When school’s out for summer, it doesn’t mean that fun comes at the expense of education—you can have both! The Community & Continuing Education (CCE) department of Whatcom Community College offers a variety of imaginative classes in a variety of formats through their Kids’ College and Summer Programs for Teens.

The LEGO® Robotics courses are a great way to learn basic programming skills and create with LEGO® bricks. Photo courtesy: WCC Kids’ College

For the first seven weeks of the summer quarter, WCC’s campus opens its doors and gives youth the opportunity to see themselves learn in a higher education environment. From pottery to app coding, opportunities abound for your children to discover a new creative passion.

Many of the program’s offerings are science- and technology-based, and offer chances for students to express creativity. The computer courses span from designing your own virtual reality world to coding an animated story.

Some popular technology classes are their LEGO® Robotics classes. These combine the creative and manipulative aspects of LEGO® building with computer programing. Different classes are adapted to varying ages and ability levels. Younger students can enjoy the wonder of learning to program LEGO® models, while more advanced students can push their skillset and program robots with more complex functions.

Traditional art classes remain one of the most popular offerings of the summer program. Photo courtesy: WCC Kids’ College

“Our goal is to provide classes that develop and engage kids’ interests,” says Mallory Opel, class coordinator of the technology classes. “We also want our students to have fun. It’s summer after all, so providing them the opportunity to explore a variety of topics in a fun learning environment is what it’s all about.”

CCE partners with Black Rocket, a STEM education provider, to offer six weeks of digital arts, coding, and video game design classes. These classes cover everything from designing your own virtual reality world, to 3D video game design and app development. Classes like Minecraft Modders allow kids to learn new skills like coding in games and applications they’re already familiar with and interested in. Kids are able to create and bring home projects they’ve created on a secure and private Black Rocket server.

Joining the summer programs gives youth the opportunity to experience WCC’s campus, including Roe Studio pottery wheels. Photo courtesy: WCC Kids’ College

CCE also offers classes focused on the arts. Kids can learn to illustrate and create their own comic, construct their own set of ceramic plates in the enduring style of Henri Matisse, or learn photography and filmmaking skills

And you’re never too young to start getting creative in the kitchen; this year there are two wonderful  cooking series in partnership with the neighboring Community Food Co-op, where kids can learn everything from learning to cook using local ingredients to making pizza.

CCE’s classes for readers, writers, and film fans includes their popular Hogwarts Satellite School, which has been offered for over ten years. Based on the beloved Harry Potter book series, this class combines literacy with hands-on projects that make kids feel they really are attending Hogwarts. Other classes based on books include Percy Jackson books and Greek mythology, and exploring Norse history and mythology like a true Viking. “It’s a fun way to engage kids with the books,” says CCE program manager Shandeen Gemanis.

At Hogwarts, children get to engage in a variety of crafting projects based on the Harry Potter book series. Photo courtesy: WCC Kids’ College

The creativity of the courses gives children a new take on what an education can be like. They have the chance to be exposed at a young age to things that capture their interest, and see if that’s something they may want to pursue further.

“I believe our program is particularly valuable because it provides kids and teens the opportunity to pursue their interests on Whatcom’s campus,” says Opel. “For example, our photography students spend a portion of class exploring and photographing campus with the instructor, and many of them have expressed that one of their favorite things is feeling included in our campus community.”

Take a look through the Kids’ College course offerings with your child and see if something captures their attention. Keep the ball rolling on education, have fun and make new friends during this year’s summer program.

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