A Day in the After-School Program
By: David Worton, Director, After-School Program
After a full day of regular school, many of our students stay on campus after dismissal for a wide variety of activities. Here's just a taste of what they do...
Madeline finishes her kindergarten day and heads next door for Tree Frog Trek Science, an after-school enrichment program. The teacher introduces today’s “animal ambassador" - Room, the Fan-tailed Gecko - and then follows up with a hands-on lesson on gasses: one bottle and balloon demonstrates an endothermic (cold) reaction and the other an exothermic (hot) one. Madeline’s classmate Max goes directly to the PM program room and sees hanging on the wall a felt cut-out portrait of him made by second grader Taylor the day before. A teacher says, “Max, it really looks like you!" He agrees.The other kindergarten students busy themselves in the PM room eating snack, drawing and discussing paper airplane folding techniques with teacher Mr. Raygosa, before heading to the courtyard and climbing structure for some play time.
Our kindergarteners who ride the bus grab their backpacks from the rack and are led down to the stop by bus monitor Max Wickham. They will soon be joined by upper grade students who ride the bus daily to the north side of town. Some families take advantage of a single-ride option.
It's general school dismissal, with students in grades 1-8 heading in many different directions. Third grader Lola goes to the computer lab to check out the new after-school technology class offered by Mr. Stern, while fourth grader Gregory carries his saxophone to band practice. The day before, Gregory was very excited to show off his newly distributed alto recorder. As he played “Hot Cross Buns” for me he noted, “You know, this was the first song we learned in band, too.”
Meanwhile, fifth grader Josh heads down the steps to after-school Spanish while his grade-mate Aviv signs into the PM room and finds a spot in which to do her homework. I walk by a minute later, remarking, “You’re done with your science already?” She nods and pulls out her humanities work.
A bit later, fourth grade student Paige finishes her tutoring session and plants herself in her favorite chair by my desk. She patiently waits for me to return from checking on the New Conservatory Drama enrichment class to ask for help with part of her math assignment. Behind her, the afternoon activity is well under way, a second day of felt cut-out and sewing facilitated by teacher Ms. Wirth. First grader Becca is particularly eager to practice her new-found sewing skills again today, after making elaborate felt book covers the day before.
Middle school students are also dispersing at 3:15 p.m. Seventh grader Adam suits up for his junior varsity basketball game against Marin Country Day School and stops first at Study Hall for a guided homework session with Mr. Esters. He has plenty of time to work on his assignments before heading up to the gym for the 5:00 p.m. tip-off.
Meanwhile his grade-mate Lauren dons the lion suit to serve as the mascot to root the varsity team on. (They lose by one point in triple-overtime, with the game-winning shot bouncing off the rim.) Down in the art studio middle school students Emma, Mia and Zehava have clay snakes they created (including a nest of baby snakes) set up on a mini-stage, filming stop-action animation with a clay cactus and sand backdrop. They pause to open a box and show me the “rabbi” snake that wears a purple kippah and is reading a prayer book.
As the afternoon winds on, Spanish and band end; three basketball games are held; a whole lot of four-square is played; and homework is completed.
Our PM program shuts down, ready for the next afternoon to begin.