The first word that comes to mind when I try to sum up the first week of program for this school year is, JOY! It was so special to be back on our campuses to welcome new and old faces of both students and crew leaders.
I have been encouraged and excited about the many new Afterschool Teachers that have joined our program this fall. Each of them has brought a new energy and vision to their classrooms that feels fun and safe for our students. I’ve watched them learn how to guide their students through each part of the day, and find out how to adjust and grow with their class along the way. It is so exciting to see their students actively participating and engaging with the curriculum all because of how their teacher is finding creative and fun ways to implement each activity.
We are also blessed by a wonderful group of Site Coordinators this year, who have worked tirelessly to create a campus of learning, love and spirit! It has been so fun to see them take on a leadership role to encourage and assist students and Afterschool Teachers in following the path of Jesus. They are busy building connections and relationships with their students and staff and it is clear that they truly embody the mission of Side by Side Kids.
Many students returning to the program have been the best helpers to their fellow students who are coming to Side by Side Kids for the first time! I have seen students of every grade turning to their neighbor to explain the 5 Powerful Classroom Rules, or show them how to stand in a quiet, straight line. I’ve also heard the laughter and excitement from all when it’s time to learn a new song or create a dance!
One of my favorite parts of the past week has been joining the students for Rec Time outside at Oak Hill Elementary where each day the students play different games with their teachers. I’ve enjoyed seeing the students get so excited to play sharks and minnows with the volunteers as a great way to wrap up the day.
This first week of program has been an incredibly encouraging start to the school year that is sure to be full of fun, fellowship and learning for all who join in on the adventure at Side by Side Kids!