UD for Kids Celebrates 25th Anniversary

Jun 24, 2016 | S. Ortman

Toni Klinger, with UD for Kids, teaches students to count in French on Thursday, June 23.

DUBUQUE, Iowa – “Un, deux, trois, quatre, cinq, six, sept, huit, neuf, dix, onze, douze.”

Children recited numbers in French on a recent summer day inside a University of Dubuque classroom. Many of the tri-state area youngsters learned the French words days earlier.

UD for Kids celebrates its 25th anniversary this summer with more than 600 students in grades first through seventh. The program that offers summer academic enrichment through hands-on learning was developed to meet the needs of academically talented and gifted students.

“We offer a variety of classes in reading, science, math, writing, nutrition, acting, music, and art,” said Chad Biermeier, UD for Kids coordinator. “Our students are able to choose classes that fit their interests.”

Toni Klinger, a retired teacher and manager of Hello Galena in Galena, IL, has been with UD for Kids since the beginning. She teaches “Ratatouille’s French Café” and “Games of the World.”

“Every year it still blows my mind how good the children are and how they figure things out,” Klinger said, adding. “It doesn’t seem like 25 years, that’s for sure.”

Students are nominated to attend UD for Kids. The program is held in three sessions: First and second grade students attend June 20-24, third and fourth grade students attend June 27-July 1, and fifth through seventh grade students attend July 11-15.

In “Ratatouille’s French Café,” students learned to speak French through games and songs. This year, Klinger taught the child of a student she taught many summers ago. Nora Nieto’s mom, Gina Kramer, was excited for her eight-year-old daughter to take the French class.

“My mom said if it is her, that she’s a really good teacher,” Nora said, adding. “It’s really fun how we get to do the different kinds of French songs.”

Other classes during the first session of UD for Kids included “American Girl Dolls” and “Wacky and Wild Investigations.”

American Girl Dolls

In “American Girl Dolls,” children learned about cultures through the stories of five American Girl dolls. The students also completed crafts that connected with those cultures.

Sarah Flogel, a paraprofessional at Table Mound Elementary School, said she hoped students would gain an understanding of other cultures through the mini-lessons and activities.

With her American Girl doll nearby, eight-year-old Marin Dickau glued crepe paper to a paper plate to create a dreamcatcher. She said she liked the class because it was fun.

Wacky and Wild Investigations

Eight-year-old Jay Benhart experimented with tape, craft sticks, rubber bands, and a cup during “Wacky and Wild Investigations” to build a catapult.

“It’s really fun doing all these investigations,” he said.

Classmate Natalie Keleher, 7, agreed. She said UD for Kids was “lots of fun.”

Randi Burken, a Galena High School math teacher, guided students through experiments and shared the scientific principles behind each experiment.

“I love UD for Kids,” Burken said. “It’s one of the highlights of my summer.”