Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Response to Brittany

Brittany asked, " What sort of activities do you think elementary schools could adopt to increase learning without implementing a longer school day?" I was a tutor at an afterschool program for four years when I was in high school. It was at my former elementary school, and it ran M-F 2pm to about 6pm. I found that the students in this program, although they were there because they had parents unable to pick them up after school, were actually benefitting from this program. At 2 pm we had snacks and began homework. I would walk around and help anyone who needed it. I think this is one strong benefit that presented itself. They had the opportunity to ask questions in a one-on-one situation, in case they didn't want to ask the teacher, or speak up in their classroom. This promoted further understanding in a more relaxed setting. After homework, there were computers available for learning-based games. We also were always doing crafts or making gifts for the parents, like little seedlings in pots, and concrete things like that that also promoted learning. At the same time, if a child didn't want to do a craft activity, we had board games out, or they could play in the gym. On certain days, a lady came in and they would learn recorders, or bells, some sort of music where they could participate as a group. We also went to places like the zoo, the dairy farm, the supermarket (which was more interesting than I was anticipating!) Although this program is additional money beyond the tuition for the school, and was implemented in order to help parents who lived out of bus range, or couldn't come at 2 pm, I think it was doing much more good than just "babysitting". It allowed for one-on-one tutoring, hands on crafting, and also physical activity to wear them out some :) 1) Should after school programs be recommended and encouraged to ALL students to furthur learning and not be merely a place for kids who can't get picked up at dismissal time?

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