Parents with school-aged children during the COVID-19 pandemic have experienced unique circumstances and challenges surrounding their education. That is why at STEMful, we’re proud to provide after-school programs for our community that support quality learning experiences for children and help their parents carry the weight of managing their education.
As many parents navigate ongoing virtual learning this past school year, a return to in-person education, and hybrid models that blend remote and on-site classes, we supported and continue to support their efforts. STEMful’s after-school programs support parents and our community by counteracting virtual and remote learning challenges and giving their kids memorable and fun learning opportunities.
1. Our After-School Programs Meet Community Needs
Our local community inspired our first afterschool program, Curiosity Club, in 2018. At the time, we were aware that the many nearby schools didn’t offer on-campus afterschool options suited for many children and their families. Parents in our community who had children with audiovisual sensitivities, and other behavior and learning challenges struggled to find after-school programs that could accommodate their needs. Our afterschool programs offered our niche curriculum in science, engineering, arts, and technology (STEAM) to a small group of school-aged children.
STEMful also partnered with community-based organizations (CBOs) to provide our niche STEAM programs on-site at schools. Through our School Enrichment Partnership, we continue to deliver these STEAM education opportunities to a diverse group of students. By doing so, we support families in our community with exciting educational experiences for children and safe learning environments their parents can count on after school.
2. We Encourage Student Engagement
One of the challenges the pandemic presented educators and teachers alike is student engagement during remote learning. Without classroom education, igniting a child’s interest in learning material is difficult for even the most seasoned and dedicated educators and parents. During a time when families in our community have desperately needed learning opportunities that engage and inspire children, STEMful’s after-school programs have become a fantastic resource for parents.
Our STEAM after-school program engages children and encourages their active, hands-on participation in the learning process. Our mix of project-based, structured activities and open-ended, play-based exploration gives children a multitude of opportunities to build dynamic knowledge about STEAM and have a great time doing so! Most importantly, our goal is to help children relate their STEAM learning to the real world.
3. STEMful After-School Programs Nurture Responsible Community Members
Part of our focus in our STEMful after-school programs is teaching children the importance of community and how they can make powerful contributions to their communities. Social-emotional learning (SEL) is at the core of all of our programs. We help children develop self-awareness, emotional regulation skills, and interpersonal effectiveness that prepare them to contribute to the safety and health of their communities.
One crucial aspect of SEL is teaching children the importance of decision-making that promotes collective well-being. Giving children opportunities to learn that their choices don’t just affect them but impact others promotes collective well-being. It also teaches children to be responsible members of their communities and to think beyond themselves.
4. We Provide Valuable In-Person Learning Experiences
Even the most sophisticated virtual learning environments can’t replace the discovery and growth students experience learning in person. As some children have yet to return to full, in-person learning schedules, our after-school programs provide a place to experience the benefits of hands-on learning in order to supplement their school-based education.
Through our after-school programs certainly teach children various benefits and uses of technology, we don’t rely solely on screen-based technology for learning. That means that time spent at STEMful and in our programs provides children with quality enrichment that doesn’t depend on the strength of a Wi-Fi connection or the availability of a family computer. Children get to spend more time learning, uninterrupted, while their parents know they’re getting critical educational experiences.
5. We Tailor Our After-School Programs to Children’s Needs
At STEMful, it is important to us that we create safe and supportive learning environments for every student who joins our programs. As parents strive to provide their children with the specialized educational opportunities they need, STEMful supplements their efforts with customized lesson plans.
We work with small groups of children with interactive STEAM projects, activities, and experiments designed to suit our students and their unique learning styles. Part of our approach is to connect with parents to understand their children’s learning needs. They can rest assured that issues such as bullying aren’t concerns for their children who attend our programs. Because CBOs may not have the ability to provide small-group learning environments, this makes STEMful a unique resource for parents.
6. Children Can Enjoy Safer Learning Environments
Many parents understandably had safety concerns in light of COVID-19, and keep their children away from indoor learning opportunities. To provide parents in our community with a safer environment for their children to learn and develop, we introduced the Curiosity Explorers afterschool program.
With the Curiosity Explorers afterschool program, all activities occur outdoors, rain or shine, assuring parents their children are in low-risk environments. Children learn about STEAM, socialize, and adapt to being around other children in a safer outdoor space.
Sign Your Children Up for STEMful After-School Learning
Creating safe and engaging learning environments for children in our community is a priority at STEMful. With our after-school programs, we give parents the peace of mind that their children get quality educational experiences and have fun along the way. Sign up now for our afterschool programs scheduled to start in August!