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Summer Offerings Help Put Imagination Into Play


So here it is, summer already. It crept up on you and your family before you had a chance to make plans for keeping your children's minds as well as their bodies busy and active.

Take heart. While many summer learning programs are indeed filled, there still are some last-minute opportunities--if you move very fast--to keep your child involved in more than swimming and TV.

Not that summer shouldn't still be a time for fun. Most of the season's educational programs stress creative, enjoyable learning, even while they focus on such fundamental subjects as math, reading and science.

Don't forget to check with your local recreation department for activity-oriented classes.

Here is a sampling of summertime offerings in Orange County that still have openings:

* Orange County Marine Institute, Dana Point: From free Sunday lectures to a weeklong Marine Studies Institute for young teens, a wide variety of educational offerings for kids of various ages and sometimes even their parents. Prices vary. (714) 496-2274.

* L.E.A.R.N., Laguna Beach: There are still plenty of openings left in the Summer Fun School for first- through eighth-graders held at Top of the World Elementary School. Classes include math, science, Spanish, tutoring in reading, as well as enrichment classes in band, music and "academic chess." Each child enrolls in three hourly classes that meet daily from 9 a.m. to noon, although Spanish and reading tutorials start at 8 a.m. The program runs June 30 to July 25 and costs $290. (714) 497-6011.

* Orange Coast College, locations throughout the county: Reading classes, from reading readiness for 4-year-olds to more advanced classes for children entering fourth and fifth grades. $199 for a four-week session. The first session already is under way, but spaces are available for the second session starting July 29. (714) 971-3800.

* COMPUTERTOTS: Computer training for children 3 to 9. Students use software to work on reading, math, geography and science. Summer classes vary depending on class location. Information on southern Orange County classes, (714) 458-7142; northern Orange County classes, (714) 281-2667. Costs about $45 for four weekly sessions.

* Saddleback College: Accepting registrants through today, the start of classes for high school students in philosophy, anthropology, accounting, biology, geology. Capistrano Unified School District students can receive academic credit for the courses. See college catalog for a complete list. Session runs through Aug. 1. Registration fees are waived. (714) 582-4500.

* Pegasus School in Huntington Beach: For students entering preschool through eighth grade. Classes such as "Sea Life Dissection Lab" and "Happy Birthday America" take a creative approach to the basics. Three sessions: June 30 to July 11; July 14 to July 25; July 28 to Aug. 8. Registration has started. Tuition: $295 per session. (714) 964-1224.

* Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District: Acceleration classes for high school students in required subjects such as science, beginning Spanish, health and pre-algebra. Wednesday to Aug. 1. Registration deadline, Wednesday. (714) 996-2550.

* South Coast Repertory, Costa Mesa: Two-week summer theater workshop, Aug. 4 to Aug. 16, for ages 14 to 17 in acting, singing, improvisation and backstage theater crafts. Costs $195 for the half-day session. (714) 957-2602, Ext. 210.

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