After my first visit to Charles Cadman Elementary School, my second observation was to Phoebe Hearst Elementary, in San Diego, CA. While the program at Cadman is a preschool program, this is an afterschool program. The program here is also sponsored by the SAY San Diego agency and runs from 15 minutes after school [2:30 on normal days and 12:30 on minimum days] to 6:00 in the evening…
These children are aged from kindergarten to the fifth grade and are hence divided accordingly into three different groups, (kindergarten and first, second and third, and the fourth and fifth grades). Both the school and the program is largely white, with one of the larger Jewish populations in San Diego being represented. As reported before, the program, unlike the one at Cadman is not structured with a formalistic rigor and hence children can leave at their convenience, and not at the end of the day. In fact, over the duration of my visit, there was a constant stream of parents arriving to pick up their children. As there are three different age groups to deal with, the program tries to use distinct areas within the school for each of the groups. The school auditorium is used as the homework area for the first group [K/1], whereas the cafeteria and school library serve as the homework rooms for the second [2/3] and third [4/5] groups respectively. Besides, the auditorium also serves as the main activity and meeting room for the entire program, and access to the library’s computers are provided during library and club activity time. Other outside activities are conducted in the school’s playground. ...
Next, the groups split and are lead out for different fitness activities, which typically last for about half an hour. The emphasis here seems to be on teamwork, but I perceived that it involved a lot of standing around, especially when the children had to wait their turn at certain games. This could be eliminated by increasing the number of games or by decreasing the size of the groups. In case of a difficulty in doing either, the time allotted to the different groups could differ based on their age differences. After the fitness workouts, the children prepare for snack. Preparation entails a proper cleaning of hands. All snacks are provided by SAY, and are healthy choices that consist of a full serving from at least two of the food groups. After snack, the children prepare for homework time, which seems to be the main focus of the program. Every child in the program is guaranteed thirty minutes of homework time, with a minimum of two teachers present to help tutor each group. The schedule provides for an hour of homework time, especially for students with tough or lengthy assignments. Children who have finished their homework are allowed to have free play time on the school playground. This is done to ensure that children with difficult or longer assignments get adequate attention. The ratio for the program entails a maximum of 14 students to each supervising teacher. This ratio is not much different from the maximum of 12 in the Cadman program. Considering that the Cadman program requires more guidance and observation, the ratio is very good at Phoebe. As mentioned earlier, the children leave at different times. Hence, after the scheduled homework hour, children still attending the program will work on an art program. This ...
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