Before and After School and Early Learning Programs are not an extension of the school day: they need to stand alone as a time children get to move, be inspired, and socialize.
Here are some ways these programs can foster creativity and encourage cooperative play among all ages of children:
1. Create unique learning experiences
Have board games, robots, and coding toys that are not found in the children's regular classroom environments. This will make the program a special part of their day that provides varied learning outcomes.
2. Think long term
A big project that could take the group weeks to accomplish builds self esteem and social skills as everyone works together to complete a project.
3. Interact with the community
Talk about the community you are all a part of and discuss what you can do to make it a better place. Organize a garbage cleanup to show children how littering affects others, or have a "Kindness Day" where each child performs a small act of kindness for someone else.
4. Work on a theatrical production
Use puppets or stage a small play based on the children's favorite book or story. This project can span days (or weeks) as you create costumes, write scripts, practice, and paint sets.
5. Spend lots of time outside!
Walks to nearby parks can serve as inspiration for art projects, and playing outside with water, dirt, and sand can provide hours of fun!