In the winter of 2005, I took my first class in the teacher education program at Eastern Michigan University. This class was a "physics for elementary teachers" class and my professor, Dr. Bonnie Wylo, was constantly modeling great physics demos in class. I in turn would come home and do the demos and experiments with my kids and sometimes the neighbors as well. As I watched my kids and the neighbors actively engaged in "learning" after school with enthusiasm and without even knowing they were learning, a light bulb went off in my head that maybe other kids would like to do these fun activities after school as well. Shortly thereafter, my first after school event was born...the "Hardy Science Club."
South Lyon Herald Article - January 26, 2006 - Junior Scientists Use Free Time To Experiment
South Lyon Herald Article - May 11, 2006 - Lessons Are For The Birds at "Scientists' Day"
I have now run after school programs for four years ranging from reading, writing, community service, math and science for grades K-5. My programs include: science club (gr. 3-5), "Young Scientist's Day" (gr. K-1), "Math Around the World" (gr. 3-5), "Adopt a Grandfriend" (gr. 2-3), "Jammin' with Geometry" (gr. 1-2), "I Scream for Books" (gr. 1-2), "Build-a-(game)Board Workshop" (gr. 3-5), and "Multiplication On Safari (gr. 3-4). In total I have worked with 197 different students in my after school programs. Nothing brings me greater joy than to see these kids voluntarily come after school to engage in more learning!
The goal of all my after school enrichment programs is to help students broaden their knowledge of the world around them and become inspired and excited to become lifelong learners.
“In today’s fast-paced world, education needs to be spread out over a lifetime, and the main thing we need to teach our young people is to love the process of learning.”
(Education Week, 4/4/07)
Why start an after school program?
It does make a difference!
Some days as I spend hours preparing for my programs, I wonder will it really make a difference? Or on a day when thinks don't go as smoothly as planned, I take a few minutes to remind myself ..."it's not about me"...."it's about them...." and I read these comments again and realize I CAN make a difference!
Read what some parents, students and teachers have said about some of the programs…
Thank-you note from students
My daughter was raving about math club! She said she had so much fun, and loved playing all the games you did. She can't wait for the next club date.
Thanks for coordinating the math club. My daughter just loved week one. She was testing me on that "pick a number" book/game all the way home. That was so neat!
You did a great job. Thanks for dedicating your time to such a quality project!
My daughter absolutely loves being a part of the club! She gets home and she goes a mile a minute and on and on about what she learned, how much fun, how excited Mrs. Weakland is, and how many times she beat Ms. Young at something. Keep it up!
She even took her math folder to FLA on Winter Break to play the games with her grandparents! Thank-you, thank-you Laura! This program was both educational and entertaining – what more could we ask for?
You deserve ALL the praise. You put so much work into the math club, I could tell from what my daughter would say at the end of each week. I also got to see it for myself yesterday. Like I said, I learned about polygons, heptagons, etc., just from being there to help. You sure did an amazing job putting all of the information together. You should feel so good about yourself, I'm very impressed.
I love the way you open the door in kids little minds and then let them find their own way around in there. My kids have always come home from one of your sessions fully engaged, excited, and ready for more. Thank you for everything you do. May you never run out of energy or passion to keep sharing your creativity.
Thanks again for a terrific after school activity for the kids. I think everyone had a great time! You did a terrific job explaining how to make the boards, and I LOVED your example. I think you should do it again next year. The kids this time will probably continue to talk about it with their friends.
My daughter attended your “Jammin’ with Geometry” session and absolutely loved it! She said you were great and wished she could attend every day. I wanted to thank you for providing the opportunity for the children to attend this beneficial session. Every night Madison has been making pictures with the shapes she received. I hope you will do more events in the future with the children! Thanks again,
Thank you again for all of your enthusiasm and great ideas. I am really excited about your new workshops this year (especially because my children will benefit from them!) Let me know when we can sign up, because I want to make sure that we get in! Thanks again!
I just wanted to drop you an email to let you know how grateful Hardy Elementary is to have you. Today after school went wonderful. The kids really enjoyed themselves!
-Ms. Pellsomaa (2nd gr. Teacher)