After a long day of school, the last thing some students want to do is follow along with another lesson. But when it comes to after school Recreation, instructors at Williamsbridge have found an engaging and exploratory way to keep kids learning without it feeling repetitive.
Every month, the group follows a specific theme filled with interactive activities to complement their lessons.
Bobby Valentin, Education Specialist at Williamsbridge, shared the motivation behind picking this month’s theme of farming.
“One of the things we like to do with our monthly topic is expose the kids to things they wouldn’t normally be exposed to,” Valentin said. “We decided on farms because we know there are endless hands-on activities that could supplement learning about farm animals, structures, and life on a farm.”
Throughout the month, students have been participating in different farming-themed activities ranging from arts and crafts to classroom cooking. One day, students made animals masks. On another, they made homemade butter.
Valentin explained that activities like making butter foster a pressure-free environment for the kids to learn outside of the traditional common core curriculum.
“They can take home the knowledge that shaking heavy cream in a container will cause the fat molecules to clump together, forming the butter.”
Although it may seem like a simple activity, it teaches students important science skills.
Building a garden fence and constructing an ant farm are some examples of other activities featured on this month’s calendar.
“With an ant farm, they can see the construction of an actual ant colony and the ways [the ants] are able to sustain themselves.”
Valentin sees monthly themes as a success in terms of students’ attentiveness as well as the breadth of their learning.
“Monthly topics are preferred because it keeps the kids’ minds set on one idea,” Valentin said. “It also allows us to explore different aspects about the topic and do a wide range of activities before we jump into something new.”
In the past, the Recreation program at Williamsbridge chose oceans as a monthly theme. Students learned about sea creatures, buoyancy, ocean pollution, bodies of water, and more.
They look forward to continuing this approach to educational enrichment in the future.