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Laurier's JUMP program will celebrate 20 years of providing unique educational experiences
As a Grade 6 student, Mallory O’Brien took classes on Laurier’s Waterloo campus and stayed overnight in residence with her classmates. She wasn’t a child prodigy — she was a participant in the university’s Junior University Multidisciplinary Program (JUMP).
“It was really cool to attend classes that interested me, so I could get a taste of what it would be like to attend university to do something I loved,” said O’Brien, who eventually enrolled at Laurier after graduating high school.
JUMP is a one to three day program for students in Grades 5 to 8. From wearing perception goggles and learning about the brain in a psychology class, to conducting polymer experiments in science and participating in an archaeological dig, JUMP offers a unique educational experience. While completing courses in athletics, archaeology, astronomy, communications, business, geography, music, science, psychology or theatre, students explore new subjects, learn about post-secondary education and discover possible career paths. Outside of the classroom, students enjoy leadership activities, live and eat on campus, and bond with friends and teachers.
“I have very strong, positive memories of learning how to draw a skull with a real model,” recalled O’Brien. “I remember it also being a great bonding experience with friends, and we even got to take our drawing home!”
To date, more than 25,000 students from across Ontario have participated in JUMP. In 2014, the program celebrates its 20th anniversary.
“It is great to watch some of our quieter students or less adventurous students do things they may not have done before,” said Nicole Kazemzadeh, a music teacher at Millen Woods Public School in Waterloo, who has attended several JUMP camps with her students. “I love hearing about their experiences when they come back to school, full of new memories and often a great deal more confidence than when they left.”
When it came time to choose a university, the familiar feel of the university’s campus, and the positive memories of the JUMP experience were factors in O’Brien’s decision to attend Laurier.
“No matter how good of a student you are, attending university for the first time is a bit of a nerve-wracking experience,” she said. “JUMP helps dispel some of those daunting feelings by getting students onto campus making them feel like part of the community before they officially attend the institution.”
JUMP sessions run in May and June. Registration for the program’s 2014 camps is now open, and teachers are encouraged to reserve their class’ space early. For more information, visit www.wlu.ca/jump.