Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

March 14, 2013

Kaleidoscope setting off new middle-school program

By Judy Wakefield
Staff Writer

---- — After years of taking part in the popular summer learning program, Kaleidoscope, fifth-graders at the end of the year are not just done with elementary school, they are done with Kaleidoscope.

At least, that was the case before this coming summer.

But for four days this year - July 1, 2, 3, 5 - Fireworks will explode on the summer scene for middle-schoolers. The new Fireworks program has some cool offerings, including cosmetic chemistry, marble madness and stop-motion movie-making, being offered to students in grades 6, 7 and 8.

Fireworks is the organization’s first new program in 23 years.

Kids don’t want Kaleidoscope to end as middle school looms, said Kaleidoscope director Janis Baron.

“The kids are so disappointed when we end. They want Kaleidoscope in middle school. They asked us for this,” she said.

The all-day programs (9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.) are happening at the Kaleidoscope location, which is the Pike School, 34 Sunset Rock Road in Andover. The cost is $275 per course. Middle-schoolers interested in being with their own age group don’t have to worry about attending Kaleidoscope alongside much younger kids. The regular Kaleidoscope program for kids ages 3 to 12, doesn’t start until July 8.

Baron said the separate scheduling was done on purpose because middle-schoolers asked for it.

Kaleidoscope has been around for 33 years and attracts some 750 kids from 40 different communities, including Andover, every summer. Already, some 400 kids have signed up for this coming summer, Baron said.

She said Kaleidoscope is “so much more than a summer camp” as parents are regularly consulted, teachers are hand-picked from around the region and fun is mixed with real learning.

For example, when Domino physicist Peter Bloom of Arlington holds a special program for middle-schoolers on July 5, it will not be “all silliness, but scientific principles” presented, said Baron, who has been involved with professional development programs for teachers for many years.

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