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Keep them motivated and engaged after school is out for the day
By Laura Eliason
The learning and fun don’t have to end when the school day is over. Keep kids engaged, and logged out of Fortnite, at these incredible after school programs. From tots to teens, there is something for everyone.
Ann Arbor YMCA
400 W Washington St, Ann Arbor
734-996-9622 | annarborymca.org
The Ann Arbor YMCA provides after school care for children in kindergarten through eighth grade. Daily transportation by the Y is available from neighborhood Ann Arbor Public Schools (specific routes to be determined this fall). The program includes healthy snacks and help with homework, plus physical and outdoor activities with a caring staff. For an additional fee, participants may register for one of the many after school activities such as swimming, dance, gymnastics, and martial arts classes.
For more information about the school age child care program (kindergarten through 4th grade), please contact Lee Anna Pasker-Edens, Regional Child Care Director, at 734.661.8058. For more information about the teen after school program (5th through 8th grade) please contact Abbey Davis, Teen and Volunteer Director, at 734-661-8012. Financial assistance is available.
Mathnasium of Ann Arbor
2111 Packard St, Suite C, Ann Arbor
734-408-1118 | mathnasium.com/annarbor
Mathnasium of Dexter
7061 Dexter Ann Arbor Rd, Dexter
734-424-9195 | mathnasium.com/dexter
Mathnasium of Ann Arbor and Mathnasium of Dexter are dedicated to transforming the way kids understand and appreciate math. Their expert instructors help kids in grades K-12 understand math by teaching a way that makes sense using their proprietary Mathnasium Method™. Some subjects covered at their math learning centers include: algebra, geometry, trigonometry, statistics, probability, precalculus and calculus. They also offer excellent SAT and ACT prep courses tailored to each student. Specially trained math instructors teach children how to understand math in an individual setting, and will also set aside time to provide homework help. Transform your child’s homework frustration at Mathnasium. They help kids understand homework assignments so they feel better prepared to complete the work at home.
4569 Washtenaw Ave, Ann Arbor
734-477-9350 | randazzodance.com
Established in 1940, Randazzo Dance Studio is a center for dance students with professional aspirations, as well as those seeking an educational and joyful experience in dance. Their mission has always been to provide students with a positive dance experience. Randazzo offers classes for children and adults in Creative Movement, Pre Ballet, Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Lyrical, Hip Hop, Modern and Pilates as well as a Boys Program. Many of their former students continue to join the ranks of professional artists, both within the United States and abroad. Their affiliated performance companies include Randazzo Dance Company which produces an annual Holiday Ballet as well as the Sole Full of Rhythm Tap Ensemble. These companies provide students with a pre-professional dance experience beyond the classroom.
Community Education & Recreation (Rec & Ed)
1515 S 7th St, Ann Arbor
734-994-2300 | aareced.com
Rec & Ed after school classes provide opportunities for children in grades Young 5s-5th to be creative, explore academic topics, learn new skills, make new friends, stay physically active, and above all, have fun. After school classes are held in each Ann Arbor Public School (AAPS) elementary school. AAPS school staff can be found in the hallways ensuring your child arrives safely at the designated room. At the end of the class, parents come to the classroom to sign their child out and interact with the instructor. They offer a wide variety of convenient and affordable classes for children including art, dance, chess, robotics, sports and much more—there’s something for everyone!
Daycroft Montessori K-8 Campus
1095 N Zeeb Rd, Ann Arbor
734-662-3335 | daycroft.org
Emphasizing creativity and collaboration, Daycroft Montessori offers a wide-range of expressive and engaging opportunities for after school fun and learning that compliments their student-center, Montessori-inspired educational program. The school offers many musical after school programs including drumming, Ukelele and Youth Choir clubs as well as private musical lessons in voice and a variety of instruments. Their arts and sciences after school enrichment offerings include robotics, video game design, Happy Chef’s Cooking as well as Great Artist inspired art classes in a variety of techniques and materials. Looking for something active? Daycroft’s Karate, tap dance and recreational activities provide for creative physical expression and exercise. Daycroft’s after school programming is open to all students.
7240 Jackson Rd, Ann Arbor
734-222-1810 | champgymaa.com
For owner Launie Aben, gymnastics has always been about inspiring children. Aben first got involved with the sport when her oldest daughter was 4 years old. 20 years of coaching experience later, she uses her love for gymnastics to inspire and educate young athletes. Her gym offers a variety of programs for girls and boys, ages 18 months to 18 years, such as Home School & Ninja Zone, beginner, intermediate and advanced gymnastics classes, tumbling classes, and a competitive team for girls and boys. Plus, Champion Gymnastics has expanded, adding a climbing net, it a hopping spot for any young athlete.
