bapplegate
Tuesday 8th , 2015
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Have you ever witnessed a program at Kidspace and wished your child could delve more deeply into its exploration?  Has your child ever had such a positive Kidspace camp experience that you found yourself wishing something like it was available all year long?  Or have you ever simply been eager to enroll your child in a unique learning experience outside the walls of the traditional classroom?  If so, the Kidspace After School Club is for your family!

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On January 20th, 2016, Kidspace will launch its first-ever After School Club!  Created in response to popular demand, this pilot program will run once a week on Wednesday afternoons between 3:30pm and 5:30pm, through March 9th.  If your child loves the Kidspace experience, and is curious about the natural, creative and scientific world around them, this program will offer them a dynamic, hands-on way of exploring that world.  This fun and inspiring 8-week program will be full of experiential enrichment learning paired with self-directed play.  Each week will include activities surrounding a science, art, or nature theme designed to encourage connection with fellow club members, sending children home excited about learning, and eager to return the following week.

What the After School Club IS:

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At Kidspace, we believe that learning is best done through play, and best solidified through joy.  Each weekly session will consist of specific subject exploration combined with periods of supervised free-play among the Kidspace exhibits.  Subject exploration will consist of such things as close-up encounters with the Kidspace animal collection, entering a mobile planetarium, planting their own gardens, making and launching their own rockets, participating in musical jam sessions, and much more.  Each activity will be done at the child’s pace, and will be experience-driven rather than product driven.  Additionally, with no more than 20 children, the club will be designed to foster a sense of community among “Kidspace Kids,” and generate peer to peer autonomy.

What the After School Club IS NOT:

The words “AFTER school” are essential to the title of this club.  Intended to be a joyful deviation from the structure of the traditional classroom, the Kidspace After School Club will provide enrichment learning and playful exploration aimed at allowing children to let loose and decompress after school while simultaneously engaging in joyful educational processes.  It is important to note that this is not a homework club, nor is it a general childcare service.  Additionally, the learning outcomes of the educational curriculum will be entirely individual- They will not include any standards or grades, but rather will be designed to inspire individual curiosities and skills.  Believing that children learn best through play, FUN, not a grade, is the primary goal of this educational experience.

The Value of Learning through Fun:

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According to the 2010 Washington Post article “Why Fun is Important in Learning,” brain research suggests that fun is not just beneficial to learning but, by many reports, required for authentic learning and long-term memory.  Neurologist and educator Judy Willis’s book “Research-Based Strategies to Ignite Student Learning: Insights from a Neurologist and Classroom Teacher” (ASCD, 2006) is one of many that have highlighted the learning benefits of fun. She writes:  “The highest-level executive thinking, making of connections, and “aha” moments are more likely to occur in an atmosphere of “exuberant discovery,” where students of all ages retain that kindergarten enthusiasm of embracing each day with the joy of learning.  The human brain and body respond positively to laughter with the release of endorphin, epinephrine (adrenaline), and dopamine, and with increased breathing volume (more oxygen). When a lesson starts with humor, there is more alerting, and the subsequent information is attached to the positive emotional event as an event or flashbulb memory.”

The Importance of Autonomous Community:

Bob Ditter, a licensed clinical social worker specializing in child, adolescent, and family therapy published an article in the May/June 2014 issue of Camping Magazine that speaks to the value of club and camp-like communities by noting the research of Richard Ryan, PhD.  He writes:  “Ryan has shown that when children are supported in their quest for autonomy, encouraged in their desire for competence or mastery, and have strong, positive relationships, they not only thrive, they are more likely to be motivated from within (more on that later). At camp, for example, campers are more likely to clean up, follow the rules, and be respectful of one another and the adults around them when their counselors support their autonomy, reinforce their mastery, and cultivate close, caring, positive relationships with them.”

Meet the Team!

The After School Club will be designed and lead by the Kidspace Specialist Team, with assistance from senior Kidspace Educators.  Each Specialist position focuses on specific expertise that will infuse the club activities, which will be overseen by the Education Manager of Public Programs. 

Louise Leborgne:  Nature Specialist

Jenna Ervin:  Science Specialist

Jacquie Waldman:  Art Specialist

Samantha Mendoza:  Education Specialist

Brooke Applegate:  Education Manager, Public Programs

Details, Details, Details

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This pilot program is designed for 5 to 7 year olds, and the age requirement is firm in order to ensure the most ideal environment possible.  (Future sessions may be designed for different age groups, and may also be offered on different days.)  Each Wednesday session will run from 3:30-5:30pm, with drop-off between 3:15-3:30pm, and pick-up between 5:30-5:45pm.  Group size will not exceed 20 children.  1 to 7 staff/child ratio.  Similar to day camps or school enrichment programs, children will be dropped off and the program does not incorporate parent-child participation. Individual days are not available- All participants must commit to the full 8 weeks.  Price is $250 for non-members, and $225 for members.  Schedule and registration information can be found at the following link:  http://www.kidspacemuseum.org/events/after-school-club

Whether your child wants to be the next Neil Armstrong, loves visiting with animals, is interested in expanding their social network, or simply needs a fun and pressure-free space within which to learn joyfully, the Kidspace After School Club promises to be a rewarding experience on multiple levels.  Join us to become one of the founding members of this very special community! 

For more information, please contact Brooke Applegate at (626) 449-9144, x5201, or at bapplegate@kidspacemuseum.org

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Brooke Applegate is the Education Manager overseeing public programs at Kidspace Children’s Museum, with a long history of developing children’s programs in the arts, humanities and sciences.  Previously at the La Brea Tar Pits, she managed the school visits program. She has also taught international dance to children in her spare time and lived in Madrid, Spain to teach English as a second language.