by Liza Jones Hards
Director of Auxiliary Programs
There is much more going on at The Elisabeth Morrow School than just classes. Beyond 3:00 p.m., as many of our students gather their things to head home for the day, some of our students look forward to sticking around and gearing up for exciting adventures of a different kind (some even stay during school breaks!) Whether it’s aviation class, intramurals or just heading out to the playground for the afternoon, the goal of our program is to offer students a chance to explore interests and hobbies, while learning new skills and spending time with their friends and favorite teachers.
Between Child Care and After School Adventures classes, there is plenty of action on campus until 6:00 p.m. every school day. This year we added many new classes to our after school lineup. In Digital Photography, students learned the basics and then showcased their work in a portfolio show. Parents were able to come see their child’s collection of images as well as those of their classmates. Beginning Chess gave students the chance to learn techniques and strategies of the game from a professional instructor. The Aviation class, run by the Hobby Quest Aviation Club (Ridgewood, NJ), provided students the opportunity to build their very own model airplanes. Students learned to read blueprint plans and used tools to cut, level and sand pieces of the model aircraft. After building, students tested their designs, making adjustments in balance, air flow and weight as they flew their planes.
After School classes are also about just having fun. Each week, students in our Friday Fun class participated in creative and fun-filled activities. Among other things this year, they went sledding, had a scavenger hunt, planted flowers around the campus, roasted marshmallows and sang songs around a campfire. Another fun offering this year was EMS Cooks, a class where various faculty members shared their favorite recipes and cooked up delicious treats with the students. Intramurals, led by Elisabeth Morrow Athletic Director, Andy Escala, provided fourth and fifth grade students with an introduction to the middle school sports program. Finally, the Homework Club (see sidebar on page 6) was a popular and productive offering this year.
Students also have the option to stay beyond 3:00 p.m. as part of our Child Care program, known as Busy Buddies in Chilton House and EMS Friends in Little School (The Morrow House library offers study time for middle school students). Busy Buddies and EMS Friends offer a mixed-age environment where children can play together, have snacks and even get some of their homework completed. Elisabeth Morrow models its Child Care program on the “neighborhood experience” philosophy of years ago, where older and younger children played together, creating games and activities, while learning the rules of play from watching each other. Our Child Care program is also available on certain days when the school is open but classes are not in session, including faculty study days and parent-teacher conference days.
BREAKS AND CAMPS
Elisabeth Morrow offers a number of programs beyond the academic calendar. Our Spring Break Mini Camp, now in its fifth year, is held during one of the two weeks of Spring Break. During this exciting camp, students participate in enrichment activities centered on a particular theme. In 2009, the focus was on “Going Green,” and activities included recycled art projects and learning how to reduce our energy usage. This year the theme was “Amazing Animals” and included field trips to Flat Rock Brook Nature Center and the Central Park Zoo in New York City.
June Express is offered to students in prekindergarten through grade five in the two weeks between the end of school and the beginning of Summer Explorations. Students cook, play games, do arts & crafts, and have fun with friends in a relaxed atmosphere from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Students are also welcome to attend String & Jazz Week in the mornings and/or Eagle Sports Camp in the afternoons during the first week of June Express.
In the months of June, July and August, our Summer Explorations program is in full swing. Students from Elisabeth Morrow, joined by students from other schools, come to our campus as “campers,” ready for new experiences and learning opportunities. Offered in two three-week sessions for children between age three and grade six, Summer Explorations campers make use of all the amenities of our campus.
Our youngest campers have sing-a-longs around a campfire, explore summertime themes through books and art, and participate in drama and music classes. They even harvest herbs and vegetables from our many gardens and use the fresh-picked ingredients to cook delicious dishes. Our older campers explore new interests and activities through various workshops during the sessions. Filmmaking, Chinese brush painting, cupcake decorating, scrapbooking, math games, and writing are just a few of the many choices. Afternoons are spent in arts and crafts, nature study, sports, games, and playground time. There are also opportunities to venture off campus to take tennis or ice skating lessons or to take a trip to a minor league baseball game. Every Friday, campers dive into theme days such as Pajama Day, Beach Day and the exciting Summer Explorations Camp Carnival.
WHY AUXILIARY PROGRAMS?
An increase in student interest, popularity of choices and the fundamental need for after-school care for students of working parents has resulted in the significant growth of our Auxiliary Programs over the past several years. To us, these programs mean more than entertainment and filling time until parents come to pick up their children. Our After School, Child Care and Summer Programs strive to provide the same quality of excellence Elisabeth Morrow students receive during the school day. According to a parent of a Summer Explorations camper, “the variety and level of each of the classes creates a wonderful and exciting atmosphere that each child would look forward to every day.” At Elisabeth Morrow, providing opportunities for children to learn, especially when they are having fun while doing it, is important for us and that shouldn’t have to end because the clock strikes three, or the calendar rolls into June.