Choosing extracurricular pursuits that enrich
By Malia Jacobson
Want to raise a kid who excels at school and beyond? Think outside the classroom. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, extracurricular activities boost kids’ community connections and are linked to better grades and school attendance. But finding the right fit for your child isn’t always easy. What’s the right age to begin after-school classes? How can families choose activities that will enrich kids’ lives without added pressure, conflict, or unrealistic expectations? And how and when should parents encourage kids to persist—or decide when it’s time for a graceful exit? Read on for age-by-age guidance on finding extracurricular pursuits that round out your child’s education without ramping up stress.
EARLY YEARS 0-5
Parents shouldn’t rush tots into classes and clubs, say parent educator Tara Egan D.Ed., founder of Charlotte Parent Coaching. Young children enrolled in high-quality preschool are likely already participating in things like art, physical education, and music, so adding to their schedule might not yield much additional benefit.
If you do want to give classes a go, Egan offers a few guidelines for caregivers: First, make sure your child can separate comfortably from you before you register him or her for child-only courses; kids who aren’t quite ready can participate in parent-child gym or swim classes in the meantime. Next, ensure that your child’s coach has experience working with very young children. And look for classes that don’t require your child to stay up late or miss naptimes or meals, because hungry, tired kids won’t benefit much from any class.
ELEMENTARY YEARS 6-12
Grade-schoolers are often ready to play a larger role in choosing their own extracurricular activities, says Karen Petty, Ph.D., professor of family studies at Texas Woman’s University. But parents still need to guide kids’ selections with an eye toward managing the family’s overall schedule and bank account. “Choice-making builds self-efficacy and allows children to have a sense of control over their time outside of school, which is a good thing,” she says. “But parents should put financial and time parameters on their choices.”
Allowing kids to select from a short list of activities—whittled down by parents based on the family’s schedule and budget—helps kids think through their choices and prevents them from jumping into a popular pastime simply because lots of friends are doing the same. Using phrases like “you can choose soccer or ballet but not both” or “It looks like gymnastics, dance, piano, and softball will fit in our family schedule, so choose two of those,” and marking time commitments on a shared family calendar (color-coding with one color per child is helpful) helps kids see their activity fits into the family’s bigger picture.
TEEN YEARS 13-18
At some point, most teens find themselves at a crossroads with a commitment they’ve made and consider quitting. When a once-enjoyed pursuit yields more stress than enjoyment, it’s time for a talk with your teen. “If a child is struggling with an activity they used to like, parents should attempt to find out why,” says Charlotte, North Carolina-based parenting coach Tara Egan. “Is there a mismatch between the coach and your child? Is there a peer conflict? Most issues can be addressed, like asking a coach to speak with your child one-on-one, or bringing a bullying behavior to the attention of the coaching staff.”
In general, parents should set an expectation that kids will finish out the sports season before quitting, because they’ve committed to teammates, says Egan. But there are some valid reasons to quit, too: If your child is exhausted and overscheduled, needs more time to focus on school, or simply wants to explore new horizons, help map an exit strategy that includes how and when to make the change—and includes thanking the coach and letting key teammates know of the decision.
Kids get hands-on learning at these fun field trip friendly destinations
By Audrey Fairbrother
Whether you’re in charge of planning field trips for your child’s class, or you head up your own homeschool group, or are just looking for a fun weekend adventure, this list has you covered this fall.
Bird Hill Nature Center
1850 Newport Rd, Ann Arbor
734-794-6230 | a2gov.org
Learning about photosynthesis? Different types of plants and trees? The Bird Hill Nature Center can give kids an in-depth look (and feel) at the wonders of Michigan’s nature! Bird Hill prides itself on being “natural” and undisturbed, and contains many species of plants native to Michigan. Have the kids collect some leaves or just enjoy a leisurely hike through the woods. Whatever you choose to do in this beautiful open space will be an enjoyable learning experience.
The Kelsey Museum of Archeology
434 S State St, Ann Arbor
734-764-9304 | lsa.umich.edu/kelsey
The Kelsey Museum has a fantastic K-12 field trip program that involves tours and hands-on activities. Check out Kelsey’s popular Egyptian, Roman and Greek artifacts including objects from Karanis and Seleucia, a colorfully painted Egyptian mummy coffin, magical amulets from the ancient Near East, Greek pottery, and Roman sculptures. There will be a special exhibit running August 24—January 6th 2019 called Urban Biographies which compares the evolution of Greece, Rome Turkey and (our local) Detroit to examine the biographies of cities and how they grow and change over time. Another perk—every dollar goes to the development of educational programming and resources for students and the community.
