College for Kids registration begins Feb. 16

Greg Gancarz


College for Kids, Parkland’s summer enrichment program for kids aged 8–13, will begin registering participants on Friday, Feb. 16, with registration for the two-week long sessions being accepted on a first-come, first-served basis.

Children can be enrolled in programs covering numerous subjects of education, including subjects such as computer science and visual and language arts.

There are two separate sessions to sign up for, which run from June 18–28 and July 9–19 respectively.

Terry Thies, the Youth Program Manager for Business Training and Community Education, says that children are able to select two classes per session.

“Within each session, students may choose one class from each two-hour class period…When students select a class, such as a robotics class or an architecture class, they will study that subject for the full session,” Thies said.

CFK generally hires about 25–30 instructors. Some of these instructors are Parkland faculty members and others are local school teachers and graduate students from the University of Illinois or from Illinois State University. 

Three Parkland staff will be teaching classes this year. Denise Seif, a faculty member in Fine and Applied Arts, will teach a jewelry and metals studio class, Sheri Doyle, from the Costume Shop, is teaching an introductory sewing class, and Chris Foster will teach a TV production class.

Thies says that assistants also play an integral role in CFK.

“We generally have 15 to 17 assistants work with the College for Kids program. They assist the instructors in the classrooms as the students are working on projects, and help engage students in the activities. Assistants interact with the students throughout the afternoon and have a lot of fun working with them,” Thies said. “Since many of our assistants are pursuing a degree in education and want to teach, our program provides an excellent opportunity for them to get more experience working with children.”

Individuals who fill the assistant positions come from all over.

“In the past, some Parkland students have applied to work as assistants and we have enjoyed having them as part of our CFK team,” Thies said. “We have also had former CFK participants come back and work as assistants so it is always fun to have students return in this role. Two years ago, we had an assistant who had attended Parkland’s Child Development Center as a toddler and then worked for us as a college student.”

Thies says instructors are responsible for class room management and the assistants help with that. Assistants meet and greet the kids as they arrive each day and escort the kids to the classroom. Assistants also supervise the students. 

While parents are responsible for providing transportation, CFK staff will meet and greet the kids at the bus stop and escort the youth inside.

Of the classes available, Thies says there are always a few that stand out as favorites among the students.

“Chris Foster’s television production class is always a favorite among our CFK students. Some even repeat the class. Culinary classes always have a waiting list as well and are hugely popular. This year, we are offering 3 CFK culinary classes, in addition to the culinary classes we offer for kids during the academic year,” Thies said. “Our robotic classes are always popular so we are introducing a new robotics class that will use the Vex IQ robotic equipment. We will also offer two Lego Mindstorm robotics classes and an introductory engineering/robotics class using Lego products.”

“Our coding classes are also popular, so we will continue to offer a website design class, a 3D design class and a class in which students will design an app. We also offer several traditional art classes (painting and drawing) as well as some more unique ones. Denise Seif’s jewelry studio is very unique and popular…CFK really offers something for everyone.”

The program also offers a 3D pen design class as well as a “crazy paint” studio class in which students use unique objects to paint and ultimately create their own portfolio. 

“CFK is a place for students to explore and have fun while they learn; they can try new subjects and be a part of hands on projects that help them see the world in new ways; they can also explore topics that may lead to a field of study they may wish to pursue later. Our classes are small so the interaction between students and the instructors is excellent and allows for students to ask questions and be engaged. And, students always make new friends,” Thies said.

The 2018 program will be the 38th year that CFK has been in operation thanks in part to continual support and patronage from the community according to Thies. The program is expected to see nearly 300 students enroll this year.

Thies says growth has been steady over the last several years and that the future looks bright for College for Kids.

CFK classes meet Mondays–Thursdays from 12:45–2:45 p.m. and 3–5 p.m. and each class costs $159. Registration cut-off for the two sessions are June 4 and June 15 respectively.

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