Jimmy Brown Elementary has embarked on a new after school learning program called Save the Children. Save the Children is an after school program available to students that provides activities to our students that focus on the whole child. Through Save the Children’s grant funded early start and school-age programs, Star City School District will help children get ready for kindergarten and achieve the critical third grade reading milestone, a major indicator of future success. “We are very excited to see the kids enrolled and learning while focusing on the whole child. Save the Children has provided our community a $90,000 a year grant to fund the program and we can’t wait to see the positive impact it has on our students and community in the future,” stated Superintendent, Jon Laffoon.
Each day usually begins with a healthy snack that includes a fresh fruit or vegetable, whole grains and bottled water. The children then rotate through three activities, each lasting about 30 minutes. Each child selects and independently reads an interesting book from within his or her reading range of difficulty so that the reading experience can be a successful one. After the reading is completed, the children take an Accelerated Reader quiz on the computer to test how well they comprehended or understood what they read. We aim to get perfect scores; however, if a child misses a question or two, that’s okay…we are there to support! We are learning to love reading books!
Healthy Choices consists of 30 minutes of structured, moderate-to-vigorous physical activity that engages children in fun games that keep them active. We often see many smiling faces after the kids leave the gym. One day each week, children also participate in nutrition lessons and activities that teach them the importance of making healthy food choices.
In the Read Aloud rotation, 15 minutes is devoted to the children relaxing while listening to an adult read to them. After the read-aloud, the children are engaged in a thoughtful discussion about the book. Not only are we increasing vocabulary, we really give our brains a workout with our after-reading thinking. For the final 15 minutes of this rotation, the children have an opportunity to improve their reading fluency. That means they learn to chunk words together in phrases instead of slowly reading word by word.
So, if you hear your child talking about his or her success reading interesting books, practicing reading silly songs and poems into microphones, playing games in the gym…well, it’s the truth! But what they don’t realize is that they are learning. Our focus is to make after-school learning fun. We are always very upbeat and positive, giving the children high-fives and cheering them on!