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Curriculum Components

Free + Guided Play

Play, which is crucial for students’ social and intellectual development, is a central component of the Afterschool Labs experience. Each day, Afterschool Labs provides students with opportunities for both free and guided play.

Free play is time for students to participate in self-directed activities, which include playing on the playground, reading a book, or drawing a picture.

Guided play is a time for students to participate in structured activities, which include participating in team building challenges, competing in sporting events, and playing board games.

Depending on the weather, students will be outside for free and guided play as much as possible.

Fun Fridays

Each month, one Friday is designated as Fun Friday, in which students select the activities for the day. A couple of weeks before that Friday, the Lead Teacher will poll students to determine what enrichment activities, related to the month’s STEAM topics, they would like to do. These activities take place of the regular STEAM lesson and provide students with a voice in what they do during Afterschool Labs.

Learning Centers

Each day, students have the opportunity to participate in learning centers. Learning centers allow students to freely explore the possibilities of learning and play with building blocks, logic puzzles, and other educational toys and games.

During this time, students may elect to participate in other self-directed activities such as reading, completing arts projects, using computers, and playing recreational games.

Maker Day Challenges

Each week, students of all ages will participate in a structured engineering challenge that draws upon a variety of skills, including designing, building, planning, presenting, and working cooperatively in teams. Examples of possible “maker day challenges” include designing a new type of amusement park ride and constructing a building that can respond to different types of weather.

School Service Days

On select days each semester, students in Afterschool Labs will have a chance to give back to their school community in a tangible, meaningful way. Examples of school service projects include picking up trash on the school campus, orchestrating a drive for school supplies, writing “thank you” notes for school faculty and staff, or creating a mural for the school.

STEAM Lessons

For one hour every Monday and Wednesday, students will explore topics related to the science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics inherent in each curriculum theme listed below.


This hands-on unit focuses students’ attention on all aspects of art and design. Younger students will engage in activities that help them understand the basic principles of art (P-2), and older students (3-8) will use their working knowledge of principles to design and create original works of art, such as functional sculptures and designing logos. This unit is made for the young artist in every child and provides opportunities for students to express themselves creatively in an afterschool setting.


Have your students ever wondered why we have day and night? Or asked how only certain animals can survive being nocturnal? This engaging science unit answers all questions nocturnal and provides students with knowledge that they can apply to problem solving and engineering solutions. Hands-on activities, project learning, and engineering solutions help to make up this unique unit about nocturnal life.


What better time to learn about nature and plants than during the beautiful months of Spring? Students will engage in hands-on engineering, art, and science activities to learn about plants and their environments. Not only are plants essential for a healthy earth, but they are also essential for our survival. Teachers and students will work together to develop knowledge of these special organisms and learn of ways to help keep them safe.

STEAM Unit Displays

At the end of each unit, Lead Teachers will display the many activities completed during the unit. Students will have the opportunity to show off their work for their parents, their teachers, and the Afterschool Labs classes.

Study Stars

Study Stars serves as homework time for Afterschool Labs. For one hour each day, teachers monitor and encourage homework completion. However, parents/guardians are responsible for ensuring accuracy and completeness of all homework assignments. Study Stars is a time for students to work on homework independently and in a quiet learning environment. Students will receive rewards for completing homework while attending Study Stars each week and/or month. Students who do not have homework assignments are encouraged to participate in learning centers.

Young Athletes

Over the semester, students will participate in activities that will place them in individual and team positions. Positive interactions are encouraged during the activities between students. Students will work together to win the activities and games.

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