For any program to run like a well oiled machine organization is a must! When I first started off in my position I was no where near as organized as I am now. Looking back, I do not know how I survived all those years without using my current system.
My program is designed with a two-hour morning care and three-hour afternoon care. Our daily schedules may look the similar day after day but our activities are always changing. We have outside programs coming in to do activities with our students, we offer monthly enrichment clubs and we also correspond with the school to shape our program. One thing that has been a life saver for me when planning my program is using weekly themes!
I have a theme each week and we revolve all of our crafts and most of our activities around these themes. A theme may be determined by an upcoming holiday, an event occurring in school or something silly that I found doing a Pinterest search. Where ever the inspiration may come from, having these themes really helps me when I am planning the weekly schedule.
A quick example of a recent theme we had was 5 Senses. We made mystery balloons where students had to feel what was inside the balloons and guess what the object may be. We made “touch” crafts where students had to paste objects on a piece of paper that were smooth, fluffy, rough etc. And we did blind trust walks in the gym where one student was blind folded and the other had to use their voice to direct the “blind” student through an obstacle course. The list of activities goes on and on, but was very easy to plan.
Knowing a theme to follow makes an afterschool teachers life much easier. It gives the kids something to look forward to during the week and it makes planning and prepping easy for both you and your staff members.
Here are a few websites I use to gather ideas for my weekly themes:
Amanda White is currently the Program Director for the North Branford Family Resource Center. She has been with the North Branford FRC for five years and is currently a Master Student at Sacred Heart University in the Communications.