School on Saturday? You bet.
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Nicole Wykes, a fifth-grader at the James A. Dever School, looks forward to Saturday arts and crafts. “Here I can do things that are going to be messy at home,” she said. “I also get to stretch my imagination.”
Evan Franco, a third-grader at the Wheeler Avenue School, enrolled in the science class because he wanted to learn more about the world. “We get to make things that we didn’t even know you could make,” he said. Evan and his brother, Julian, a second-grader, took the class together.
The class was led by Joseph Consolazio, a technology teacher in District 13 who also works with SCOPE’s after-school program. “We decided a science class would be interesting to them but normal science wasn’t going to do,” he said, adding that the mantra was “the dirtier the better.”
Every experiment, whether it was building a soda-bottle volcano, making glue or creating a rainbow in glass, has been something the children can do at home with common household items.
Parents said they welcomed the opportunity for their children to further their education on Saturdays. Emmy Saracino, a fourth-grader at Dever, was in the Spanish class. “I thought it’s a great start to learn another language early on,” her mother, Debbie, said. “They learn faster when they’re younger.”
Patty Quinn, whose daughter, Erin, also a fourth-grader at Dever, agreed. “We live in a multi-cultural world,” she said. “It’s very important to known more than one language.”
Renan Charles-Pierre’s family comes from Haiti and many of his relatives speak Creole. That’s why he took French, so he could better communicate with them. “My mom said if I took French it would be easier to speak Creole,” he said, adding that he has already learned a lot in just a few weeks.
DeMeo said in addition to learning, the children have been making friends with their peers from the district’s other elementary schools.
She said the Explorations program was truly an enrichment opportunity and she looks forward to growing it next year. “The children learned things they never would have been able to learn during the school year,” she said. “It’s everything that you want.”