jasmin, she would like to continue with all their success but add an extra week into the program.
Jasmin also said she would like to provide aide to children who want to experience the fun and learning of the program, but can’t afford it.
“Ideally, we’d have grant money to make it more affordable for children of low incomes,” Jasmin said.
Price said she thinks Kids on Campus is such a great program that it can provide as a model for other programs that work with children.
“I hope that the program only grows bigger and stronger in the future summers to come!” Price said.
Jasmin said she encourages all KSC students that are on campus during the summer to take notice of all the Kids on Campus activities that are scattered around the Brickyard Pond, Appian Way and the Fiske Quad.
Alison Rancourt can be contacted at email@example.com