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West Madison among schools revamping for ‘expanded day’

Students divide into small groups for interactive time at the Expanded Day Learning Program at West Madison Elementary School. (CONTRIBUTED)
Students divide into small groups for interactive time at the Expanded Day Learning Program at West Madison Elementary School. (CONTRIBUTED)

MADISON – Like other Madison principals, Dr. Daphne Jah is pleased with revamped after-school care, and she decided it deserved a new name.

The “Expanded Day Learning Program” at West Madison and other elementary schools is offering more activities and educational outlets, Jah said. “Over the past years, we have noticed the number of students attending our after-school program has declined,” primarily to an influx of after-school programs across Madison.

This summer, Jah and her staff decided that offering activities similar to independent day cares would be a good idea. “We need to let the parents know that every bit of the money they give to our after-school program goes back into the education of their child,” Jah said.

That revenue can buy iPads, software, SmartBoards, computers and other educational materials.

For science, study will focus on hands-on, problem-solving activities. For STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math), “students will work in groups as well as individually to design, build and test a structure made using various objects and solve real-world problems,” Jah said. In art, students will follow a thematic project, with the theme changing monthly.

West Madison will partner with MindGear Labs in Madison on projects during and after school.

West Madison’s expanded-day staff includes four certified teachers, along with two high school students, one college student and two other employees. The physical education teacher will work with students on sports games. “Many students play on sports teams but some do not. She’ll work with the students on learning organized sports activities,” Jah said.

A theater group will visit to share dramatic skills. Karate classes will be available with a separate charge.

In September, tutoring will be available to expanded-day students at no charge to parents.

Horizon elementary is another school initiating revamped after-school care.

To register for the Expanded Day Learning Program, ask for an information packet at the school or visit the school’s website.

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