In the spirit the El Sistema program started in Venezuela, we believe that every child has right to play an instrument and be part of something beautiful and enriching. We also believe that an extended day must differ from a school day in pace and feeling whilst maintaining the same quality of education and care. Our children transition from class to a quick snack and a long outdoor recess, staff collaborate with the children in ball games, playground singing games and encourage Spanish language experience during recess.
Recess is always outdoors (we wear coats, hats and boots in rain and snow) in order to provide the children with the space and fresh air to recharge for the next part of the day. We recognize and make room for all children and know that for many an 8am – 6pm day is very long and challenging. Recess transitions into two 45 minute workshops; visual art, percussion bucket band and dance for our PreK-1 children and Keyboard, Recorder, Puerto Rican Bomba Percussion and Dance for our Grades 2-3 children. Each workshop is taught by a teaching artist and assisted by a staff member who teaches during the school day. This offers continuity for the children and support to those children who need assistance to enter into the learning in the afternoon and the teaching artists.
The final part of the day is a 30 minute session in which children are dismissed or can work with staff for reading, homework support and buddy reading. Our program participates in school wide events, Winter and Spring Concerts as well as community events; Hike the Heights, Multicultural Fair and Opera in the Schools. Families pay a daily nominal amount according to a sliding scale and can participate between 2 – 5 days a week providing they are consistent. Grades 3 &4 school year 2015-16 will select a brass or woodwind instrument and begin the after school Band Program in addition to the above.