Behrend’s College for Kids to feature sourdough, storm-chasing and Sasquatch

Three children conduct an outdoor science project during Penn State Behrend's College for Kids program.

Penn State Behrend’s summer College for Kids program cloaks learning in immersive and imaginative play: Students become storm chasers, champion cake-bakers, Olympic athletes and wizards at Hogwarts.

Credit: Penn State Behrend

ERIE, Pa. — Penn State Behrend’s summer College for Kids program cloaks learning in immersive and imaginative play: Students become storm chasers, champion cake-bakers, Olympic athletes and cryptozoologists.

Research shows that students who are not academically engaged during the summer months often regress in their learning. College for Kids courses are designed to both entertain and engage students between the ages of 6 and 14.

“The last thing most students want to do in the summer is go to school,” said Melanie Ford, director of outh Education Outreach at Behrend. “Our instructors do a fabulous job of offering fun, engaging topics that incorporate hands-on learning. ... Some of our most popular classes are about baking and making pizzas. What we don’t tell the kids is that they’re also working on their math skills, like fractions.”

Registration is now open for morning, afternoon and full-day sessions, which begin June 17. A full schedule and descriptions of the weeklong courses are available at the College for Kids website.

Summer enrichment courses do more than prevent a “summer slide,” according to Jeff Barber, who coordinates College for Kids. The courses also can introduce students to new interests and accelerate learning.

“If a student is able to expand a specific skill set over the summer, they can return to school ahead of the curve,” Barber said. “It’s a win-win approach.”

Students who attend with friends tend to have even more fun, Barber said.

“Participating with their peers enhances the balance of fun with teaching useful concepts and makes it more exciting,” Barber said. “On top of that, they’re learning how to bake, cook, build and create items that are fun and exciting while learning how to measure, draw, paint and explain.”

This year’s courses include classes in rocketry, robotics, watercolors and storm-chasing. One cooking class focuses on sourdough; another features Piezano Pie Pizza Ovens, which are trending on TikTok.

“Forensic Files” will offer a series of carefully staged crime scenes, where students will search for clues. “Titanic Time Travelers” will take students back to 1912, with a look at the construction of the doomed luxury ocean liner. “Cryptozoology” will explore the lore of animals that have not yet been substantiated by science, from Sasquatch to the bunyip.

To learn more about Penn State Behrend’s College for Kids, or to register, call 814-898-6981 or visit the College for Kids website.

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