New Technology Camps Available during Spring Break from Portland Wiz Kids; Keep Kids Learning During out of School Time

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Portland Wiz Kids is launching a new technology camp format that will give kids the opportunity to create their own video games, animated videos, and music videos, or program an autonomous robot. During Oregon's Spring Break, Camp Wiz Kids programs focus on allowing kids to produce technology based products rather than passively consuming them. Portland Wiz Kids keeps kids learning through technology creation.

Portland Wiz Kids, a local educational business, is launching a new weeklong technology day-camp format for kids in Portland, to introduce them to tools for Computer Animation, Video Production, LEGO Robotics and Stop Motion Animation. Graduates of the company's new Camp Wiz Kids program will have the ability to create their own version of Laika's "Coraline", or to program an autonomous robot to clean their room, and all for a fee of under $200 - less than the average cost of childcare. Portland Wiz Kids offers day-camps and afterschool programs at schools and community centers throughout the Metro area. This spring, Camp Wiz Kids will be held in Tualatin, Beaverton, Lake Oswego, Portland, and at the company's new headquarters location in Happy Valley. Interested families can find details about upcoming programs at the company's website: http://www.portlandwizkids.com.

Kids these days have many opportunities to interact with science and technology, but often it is a one-way interaction, with someone or something communicating to them, whether a teacher, a website, or a game. Portland Wiz Kids programs are developed on the basis of action learning, which uses experiential activities to teach the engineering and creative processes, whether it is designing a robot, programming a new computer game, creating a solar car, or inventing a new toy or game. Kids learn how to create something new, while having fun doing it.
Portland Wiz Kids bases its teaching philosophy on making technology and engineering fun for kids. This is evident in the fact that more than 80% of its campers state that they would like to continue learning in the course of study after they complete a camp or workshop. But more than that, the company has recently been linked to producing teams of some award-winning youth engineers.

In the summer of 2008, Diana Laboy-Rush, the President and Founder of Portland Wiz Kids, accompanied five Portland middle-schoolers to compete in the National TOYChallenge competition in San Diego. The TOYChallenge competition, designed and sponsored by Sally Ride Science, invites teams of 5th through 8th graders to work as a team to design and build a new toy or game and present it to a panel of judges from the engineering and toy industries. The Fireflies Toy Inventors team, based in Beaverton, Oregon was the only team from the state of Oregon invited to compete at the National level in 2008. The five students, ranging in age from 9 to 13 years old were awarded an Honorable Mention in their category, something unheard of for a first year team. The team is currently in the prototype stages of its second game invention that will be judged in the 2009 TOYChallenge.

In December of 2008, another team coached by Portland Wiz Kids, was honored with the Ultimate Championship honor at the Wilsonville First LEGO League Regional Competition. The untitled-8 team, from Waluga Junior High School in Lake Oswego, received the Championship Trophy at the Mentor Graphics First LEGO League Robotics competition. As a result, they were invited to the Oregon State Competition at Hillsboro High. In January, the team received a 4th place acknowledgement, another surprise for a first year team. Portland Wiz Kids began working with the team in September 2008, just three months before the Regional Competition and four months before the State Competition.

Camp Wiz Kids is a new development from the Portland Wiz Kids that incorporates the most popular technology workshops from their course catalog and offers them in a one week format, to all children enrolled for the week. In addition, they have recently launched a new online registration system that allows for a more streamlined registration process for parents and a more flexible course line-up than in past years.

Portland Wiz Kids founder Diana Laboy-Rush and her staff have spent several years developing and optimizing the programs to meet the needs of the tech-savvy generation growing up today. "The key to serving kids today is in giving them the tools that allow them to communicate their creative ideas in new ways. Without taking anything away from a traditional writing program, how much more of the child will show up in a movie directed by a child about their life or a subject of interest to them than in a creative writing exercise? Kids are learning the technologies of tomorrow while developing literacy and problem-solving skills required of them today."

For additional information on Camp Wiz Kids or other programs offered by Portland Wiz Kids, contact Diana Laboy-Rush or visit http://www.portlandwizkids.com . Registration for Spring Break camps is available now.

About Portland Wiz Kids:
Portland Wiz Kids offers programs for kids in engineering, inventing, and creative problem solving at various locations throughout the Portland Metro area. Each program is developed as a way to introduce kids to the process of design and creativity in technology, with a balance of scientific theory and creative freedom to apply what is learned in a new way - truly the essence of invention.

Contact:
Diana Laboy-Rush, President and CEO
Portland Wiz Kids
503-954-2060
http://www.portlandwizkids.com

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