After School

November 18, 2017

Our schools here are run a bit differently than those my children attended.  The kids here get more music, more recess and more library.  Two thumbs way up!

These schools also have school buses and transportation is a huge department.  The buses that go out into the country don’t ‘go’, until they have all ages of kids (high school, middle school) on the bus.  This creates a unique transportation situation.  On a few buses some of our kids get on them at the end of school and drive around town for 45 minutes, only to come back to our school, whereby they meet up with some other buses.  Kids transfer buses and then go home.  Some of our elementary kids are on the bus for 1 hour and 15 minutes every afternoon.  As a Mom and an Educator, I’ve always been downright appalled at this situation.

Long story short, my heart got ahead of my mouth and I now have a longer day at school.

‘Kids Club’ is comprised of kids that were driving around town, only to return to school.  Aged 5 to 10, it has been a bit like herding cats and this week, we had a pretty clear talk about who was the Boss.  (In case you are wondering…it is me.)

So far, so good.  I run my  own program, (which is the way I like to do things).  It is a combination of what I think kids need at the end of the day, as if they were coming home.

First, they get a snack.  Second, they check in on my rooster with a happy face or sad face to tell me how their day went.

Their delight in simply playing with play dough, told me that this is the right thing for me to be doing for right now.

I had plenty of pumpkins to share for jack-o-lantern carving and for some of my kids, this was the first time, they’d ever carved a pumpkin.I brought in reinforcements to assist with the adult child ratio and to help ensure, that the only thing that was carved was pumpkins.

My Librarian toasted the pumpkin seeds for them.  The seeds were devoured and only a few seeds were found in random spots among the library.

The program is supposed to be providing additional educational support, so I fool the kids with play.  Good play is almost always good learning.  We went on a hunt.  The older kids had clip boards with words, the little ones had the Alphabet.  They all had markers and some serious magnifying glasses.  We took off around the school with squeals of “I found a…”

Math is disguised as art and I tell the kids, 

‘an artist always sign their work’.My Librarian is part of the secret sauce as the happy chaos is in the library.  She gets pulled in for technical assistance and most importantly dance party Fridays.  We are seeing a difference in many of these kids, that is the good news.  The bad news is that a bus was missed, when we made the program and there is another 30 kids riding around town.

Realizing that I cannot take them all was a hard reality for me, but I am trying to add a few more.  The kids responsibility is to be kind to each other and have a good attitude.  My responsibility is to stay one step ahead of them.

When a brusque 8-year-old girl, reached to hold my hand while walking to the buses, I know that I am making a difference at least for these, and I am blessed.


  • The Skinny Cousin

    Good for you, Ellen. Aunt Betty would be proud of you. Loving on kids like she did, in your own way. I don’t know where you get the energy!

    • Thank you so much, my sweet Skinny Cousin.
      Actually, happy kids give me energy and….
      I’m getting a cleaning lady. Win-win!
      much love to you!

  • Joed Glaser

    You ARE the blessing Ellen!!

    • Sweet, sweet words. Thank you so much my friend!

  • Diane

    Of course, you would see a need and find a wonderful way to fill it. This is sooo much better than riding around on a bus (interesting childcare option). I bet you have many more ideas brewing for fun, educational activities. I love to hear how you are a blessing to others in your adopted home town!

    • Thank you dear friend, you can imagine my surprise when I heard that this was done!

  • Miriam

    Well Ellen, you’ve done it again. Brought joy and laughter and love to children who needed it. I’d say that certainly puts you on Santa’s “nice” list!

    • Oh, Mims, that is a great list to be on.
      Thank you so much!

  • Arden Rembert Brink

    What a fabulous program! These kids are so lucky to have you in their lives — you’re making a real difference to them. Good job!

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