||Schofield Hall 218|
||Eau Claire, WI 54702-4004|
Children's Center Offers|
MAILED: July 9, 1998|
EAU CLAIRE Get in the university van for a field trip. Come back for a trip to the land of make-believe. Maybe take a nap. But do it all quickly you've got another adventure in five minutes. And you've only got eight weeks.
Operated by the Children's Center in the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire's Brewer Hall, a summer school-age program is being offered to 6- to 10-year-olds.
"We're always busy, always on the go," teacher Marge Barnard said.
From field trips to the Heritage Museum in Menomonie to trying out new recipes with garden-fresh vegetables, the program is fun and exciting for the children.
"It's very laid back and yet they're learning everything," Barnard said. "But it isn't book learning it's learning by experience."
One such experience is the fourth annual lemonade stand, which the children will operate at the end of the summer program on the Central Campus Mall.
"The children organize the whole thing like a business," said Jane Linton, Children's Center director. "They decide what they're going to charge, the profit they will make and then carry it out."
Selling projects they have either collected or made during the summer, the lemonade stand makes a profit of $60 to $80, Linton said.
Barnard said the kids usually have a pizza party and make the pizzas themselves at local businesses.
Certified early childhood teachers, food care coordinators, student teachers, student helpers and volunteers staff the Children's Center.
Four classrooms operate during the summer one each for 2-, 3- and 4- or 5-year-olds and the school-age program.
The Summer Program costs between $10 and $20.50 per day, depending on the number of children, whether the child attends half-day or full-day and if the parent is a UW-Eau Claire student.
Linton said there are many benefits to the program.
"Parents have so many opportunities to spend little snippets of time with their children," Linton said.
Parents may also observe the children.
"It may be traumatic [for the parent] to leave a 2-year-old here for the day," Linton said. "Parents find it reassuring to be able to just peek in and make sure the child is having fun."
For children, there is a learning environment in which they receive lessons in language arts, science, social studies and math, Linton said.
"Teachers set up a rich, stimulating environment and the children are mostly free to explore," she said. "It is an environment conducive to learning."
The garden, and the radishes the children proudly present as proof of their experiences, is an example.
"The children get the opportunity to try things they've never tried before," Barnard said. "And they all say they are brave enough to try."
The university itself is home to a lot of places of wonder for the children. There is weekly swimming in McPhee, crayfish watching by Little Niagara Creek and trips to the bird sanctuary and greenhouse in Phillips Hall.
And for the one little boy who was convinced the government was withholding secret information about rockets, there was even a trip to the McIntyre Library archives.
"We really get a lot of quality interaction with different departments," Linton said.
And in the meantime, there is opportunity for interaction with others, visits with nature and a whole lot of fun.
Janice B. Wisner
UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
Updated: July 8, 1998