Drea Owen has been hired by the district as the program manager of community connections and healthy living.

Keeping kids busy after school

After-school programs now coming to the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows school district.

With guitar lessons, robotics and more, the after-school hours will be a lot more more active at four Maple Ridge elementary schools this year.

After-school programs are popular at most schools in the Lower Mainland, and are now coming to the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows school district.

They will be offered by community groups, many of them local, at a low cost. The activities will start at 2:30 p.m., and run until 3:30 or 4 p.m.

Drea Owen has been hired by the district as the program manager of community connections and healthy living.

Her position is funded in part by a grant from the United Way.

She said the hours of 3-6 p.m., when kids are finished school but before dinner, is a “vulnerable time,” when children have their largest block of discretionary time. How they spend those hours can affect their development. Their choices – whether it be play, sports, television or computer time – make a difference.

“We’re trying to keep kids connected to the school,” she said. “They’re safe and they’re engaged.”

The new after-school programs:

• Guitar for grades 5-7, which will be offered by Bergthorson Academy of Music;

• Glee Academy for grades 4-7 to learn and perform singing and dancing;

• coding, design and robotics for grades 3-7 – guided instruction and play with FusionEd of Burnaby, using robotics kids, tablets and coding software;

• yoga for grades 3-7, by Free Spirit Yoga, is a program tailored for kids to improve concentration, reduce stress and improve flexibility and posture;

• Bricks4Kids for grades 1-4 is a special Lego program that also teaches about real-life space exploration and the NASA space program;

•  Professional Live Arts for Youth (PLAY) for grades 3-7 brings Shrek to life on stage;

• Mad Science for grades 1-3 is hands-on individual and group experiments and exciting demonstrations designed to be fun;

• TennisBC for grades 3-5 is an introduction to a new sport.

“Our programs go hand-in-hand with the new curriculum, with students being more hands-on and critical thinking,” said Owen.

For this first year, the programs will be run at four elementary schools in the east side of the district: Harry Hooge, Blue Mountain, Webster’s Corners and Whonnock.

Each school will offer four or five of the new programs this year, and pamphlets will be available at each school for parents to see dates, times and costs.

Owen explained that that the new programs will be perfected, and then expanded to eventually include all 21 elementary schools in the district.

“Building programs like this does take time. We like to move slow and steady – we want to make sure it’s sustainable.”

These programs will all run at different times at different schools, with fees ranging from $35 for yoga to $90 for FusionEd. Most of the programs operate on a cost-recovery basis.

Owen said the programs include materials, so parents will not have to supply their own guitars, and the costs generally range from $5 to $10 per hour.

The school district will ensure that the programs are available to all children through a subsidy program.

The programs will be promoted to children considered at-risk – those who are disinterested in school, alone after school, or socially disconnected, explained Owen.

The programs are available through a grant from the United Way, and the support of an organization known Human Early Learning Partnership HELP. It calls itself a “collaborative, interdisciplinary research network based at UBC.”

It researches how early environments and experiences affect children’s development.

Owen has lived in Maple Ridge for 12 years, but has worked providing after-school programs in New Westminster for the past 15 years.

“I’m thrilled to be here,” she said.

 

Just Posted

Letter: Try to live a low-carbon lifestyle

Rich and famous not trying hard enough

Spawning chum returning to Kanaka Creek

Run will peak at Halloween

Bear goes out on a limb for Thanksgiving feast

Maple Ridge Bears group rallies to save animal

Flames drop two games on weekend

Ridge Meadows hosts Pilots on Friday

Pitt Meadows police review nearing recommendations

Report to council expected as soon as November

ELECTION 2019: Have Justin Trudeau’s Liberals really cut middle-class taxes?

Conservative Andrew Scheer vows to cut bottom bracket, NDP’s Jagmeet Singh targets wealth tax

VIDEO: Pedestrian killed in fatal hit-and-run on Highway 11 in Abbotsford

Victim struck just after 6:30 a.m., southbound road closed as police conduct their investigation

‘Sky didn’t fall:’ Police, lawyers still adjusting after pot legalization

Statistics Canada says 541 people were charged under the federal Cannabis Act between Oct. 17, 2018 and the end of the year

Fewer people prescribed opioids in B.C., but other provinces lack data: doctors

Patients who began taking opioids were prescribed smaller doses for shorter duration

Electric cello, stolen from vehicle in Williams Lake, returned to U.S. owner

Rita Rice of Texas said she and her husband had given up hope of ever seeing it again

Drop, cover and hold on: Thousands of British Columbians to take part in earthquake drill

This year’s drill comes as scientists announce discovery of ‘stormquakes,’ an earthquake and hurricane

Man who orchestrated Mission murders gets day parole after serving less than three years

Victims’ parents express grief, outrage over parole board decision

Woman, 24, faces life-altering injuries after being dragged 4 blocks by vehicle in Vancouver

A gofundme account says the woman will have to undergo multiple complex surgeries

Most Read