Child First expands opportunities for children and their families through its after school programming and community school model. After school programming remains the core component of Child First’s work. The typical program is four days per week, three hours per day. Each program provides an hour of academic instruction, an hour of cultural enrichment, active recreation, four field trips, snack and supper. Every program has practicing artists teaching skills in instrumental music, drama, painting, photography, videography, ceramics, and more. Other skill-based activities include chess, book clubs, and community mapping. Students also have access to sports and recreational enrichment including karate, flag-football, basketball, and track and field. Parents cite the improvement in their children who have access to these activities that provide discipline and engage students in different ways, increasing their attachment to school.
Amanda Richardson knows first-hand the benefit of Child First’s academic hour and how it provided increased opportunities for her son, Daishawn. When Daishawn started attending the Child First afterschool program at Calvin Rodwell Elementary School four years ago he was very quiet, kept to himself, and struggled academically. Ms. Richardson worked with the school to develop an individualized education plan for her son and enrolled him in the after school program for extra support and enrichment. Child First’s Afterschool Academic Coordinator tailored programming to accommodate Daishawn’s needs and engaged him in all aspects of the program. He has blossomed academically and socially. He has the confidence to give oral book reports whereas he used to not read aloud in public. He was never a fan of math, but now he is engaged and enthusiastic about playing math games with his teachers and friends. Daishawn is now 12 years-old, successfully graduated from elementary school, and entering middle school in the fall prepared to engage in learning.