For most LIFE Center students English is their second language. A little extra help with reading and writing can make a world of difference. We started the Saturday Kids Club for just that purpose.
Saturday Kids Club enables us to assist the children who are not catching up without singling them out during the course of the regular day. The program is by invitation only, so the other After School children don’t necessarily know which kids are participating, preventing name calling and any stigma. It is a gentle way to get these children together and give them the extra help we know they need. Some of the children need help in math, others reading, and yet others in both disciplines. The smaller group size allows help to be targeted and more individual.
Much of each class is devoted to academics, but in a style different from the classroom. Grade appropriate content is reinforced and explained through activities such as flash card games, competitions, role-playing and worksheets. Each student also does independent reading for the amount of reading time prescribed for their grade level, with either an instructor, a partner at the same reading level or independently. We also use fun and games that draw the children in. These include board games and puzzles that stress critical thinking and strategy-building, manipulatives such as Lego blocks that encourage planning, team games such as Jeopardy and Family Feud, and small science experiments. The idea is to make the program a pleasant experience for the students so that it does not feel to them like a punishment to be engaged in academics on a Saturday. Play time and a snack end the day.