We didn’t have an after school enrichment program at Oak View Elementary school in Bloomfield. So I decided to start one.
My daughter, now a first grader, had gone through a Montclair preschool and many of her friends were at the public Montclair elementary schools. We wanted to stay connected to them via play dates but many were unavailable because they were taking magic, pottery, science and art at their schools in the afternoons. Then I was asked to teach two theatre classes for schools in Glen Ridge and Montclair for their enrichment programs.
That got me thinking why couldn’t this kind of thing be done here at Oak View? It was a great school with a strong community of parents.
I talked to several people at schools in neighboring towns and found out what classes were popular, how to get the kids to and from the classes after school, insurance issues, payment issues, fees, what to do when a class doesn’t have enough kids and what to do when a class has too many. I found out that ASE is a huge fundraiser for some schools and others just want to break even to provide a fun experience for the kids.
I got the okay to start on ASE at Oak View last spring from our new principle Mary DiTrani and the Home and School Association. Ms. DiTrani has been very supportive and open to trying new ideas at the school.
Over the summer, I booked seven classes to for Oak View that start in October and run for six weeks. We are offering Robotics, Mandarin, Theatre Games, Magic, Magazine Writing, Taekwondo and Beyond the Plate Cooking!
We have just finished registration and the enrollment has been really positive. I hope our After School Explorer program continues to grow, and I hope it will encourage other parents at the Bloomfield Elementary Schools to start their own.
Our program is called After School Explorers. Be sure to try out your school’s enrichment program–or go ahead create one from scratch!