Almost every afternoon, groups of Lower Schoolers stay after school — happily — to have more of a given experience than the standard length school day can accommodate. For these children, in kindergarten through fifth grade, there are the Lower School Clubs, and their popularity only seems to grow.
“Chess always has 20-plus kids, and besides being fun, it’s a wonderful way to teach so many skills,” said Head of Lower School and Chess Club Managing Grownup Caroline Badri. “Chess builds attention, focus, stamina, and problem solving, along with resilience. ‘Resilience’ as an idea combines the elements of the other skills,” and become something greater than the sum of its parts, she said.
“We’ve had after-school enrichment for years, but lately I’ve been trying to make the programs more accessible for every student. For example, with the math clubs, I was able to get free materials from the Smithsonian, which allowed the cost to be just $20 per child,” Badri said.
The number of club offerings is larger than it’s ever been, and interest and enrollment continues to grow, suggesting that the possibilities for new, future clubs are, if not endless, then just shy of it.
There are clubs for all that range from the purely academic to the purely athletic, and from artistic to the practical. They are held after school from 3-4 p.m., and accommodate interested students in the After School Program.
“With the Crazy 8 Math Club and the 24 Challenge Math Club, the goal is to make math super fun, and change kids’ attitudes toward it,” said Badri. “Another really cool thing about the math clubs is that we have three Middle School volunteers who are club alumni, so to speak, and liked it so much that they’ve come back to help teach the younger children.”
What they all have in common, she added, was that they’re “designed to instill a love of learning, facilitate teamwork, project management, and build resilience.
“It’s all about learning how you, as an individual, learn. The earlier we can develop this skill, the more fun learning becomes for everyone.”