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we believe learning can be fun

We believe learning can be fun. We believe it can be something kids look forward to, and that they should have a place to explore ideas and share their discoveries with each other. It's in that spirit that this curriculum was created.

The activities on this site cover a wide range of subjects including science, literacy, culture, art, health, math, and engineering in ways that support what's learned during the school day. Most importantly, by promoting critical "21st century" skills like problem solving, communication, and working collaboratively with peers, we believe the activities, teaching techniques and resources of this curriculum can help prepare kids for life.

KIDS Afterschool is being used in every state in the United States and in over 100 countries (and counting!) around the world, by tens of thousands of educators reaching hundreds of thousands of children. Such a broad community gives us all an opportunity to communicate, share and learn from each other. So click the "Sign-Up" link at the top of the screen, join the community and start sharing by posting comments, questions and ideas. And most importantly - have fun!

Learn more about the program
Welcome Back!

It is September, and in many parts of the world that means school is starting again after what was hopefully a wonderful summer.  A new schoolyear means new beginnings, new students and new learning.  Beyond the Chalkboard is a fantastic resource, especially at the beginning of the year.  Most of the activities on this... (read more)

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how to use the curriculum

KIDS Afterschool activities are based on the philosophy that teaching children to talk together about learning experiences is as important as actually engaging in them. When kids talk about what they've done, they make sense of the experience in a way that's very different from simply doing it, which is why our activities follow a basic format:

Opening Discussion
Step 1
In order for children to understand why an experience matters to them, it is helpful to first present it in a real-world context. This is simply a 2–5 minute introduction to the topic to be covered. For instance, if you are trying the activity Raceways & Rollercoasters – Super Coasters, ask kids if they’ve ever been on a roller... (read more)
Doing the Activity
Step 2
After you have set the context, present the challenge and materials and send the children off to engage in the activity for 10–20 minutes, usually in teams of 2–4 children. As the teacher, you should move from team to team, monitoring progress and asking them questions about what they are trying. See the Teaching Tips page for ideas on... (read more)
Let’s Talk About It
Step 3
This is the key component to the KIDS Afterschool activities. It is at this moment, when many teams are just starting to have success but are not at the point of completion, that you should break to have children share their experiences so far. It’s typically this part of the process that sees ideas flowing most freely, when there are many... (read more)
Build on What They Talked About
Step 4
After sharing their process with their peers and gathering some new ideas for their own project, send children back to complete the challenge. Once the activity is near an end, if there is time and if it seems appropriate, you can gather all of the students together again to share their creations and observations with each other. This culminating... (read more)
Learn more about the curriculum

Testimonials

“We run an afterschool program for K-6 grade students in Tunbridge, Vermont. We started using Kids Aftershool this fall, and it has become an integral part of our weekly curriculum. Our teachers love KIDS because it is easy to use, it requires very simple, inexpensive materials, and it helps our students build academic skills. Our students love it because the activities are hands-on and fun. KIDS activities encourage our students to be collaborative, creative, innovative, and communicative. We love it and intend to use it for the rest of the school year!”
-Carrie McDonnell, Program Director, One Planet, Tunbridge, Vermont
“It's really a challenge for many programs to keep curriculum planning fresh. Quite often they do isolated activities they might find in a book or on a web site, but that don't really connect or engage youth. What I find very helpful with your curriculum are the 4 steps that really could help even a novice staff lead a very successful and meaningful learning experience. I love the connections and use of questions to help with "sense-making" that engage youth in thinking about what they are doing and learning - it's all about the process!”
-Sheryl Godsy, Professional Development Specialist, Coach and Afterschool Regional Educator (ARE), Francis Institute for Child and Youth Development, Kansas City, Missouri
“ This website has completely changed the way I design and deliver my after-school program curriculum. I run three after-school programs for middle-school age young people in the city of Springfield, Massachusetts. We focus mainly on Science, Engineering and Technology (SET). Before using Beyond the Chalkboard I was so concentrated on the “why” things happen rather than “what” is happening. I now ask “what” questions and focus my attention much more on the observational component of Science. I have found that my students remain much more engaged and have shown an increased desire to verbally explain “what” they are seeing. I will continue to use this website and look forward to sharing it with as many educators as I can. It has become my top resource for curriculum!”
- Lauren DuBois, SET Adventures, Springfield, Massachusetts

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