It’s true, AlphaBEST serves thousands of youth with innovative after school programming throughout the country. But did you know that some AlphaBEST programs go above and beyond to also serve their communities as a whole to foster lasting change?
The educational benefits of learning a world language early in life—or at any point—are numerous. With its world language offerings, AlphaBEST’s students are introduced to world languages, including Mandarin, Spanish, and American Sign Language. The world language curriculum created exclusively for AlphaBEST’s out-of-school time programs.
Learning loss is a very real issue children encounter each summer. To combat this over the last few months, AlphaBEST offered various programing opportunities for children to stay engaged and excited to learn. Here’s a look at what some of them were up to this summer:
AlphaBEST in partnership with FableVision, launched the Going Places Summer Camp program, using best-selling author/illustrator duo Paul and Peter H. Reynolds’ book “Going Places.”
Research reveals that high-quality after school programs have a well-defined structure and adhere to careful supervision of youth. Yet while supervision is key to student safety and behavior management, well-trained and well-prepared staff can dramatically impact youth beyond their oversight role to create a flexible environment where collaboration occurs.
Back in 2002, when AlphaBEST was still a startup company, they made a presentation to Frisco ISD’s selection committee and sold the district on the idea of taking a risk with a new company. When the partnership was formed between Frisco ISD and AlphaBEST, there were three elementary campuses with AlphaBEST programming. Today, Frisco ISD boasts an impressive 42 campuses.
Research increasingly indicates that the addition of mindfulness through activities like meditation and yoga in after school programs benefits youth SEL outcomes.
Matthew Speicher, an AlphaBEST after school program site director, took notice. He offers club yoga time at the end of the day—an opportunity, he says, for children to re-center their minds and bodies.
“We’ve also introduced some time in our day for the kids to do some deep breathing exercises,” said Speicher, who shared that he struggled with anxiety as a child and still works to manage it today. “I’ve learned how to cope with my anxiety by taking deep breaths and taking some time for mediation.”
Researchers at Harvard reviewed after school programs research and concluded that quality after school programs “foster inquiry, critical thinking, and engagement in learning,” and that these programs are “uniquely poised to support in-school learning and development without replicating the school day.” (Little et al., 2008, p. 10).
Miller (2003) reviewed research on after school programs for the Nellie Mae Education Foundation and found that learning activities anchored in the 4 Cs of a 21st century curriculum—creativity, collaboration, communication, and critical thinking—in an after school enrichment program can enhance the academic, personal, and social skills of both children and adolescents.
Honoring Our Team During After School Appreciation Week
In honor of After School Professionals Appreciation Week, AlphaBEST Education would like to thank all of those who are dedicated to providing quality after school programs to students across the nation. We’ve selected several of our team members to spotlight for exemplifying the AlphaBEST core values. We appreciate you!
London was buzzing at the end of January as the 2019 BETT show once again brought together hundreds of leading companies and startups, as well as tens of thousands of members of the global education community. AlphaBEST CEO, Judy Nee, was there and soaking up all there was to see and learn in the realm of fresh and innovative educational technologies.
“We go into these shows really keeping an eye out for what’s on the edge of innovation relating to technology programs for kids,” said Nee, who noted that seeking out new products and staying abreast of what’s on the horizon is vital.
Green Mouse Academy (GMA)—a longtime AlphaBEST partner—has worked since 2010 to provide current and cutting-edge technology arts enrichment to AlphaBEST students. Through their team, AlphaBEST students participate in weekly enrichment activities that include coding, robotics, stop-motion animation and FIRST LEGO League Jr. challenges.
FIRST LEGO League Jr. is designed to introduce STEM concepts to kids ages 6 to 10 while exciting them through a brand they know and love—LEGO®. In 2016, GMA and AlphaBEST decided to take a further step to enhance the student experience by implementing a discovery form of the FIRST LEGO League Jr. program as a core Technology Arts experience.