When students geared up for classes after the summer break, afterschool programs launched too, enriching the after-school hours with learning and fun. Across the country, afterschool programs participated in Lights on Afterschool events where they highlighted their programs and how they are helping kids to learn and grow.
At the PS 56 COMPASS program, our programs paired the event with parent orientation and set up a gallery of the STEM-themed projects students worked on. Parents guessed scents and objects at a “Five Senses” display, and looked at clay models of dinosaurs and fossils at another station. Kindergarten students made a color wheel, and first graders made a display of the day and night sky. One display provided a healthy recipe book for parents and another looked at the evolution of communication and technology—with a fun interactive game where parents had to pair text-speak (“YOLO”) with its interpretation (“You Only Live Once”).
As parents snapped pictures, staff at each station could elaborate on the finer details of the display and talk with parents about the kids and activities. “Parents were really involved and engaged,” said program director Rob Closs. “Many of the parents didn’t want to leave.”
At the MS 74 SONYC program, kids displayed their work in lego and solar robotics, Art Club, Math Club, Service Learning, and Drama Club. Interspersed through the displays were testimonials about the SONYC program:
“One thing that I like is that I get to participate in different activities. Another thing that I like is Drama Club. The last thing that I like about SONYC is all the funny and nice counselors.”
“My 3 favorite things I like about SONYC are all the counselors, snacks, and drama. I love all the counselors because they are all really nice and funny. I love the snacks SONYC provides because they are all really yummy. I love drama because it is really fun and I love to act out and do plays.”
“The three things I like about SONYC is that I get to see my friends. I also like that I can do my homework, if I forget a homework I can ask one of my classmates for it. I also like how I can get many snacks.”
During parent orientation, the staff went over the program, its rules and activities. Parents were happy to hear that students would have an hour set aside for homework and computers available for the kids to use.
Our other afterschool programs put their own unique touch on the event with videos of the programs and kids. At our Parsons Beacon program, families enjoyed music, dancing and a bouncy house. The staff encouraged everyone to wear college gear to increase kids’ awareness and excitement about college.
We are grateful for the excitement of our kids and the support from parents, guardians and the school community. At events like this, we’re thrilled to show how hard our students work, how much they learn and the fun they can have at the same time.