KIDS EXPRESS LEARNING CENTER'S
AFTER SCHOOL ENVIRONMENTAL PROGRAM
Kids Express Learning Center offers an innovative After School program for children enrolled in any of our 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. programs. The After School Environmental Club (ASEC), directed by Georgine Jacobs, runs Monday - Friday from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. (Before School care is available as well, 7:30-8:00 a.m.). Children in ASEC enjoy unique opportunities to explore and learn about nature through daily hands-on nature lessons and activities, including opportunities to feed, water, and care for the farm animals that make Kids Express their home. AESC members have a wonderful opportunity to plan, prepare, plant, tend, and harvest an on-site organic garden. Our After School program is associated with the Jane Goodall Institute's Roots & Shoots environmental education club for children.
CREATIVE CONNECTIONS ART COTTAGE
During "Summer on the Farm," Creative Connections Art Cottage comes alive with creative energy and excitement as KELC's budding young artists experiment with techniques used by "Master Artists." Children learn how to identify techniques used in artworks, and how to recognize the works of renowned artists.
Small class sizes allow art staff to introduce and explore with the children a great variety of materials and techniques. The children are surrounded by creative works as they try their hands at collage, painting, sculpting, and drawing things previously visible only to the mind's eye.
Children ages 2.5 through kindergarten visit The Hayloft each week of the academic year to participate in Spanish taught by a skilled Spanish teacher. Stories are read, conversational sentences and words are introduced and songs are sung in Spanish throughout the lessons.
Each week, children learn new Spanish words for concepts related to lesson plans created by their teacher. As lessons are planned, the Spanish teacher considers new terms or concept words that will be presented in lessons. Then, lessons are designed to introduce these words and guide the children as they practice using the words in conversational sentences followed up by meaningful hands-on reinforcement activities. One special center in the Spanish classroom is the library where children are encouraged to select children’s books, written in Spanish, to share with one another and their homeroom teachers. This is a positive reinforcement to the week’s lessons taught in our Spanish program.
Brimming with fruits, vegetables, and flowers planted by tiny, nimble fingers, KELC's gardens are a joy to visit every summer. Sensory-rich learning flourishes as the children help care for the gardens and watch the smallest seeds sprout, leaf out, and turn into edible treats or colorful flowers.
During "Summer on the Farm," children engage in lessons that focus on four themes: Earth, Wind, Fire/Sun, and Water. Guided by their enrichment teacher, the children will work all summer to design, plant, care for, harvest, and, finally, taste the fruits of their labor. Cooking activities, art projects, and building experiments are interwoven with gardening activities to create the richest learning experiences for children.
Literature is at the heart of most programs offered at Kids Express Learning Center and the gardening program is no exception. Whether the topic is 'Butterflies and Bees,' 'Bean Salad Creation,' 'Herb Drying and Packaging,' or 'Building a Mini Greenhouse,' enrichment teacher, Miss Georgine, will either find a book to expand upon her topic or will write one. While hands-on experience is a priority in gardening activities, KELC's literature program enhances most topics for children of all ages.
SCIENCE AND NATURE STUDIES
Kids Express Learning Center's Science and Nature Studies program partners with Jane Goodall's global youth network, Partnerships in Understanding and Goodall's "Roots and Shoots" environmental youth club. KELC shares Dr. Goodall's mission to teach children that 'every individual matters, has a role to play, and makes difference. 'KELC's Science and Nature Studies program promotes the specific Roots & Shoots goal of caring and concern for all living things.
Science and Nature Studies teacher, Mr. Rich, demonstrates his passion for nature in every developmentally appropriate nature-based lesson he leads. Children learn through the stories he selects for lessons in Farmer Will's Nature Nook bus, the hands-on activities he plans for in the Nature Center, and through daily interactions with KELC's farm animals. Alongside Mr. Rich and the KELC animals, children learn about animal characteristics, habits, sensitivities, feeding and care. In addition to teaching the children about KELC's domesticated animals, Mr. Rich uses KELC's forest and pond as outdoor 'classrooms' for learning about woodland animals, pond life, birds, and more. Even physics and chemistry lessons find their way into Farmer Will's school bus as Mr. Rich uses all his passions to inspire young, questioning minds.
Physical Education (PE) activities are planned weekly by a special teacher and carried out by each classroom teaching team. Based on the Wisconsin Model Early Learning Standards, the goal based lesson plans focus on each age and ability served by Kids Express Learning Center’s classrooms. Exploration and movement activities help children develop an awareness of their bodies along with coordination skills.
Weather permitting, PE lessons are held outdoors in the gardens, lawns and sports court on our campus. If the activities are best served by an indoor environment, two gyms are available for PE lessons.
At "Summer on the Farm", homeroom teachers plan fun, interactive activities promoting literacy, math, writing and learning. These activities help children retain what they have learned throughout the school year. In addition, our School-Agers participate in a variety of special classes taught by top instructors in the Madison area. These classes are what makes "Summer on the Farm" a truly unique experience for our School-Age campers. In the morning, campers select either "Rock & Roll for Kids", Zumba, Gymnastics, Golf, Yoga, Engineering or Culinary Classes.