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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.


In Form + Function, students discover a world of recyclable art. Students will use recyclable materials to build sculptures, inventions, and instruments. Hands-on group projects and independent challenges are an integral part of this unit's STEAM experience.


This pilot unit is one the ALabs team is very excited about for this school year, as it incorporates Reading into our STEAM curriculum! This unit is all about engaging early engineers as they read + learn about different engineering characters in literacy. The unit is centered around three fantastic books that students at all ages will appreciate, + the engineering challenges are pretty fun, too!


During this hands-on, engaging unit, students will participate in activities + lessons designed to broaden their knowledge of careers. Why do people work? What types of fun things can people do with their lives? As they participate in art, engineering, + science activities, students will have a chance to answer these questions for themselves, + hopefully find out about a new career that they might find interesting!

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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