At Children’s Choice we value experiences. Experiences are the sparks that make life-long memories, passions, and create excitement for learning. As an after school provider, we provide a safe place for students to go once the bell rings. We’re lucky, because after school is one of the best times to create amazing experiences for students of all ages, interests, and ability levels. At the very least, student’s get to broaden their horizons by experiencing something fun. At best, students make life-long friends, find a passion they never knew they had, and learn a skill that will serve them the rest of their life.
That’s why we work hard to provide some remarkable after school classes at no-cost to students. Cost should never be a barrier to unforgettable childhood experiences.
Our goal is to raise $4,500 which will provide 160 students an entire year’s worth of after school classes in communities where families don’t have access to care once school gets out.
Check out what goes on at Children’s Choice and the great things our students are doing:
- Lion Dance
You know those giant dragon costumes you see in every Chinese New Year’s celebration pictures? Aren’t those things cool!? Beautiful costume/puppets, performers dancing around the streets doing cool tricks to impress the audience, and everyone going cheering and going crazy because a dragon is dancing right in front of them!
I mean, come on! A giant dragon that’s also an amazing dancer!? If you don’t think that’s cool you may not have a pulse. What would you give to be a performer in one of those amazing get-ups? Wouldn’t it feel pretty cool to be a dancing dragon?
Well, that’s exactly what students in the Lion Dance after school class get to do. We partner with the New Mexico Asian Family Center and Manzano Mesa Elementary to bring in trained performers to teach students this ancient art form. Students learn all about the culture and a little bit of the language. They also get to wear the costume and perform in front of their families and friends.
Remember back to when you were in elementary school. What would you have given to be a dragon, who does amazing physical feats, in front of your entire school? Is that a moment you would have ever forget? Probably not. Neither will the lucky students who get to have that experience.
- Flash Mob
You’ve seen them. Heck, maybe you’ve been part of one! Seemingly spontaneous dances erupt when they are least expected to the delight of everyone that sees it! Imagine the creativity and confidence it takes to do that. You choreograph your own dance, you pick a random spot to do it, and you hope that the people who happen to be there enjoy what you do.
Now imagine doing that as a 3rd grader. That’s just what students in our many Flash Mob classes learn how to do. Classes have performed at school lunches and recess, open spaces, large public events, and district-wide principal meetings. Every time they catch their spectators by surprise and every time they end to roaring applause.
After performing in front of hundreds at one event, a child said “I’m so excited! I feel like I could do anything!” When children are more confident- they are less likely to become defensive (leading to less arguments and behavior issues) and more likely to participate in class (leading to better grades). When more kids get good grades and have less behavior issues, it pays off big time for everyone- students, teachers, parents, society in general.
But, I know what you’re thinking: “Sure those classes are cool, but come on, how hard is it to get kids excited about dancing and jumping around? What about the stuff like math or science? ”
- Zoo Science
Biology. There’s a subject that can very easily be one of two things: boring or…gross. Either you learn all about animals and how their bodies work from a book or you learn it…hands on.
Luckily, hands-on doesn’t always mean dissection and bodily functions. This class takes students behind the scenes at the Albuquerque Zoo. Every month they take a field trip where they work with zookeepers who teach them all about one of the animals.
Then they get to see the animals in action from the zookeeper’s perspective. They even get to touch, feed, and interact with the animals.
Think back to seven- how much did you want to play with some of the animals at the zoo? Sure, you were seven and may have wanted to jump in with the tiger so you could ride it. Because, come on, how cool would you be if you were the kid who rode a tiger? But no- you’re teacher said “no, for the 5th time, you can’t jump in with the tiger, it will surely eat you.” And then you were sad because you thought for sure this great feat would have propelled you to such great heights of coolness.
The point is- playing with zoo animals would have been pretty cool.*
When you get to see and feel your science lesson, it helps you grasp how cool it really is. We’ve had students who, in the beginning, were saying “I hate science and I’m terrible at it” and by the end were saying “I’m going to college and learning biology.” Now, we’re not saying this class is churning out a ton of biologists. They’re 7, 8, and 9 years old, they’re likely to change their mind before college. But this class does make a lasting impression that science is cool. And that is a pretty neat impression for a child to have.
*Just to clarify- no, we do not let our students ride around on tigers.
Play ZomBees on your iOS or Android device on March 27th and 28th and all revenue raised from the game will be donated directly to Children's Choice.