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Activities: What do Children’s Choice kids get to do?
We offer a variety of activities for children to CHOOSE from that are fun and educational.
There are a mix of child-directed activities, staff-facilitated activities, clubs, enrichment classes, field trips, presentations, special events, and snacks.
Activities are planned in advance and outlined on an activity calendar. These calendars can be found online or at the parent table of child's school.
Children can CHOOSE from a variety of child-directed activities - open-ended activities that require little or no help from adults. Each day the activity area is transformed into a model environment, which includes child-directed interest centers:
• a quiet home-like area - appropriate for relaxing or doing home work
- a fine motor skill area - each week a new manipulative (legos, lincoln logs, k-nex, bristle blocks, marble tracks, and many more).
• an art area - artsy arts and crafty crafts (playdough, markers, stencils, stamps, glue, beads, and many more).
• dramatic play area - each week a new theme (restaurant, hair salon, construction, grocery story, firefighters, and many more).
• a strategy games area - dice, card, and board games for all age levels that promote math and strategic thinking.
• snack area - multiple CHOICES and always self serve, family-style, and all you care to eat.
As if that wasn't enough, we plan a variety of staff-facilitated activities to CHOOSE from - activities which require adults to help lead the club. Some examples of staff-facilitated activities are active games, team sports such as soccer or softball, other activities such as a cooking or sewing project, or a more complex art project.
Clubs are special-interest groups that children may CHOOSE to join which require significant teacher facilitation. Some examples of club themes are science, drama, journalism, fitness, Spanish, cooking and the environment.
Classes are taught by instructors who have expertise in the class topic. Classes are free to children enrolled in the program on the day the class is held, and children not enrolled in the program may sign up to take the class for a tuition fee. The number and type of classes to CHOOSE from varies from site to site. Examples of enrichment classes are ballet, stop-animation, sculpting, karate, brass instruments, photography, French, and science.
On many non-school or early release days, our kids will go on field trips. We visit parks, businesses, outdoor recreation areas, swimming pool, and museums. We go bowling, roller-skating, and even ice blocking!
Kids get snacks, which consists of at least two nutritious food CHOICES, with water, 100% juice, or milk. It's family-style, so children choose the type of snack they want and how much. We're not called Children's CHOICE for nothing.
We wrote the book on afterschool. Literally.
Many of the philosophies of Children's Choice in regards to intentionally programming of after-school activities are articulated in the book, Best Practices: Guidelines for School-Age Programs, and the Best Practices Workbook, by Mike Ashcraft, Co-Founder
of Children's Choice.
Intentionality is the key to programming. Quality school-age care programming provides balance in a child’s life – balance between work and play; rituals and novelty; choice and community building. Constructive pedagogy teaches how important active, hands-on experiences are in the learning process, so we use many resources to ensure the program focuses on the positive development of the whole child, integrating strategies for physical, intellectual, emotional and social development.
The activities are but one component of intentional programming that we consider. We provide a developmentally appropriate routine that is consistent and stable yet flexible, a routine that allows for the individual developmental needs of school-age children. Every child has unique needs.
Some kids need to relax quietly right after school, some need a snack, some kids need to run off some energy, and some need to talk to their friends. Our routine allows kids to make these choices and explore and experiment with many other child-directed activities when the school bell rings. Children need some time to settle in before beginning the staff-directed activities that are integrated into the schedule.
It is important that children have the opportunity to develop and practice social skills during activities so most activities involve mixed-age groups and a lot of interaction and playfulness. Novelty in experiential learning is a key to brain development, so we provide a variety of experiences such as field trips, guest speakers, long- and short-term projects, and enrichment clubs.
The curriculum focuses on a variety of skills through the implementation of enrichment clubs and classes that may emphasize art, math, science, theater, physical education, music, journalism, the environment or public service.
Through these enrichment clubs and classes, we teach life skills such as cooking, earning/saving money, wise consumerism, health, nutrition, and safety; as well as social competencies such as problem solving, decision-making, negative peer pressure resistance skills, conflict resolution skills, friendship skills, and comfort with people of different backgrounds.
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