My girl is only six years old, she already knows she wants to be an actor … or a singer … or an artist. Art, creativity and imagination are in her soul. It just is who she is and there’s no way to not acknowledge that. On the contrary, all we want to do is nurture that wild imagination and creative spirit so it grows and manifests in any way she can dream of.
But, of course, she’s 6. And she’s in first grade. We do adore the school because it’s a language magnet and all kids are in dual language immersion programs in either Spanish, French, Italian or German. While she gets plenty of exposure to different languages and cultures and all that serves to expand her horizons far and beyond, if she had regular exposure to arts and music we’d be living our perfect-case scenario as far as education goes. It’s just difficult to include a regular arts or music curriculum, other than those offered in after school programs.
We’re fortunate enough to be in a school environment where parents are über involved. Thanks to that, a foundation was created some four years ago to fund raise to provide alternative after school activities, a regular music program led by one of the moms and a school garden, among other things.
During the first week of back-to-school, and every 10 weeks after that, I eagerly open up my girl’s Thursday folder to check out the after school activities being offered through the foundation. I know I need to jump on them fast before they fill up, since both my husband and I work full-time, we must have her stay in school grounds until at least 5 pm.
So now her school days end and every single day of the week she then gets to go to a different class she has chosen. Just that one hour every day of her doing something that is providing intellectual growth, plus having her emotional and artistic needs met, are uplifting her days to make them much more exciting and enriching. She’s even in a much better mood to tackle homework with me!
Enriching school days with after school activities 1 of 7
Gardening 2 of 7
On Mondays she gets to get her hands dirty and develop a green thumb. At this rate she might know more about gardening than I do!
Art 3 of 7
She gets her hands dirty with paint, glue, dirt and glitter and we could care less! Her weekly dose of art in the garden lifts her up so much and fills our house with her creations.
Ecology 4 of 7
Most of the classes she chose happen in the school's learning garden, including the ecology club. She can't get enough of being in the garden and what a better place to learn about taking care of the environment?
Music 5 of 7
The one class I convinced her to take was French music. She was scared she wouldn't understand a thing, but surprisingly she loved it and even came back telling me she was sorry and I was right! Yes, I'll take that point in mamÃ¡s corner!
Friendships 6 of 7
Friendships extend from the classroom to the after school activities. Most of her besties are those she gets to also be creative with.
Life 7 of 7
To see this face of joy every single day I pick her up and hear all the wonderful stories she always has to share about what she created, imagined, grew and/or learned that day is just priceless.