Alber Orchard and Cider Mill
13011 Bethel Church Rd, Manchester
734-428-9310 | alberorchard.com
There’s just something about a Michigan orchard in the Fall! Alber Orchard, (only a 30 minute drive from Ann Arbor) offers everything you need for a great fall field trip including hayrides, a 7-acre corn maze a you-pick pumpkin patch, kids play area, free straw maze and animals area, tours of their vintage cider press (first delivered and set up on the property back in 1890), fall events and entertainment, and delicious, crisp heirloom and family favorite apples. Oh, and don’t forget about the famous cider donuts, a nice treat for the kids to enjoy after your packed sack lunches!
Motown Museum – Detroit
2648 W Grand Blvd, Detroit
313-875-2264 | motownmuseum.org
Who doesn’t appreciate the sweet sound of Motown? Take a field trip back to 1959 and learn about how Barry Gordy, founder of Motown records, changed the music industry forever, and built a thriving empire in Detroit during a time of racial unrest and limited business opportunities for African Americans in the music industry. Check out their popular exhibit “Boulevard to Broadway” which explores how Gordy, the founder of Hitsville USA, through the creation of Motown, built an enterprise that revolutionized the entertainment industry. Or head to Studio A and stand in the exact spot where Eddie Holland, Smoky Robinson and The Temptations recorded their biggest hits (including, “Stop, in the Name of Love”).
Airtime Ann Arbor
800 W Eisenhower Pkwy, Ann Arbor
734-470-0040 | airtimetrampoline.com
Let the kids experience Newton’s Law of Gravity in action at Ann Arbor Airtime! This is a great place to learn about inertia, exercise and fun! Enjoy the indoor trampolines, dodgeball and other activities. Catering options are also available to meet your groups needs.
Calder Dairy Farms
9334 Finzel Rd, Carleton
734-654-2622 | calderdairy.com
Calder Dairy is a great place for kids to learn about where their favorite dairy products come from, and what life is like on a dairy farm. Watch as the cows are milked at 4pm every day. At 3pm, depending on the season, help the staff feed the baby calves. Students can also help feed the ducks, goats and sheep with Calder Dairy’s hands-on, educational approach!
303 Strong Hall, Ypsilanti
734-487-4144 | emich.edu/planetarium
Learn about stars, dark matter, the planets and the constellations at Eastern Michigan University’s Planetarium! Built in 2011, this 37-seat facility boasts a 28 foot-diameter domed ceiling that features shows on a variety of space-related topics. When planning your field trip, keep in mind the planetarium is in use Monday through Thursday, September through April for University Astronomy courses, but visits for outside groups can be scheduled for Fridays and some weekends during the regular school year. The cost is budget friendly for this one, as the Planetarium field trips only cost around $2 per person.
Troy Historic Village
4699 W Wattles Rd, Troy
248-524-3570 | troyhistoricvillage.org
Learn about southeast Michigan’s rural heritage, from the mid-1800s to the early turn-of-the-century at the Troy Historic Village. In a guided tour, kids will experience a collection of eleven 19th and early 20th-century buildings and artifacts that tell the story of what life was like for some of the earliest Michiganders. For some extra fun, challenge your group to find Cheddar the Village Mouse, the village mascot who is always hiding in one of the historic buildings.
Healthy Hearts 101 St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor
5301 McAuley Dr, Ypsilanti
734-712-5204 | stjoesannarbor.org/healthyhearts101
Healthy Hearts 101 is a unique field trip experience (geared particularly toward 5th and 6th graders) where students can learn how to live a heart-healthy lifestyle. This free field trip program teaches students about the heart’s anatomy and diseases, along with the negative effects of smoking. The 90-minute field trip also includes a lecture given by a cardiothoracic surgeon, and a set of interactive stations related to the lecture. Programs are available on preselected dates throughout the school year, and reservations are required.
Michigan History Center
702 W Kalamazoo St, Lansing
517-373-3559 | michigan.gov/michiganhistory
You and your group will definitely feel the pride of being a Michigander after a visit to the Michigan History Museum! This museum is the go-to place to learn about Michigan’s rich and interesting past, from the time of the state’s earliest settlers to the late 20th century. Show students what school was like back in 1890 with their one room schoolhouse replica, and learn about our local heritage by visiting the Lakes and Land and Farm and Factory exhibits, as well as one highlighting Michigan’s famous Upper Peninsula.
Indian Creek Zoo
2744 Consear Rd, Lambertville
419-279-0390 | indiancreekzoo.com
Indian Creek Zoo is a great way to spend a day being educated and engaged. With educational messages near the natural exhibits, students have a wonderful opportunity to learn all about the hundreds of beautiful creatures in an up-close and personal way. School field trips are catered to specific grade levels and teachers get in free! Pricing for students is $5 and $7 for parents and chaperones.