Ring Elementary School Students Benefit From ROK After-School Program

The 3 o’clock bell doesn’t signal the end of the day for the 60 or so Ring Elementary School students who are members of Ring Outstanding Kids Club; it’s actually their signal to begin after school exploration, discovery and learning fun. The ROK Club, a partnership between Jamestown Public Schools and the YMCA, offers a variety of enriching youth-development activities that support and enhance the school-day curriculum. Homework help, and an ever-changing “menu” of English language arts, science, math, art, fitness, community service and character education choices offer students ongoing opportunities to practice skills they learn during the regular school day and to discover new interests by trying new experiences in a safe, nurturing, New York state-licensed, school-age care environment.

“It is so important to have a place for our children to go after school where parents feel comfortable that their child is safe and also in a learning environment,” said Gina Bloomquist, Ring ROK site coordinator. “It is also a great place for students to socialize in a casual setting. We have really worked hard to align our after-school curriculum to the school-day curriculum.”

“I come all the time and my favorite thing is Chautauqua Striders because they help me get my homework done so when I go home I can play,” said Ella Demorest, Ring second-grader. “I also liked jewelry-making. I think it’s good to have after school stuff so parents know their kids aren’t by themselves at home.”

Cool programming includes: “Intelligent Inventors” where students design their own inventions, “Science Explorers,” a collection of inquiry-based, hands-on activities created by The San Francisco Museum of Science Art and Human Perception, and “Storyteller Bags,” themed around English language arts, math or science, each containing a piece of exemplary children’s literature, puppets, props or manipulatives, and activity suggestions that invite kids to fully enjoy and interact more deeply with the tale.

Students who aren’t curled up with a book can take yoga, Zumba, and cooking classes, play Skillastics, an oversized board game that promotes a healthy lifestyle, and delve into visual and performing arts experiences provided by special instructors from the Reg Lenna Center for the Arts. The next session will also include a life skills course with CASAC for third graders, Zumbatronics, led by a certified YMCA instructor, and the Elementary Junior Achievement program, “Our Community,” for second-graders provided by the Sheldon Foundation.

The ROK Program holds regular family nights throughout the school year that incorporate food, fun, and intergenerational activities, allowing parents and caregivers to celebrate what their kids are learning and enjoying during out of school time, to find ways of supporting their kids healthy growth and development, and to see first-hand why Jamestown after school is the place to be after 3.