How I Started an After School Enrichment Program

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!

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  1. I think that Heather’s photo is next to the definition for “Get Up and Go” in the dictionary.

    (And yes, I realize that that kind of comment is about 20 years old. But I like it!)

  2. I am an oakview parent of a kindergartener. I love this idea, but this is the 1st i’ve heard of it. is this something that’s only open to students in certain grades? how is it being publicized?

  3. Lauren
    I am not teaching all the programs just one theatre class…the rest are parents from Oak View who have a special talent/training and some are taught by companies/programs that we have out sourced. Like our Robotics class will be taught by a company called “Engineering for Kids”. Taekwondo is taught by a school in Bloomfield called Universal Karate etc. 🙂

  4. Hf12

    Hi….So this fall session is not open to Kindergarteners only because we felt that they are new to the school and needed to settle in etc. However, we recently opened up the Taekwondo class to them. If you are interested please let me know.Starts next week. We will have a winter session and plan to have some classes avail to the kindergarteners then!
    We advertised via the FB parents page and the entire school received emails about the program weeks back via going green committee.

  5. Hi Heather – thanks for the info. if you want to email me directly, you can do so at

    i am not actually on facebook (crazy – i know!) though perhaps this kind of thing will be my tipping point. can you give me info about the taekwando class (when it meets and the cost).

    also, i never receive any “whole school “emails, though i’d certainly like to be informed in this way. do you have any suggestions/ideas as to how i get on that list?

    thanks again for doing this!

  6. Hi Heather! I just wanted to thank you in a public forum to setting this up. I am a parent of an Oakview Kindergartener as well, and it’s parents like you and administrators and Mrs. DiTrani that make me so proud to be an Oakview Parent!

    Hf12, information about this program was provided at the Home and School meeting a couple of weeks ago. School emails can be received by sending your email to and by signing up at Your class parent should have also asked for your email address.

    I would strongly suggest getting on the FB page too. LOADS of info there, and a much more appropriate place to get your questions answered than on Baristanet.

  7. Thank you. My twins just started K, although at Watsessing, and I agree they need to settle in this year. I have no idea what is and isn’t available for us at school yet, but will keep an eye out. This is an awesome thing you have done!

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