July 22, 2019Print | PDF
An immersive program that introduces elementary school students to a real-world university experience is all grown up.
Wilfrid Laurier University’s Junior University Multidisciplinary Program, commonly known as JUMP, is celebrating its 25th year of programming in 2019.
Offered at Laurier’s Waterloo campus, JUMP provides students in Grade 5 through Grade 8 a fun and interactive introduction to post-secondary education and university life. Programming ranges from one-day campus experiences to three-day residential stays during May and June.
“JUMP is a great way for school teachers to plant the seed about post-secondary education among their students,” says Susan MacKenzie, who has supervised JUMP’s organizational team since 2003. “Our programming both complements and elevates elementary school curriculum and gets students thinking about possible career and educational paths.”
JUMP’s popular three-day residential program sees students participate in up to seven 90-minute courses that explore topics ranging from the arts, science and business to athletics and music. Each course includes a career exploration component.
“Students love JUMP’s combination of learning and fun. They often leave Laurier with new goals as they begin to move into high school.”
Teaching and learning have changed since 1994, as has the job market, and JUMP’s future-focused programming has adapted accordingly.
In the communications studies course, students undertake hands-on work with multimedia technologies in Laurier’s active learning classrooms and reflect on the influence of social media in society. In the science course, students examine living specimens using dissection microscopes not found in elementary schools. In the business course, students explore entrepreneurial skills as they learn about producing and marketing new products.
“With collaboration from our campus partners, JUMP is a unique learning experience that offers something for everyone,” says MacKenzie.
There’s more to being a university student than courses and homework – there’s all of the fun that happens outside the classroom. Some JUMP participants stay overnight in Laurier’s residences, enjoy a meal in the dining hall, go swimming in Laurier’s Olympic-size pool and take part in JUMP’s ever-popular cheer-off competition and dance.
“Students love JUMP’s combination of learning and fun,” says MacKenzie. “They often leave Laurier with new goals as they begin to move into high school.”
JUMP has also welcomed schools involved with Laurier’s JumpStart to Higher Education program, which provides resources and information about university to elementary school students and their families who are at risk financially.
More than 30,000 students from across Ontario have participated in JUMP since 1994, with many schools returning each year. MacKenzie says many past participants have studied at Laurier and worked as JUMP staff members.
Registration for JUMP’s spring 2020 program opens in October.