Colleges and private adult-education programs around the San Fernando Valley are lowering their age requirements. From magic to Spanish to computers to ballet, traditionally adults-only schools have organized ambitious children's schedules.
And most classes don't even require a kindergarten diploma.
Schools that offer a year-round children's program usually beef up their summer schedule. Here is a sampling of five schools' offerings.
Pierce College (6201 Winnetka Ave., Woodland Hills, 818-347-0551). Pierce offers year-round, after-school and Saturday classes for kids age 3 to 16 with a "more meaty" schedule in summer, according to Joyce Eade of the college's Community Services Department.
This summer's program will have close to 70 different classes and will run from July 6 to Aug. 15. The average cost is $20. Some classes are taught by Pierce instructors, but most are taught by outside experts. Most classes meet once a week for six weeks. Summer brochures will be ready June 1 and early registration is advised.
This summer, Pierce will offer "Discovering Dinosaurs" (age 6-7), "Wonder of Electricity" (age 9-12), "Volcanoes" (age 7-9), beginning French and Spanish (age 8-12), pre-algebra (age 10-14), art, cooking and calligraphy. In the clowning class, children age 8 to 12 will learn make-up skills and how to put on skits.
Extra academic classes are scheduled in summer, and while most classes average about 15 students, some intensive learning ones, such as reading, average 12.
Classes for pre-schoolers include creative dance, toddler theater, tap dance and cooking.
Cartooning is one of the most popular classes at Pierce and is offered year-round with extra sessions added this summer. Pierce has both beginning and intermediate cartooning for 8- to 14-year-olds. Students learn inking techniques, perspective, toning and lettering.
California State University, Northridge (18111 Nordhoff St., Northridge, 818-885-3333.) This is the most academically oriented of the programs listed here and is offered only in summer session. CSUN has two summer academic programs, one for grades one through six and another for grades six through 12. Grade six overlaps in both programs because some local junior highs begin at sixth grades, others at seventh. Both programs run July 29 to Aug. 7. Each class meets five days a week. Tuition is $300.
Elementary students select four one-hour classes such as reading, creative writing, how to write a report, math, journalism, arts and crafts, Spanish, creative dramatics, sign language, singing, puppetry, dance, photography and science. Classes are held in Sierra South, Fine Arts and Music buildings and the South Library, which are all adjacent. Adults will make sure students get to classes safely.
The junior and senior high school program features two two-hour classes. Except for clothing construction and driver education, all are academic: American literature, composition, algebra, math skills, developmental reading (for students reading below grade level) and power reading (for students reading above grade level). A special class, "Academic Decathlon," prepares senior high students for competition.
Valley College (5800 Fulton Ave., Van Nuys, 818-781-1200). The summer schedule here is set up so that children can enroll in several classes, then rendezvous with the school's summer camp program if they need further care. Classes are geared to age 8 and up, and most meet twice a week for a 1 1/2-hour session. Fees range from $27 to $48.
This summer's listing includes copper enameling (age 11 and up), stained glass (age 13 and up), drawing (age 8-12), jazz dance (age 8-12), guitar (age 10 and up), magic (ages 10 and up) and more academic subjects such as algebra and remedial math. There are also computer classes that meet four times a week.
New this year are two clown classes taught by professional clown Audrey Ruttan. One focuses on clown costume design and make-up, the other on tricks and circus skits. Both are for children age 8 to 10.
Because of the size of the campus, parents are responsible for seeing that their children are delivered to the classroom door and picked up immediately after class.
Everywoman's Village (5650 Sepulveda Blvd., Van Nuys, 818-787-5100). Weekly classes last six to nine weeks and cost $40 to $54. Most classes are limited to 10 students. Many children take classes while their parents are in their own classes. The next series of classes begins on May 18, then again on July 20.
Offerings here include piano (age 5-12), tennis (age 5-8), improvisational comedy (all ages), jazz movement (age 7-12), ice skating (age 6-12). Except for tennis and ice skating, classes are given in the classroom.
A class in basic etiquette and social dance skills for age 9 to 14 was suggested by parent Gayle Rosenberg, who has taken several classes at the village.