This month, APAH launched its Afterschool Learning Program (ALP) at Columbia Hills to help children overcome educational barriers and support student success. The program will run through June to provide a supportive environment for children to complete their homework with one-on-one support from volunteer tutors.
ALP allows children not only to get the educational support they need, but also to engage with their peers. The program is for children in first through third grade and is held three times per week. In the first 45 minutes of each session, children work on their homework and can ask for help from the tutors. After, they have a snack and ‘free play’. Because some might still be doing homework, ‘free play’ is focused on fun, but quiet, activities like board games and coloring.
Friday is a special “cap off” day where students can work on an exciting and educational special project that correlates to an educational theme for that month. The first was held on February 18th. The program leader and volunteer tutors helped children make colorful Slime creations, as part of the STEM theme. Slime can be made easily with household ingredients like shaving cream and glue to create a unique substance that is not only fun to mold and play with, but also educational – is it a liquid? A solid? No, neither!
Fun and engaging special activities like this are designed so children make friends while learning which should help motivate them to continue participating in the program, and of course to grow academically and socially. Residents of Columbia Hills and APAH staff recalled laughter and joy coming from the community room all afternoon long.
APAH hopes to expand ALP to other properties later this year.