For some Pilgrim students, their time at school begins before attendance is taken in the morning and lasts past the time they close their lockers in the afternoon.
When families enroll their children in extended care at Pilgrim, they should know that this “extra” time spent at school is structured around the same values that define every other aspect of a Pilgrim education. Whether it’s “Early Birds” in the morning or PAS (Pilgrim After School), students feel safe to learn, play, and grow.
Here are some tips for helping your child make the most of their time at extended care:
For Early Birds:
Start with the most important meal of the day. Children should eat breakfast before attending Early Birds, but if busy schedules prevent this, parents should ask the Director to provide a nice, cozy spot for your child to eat a prepared breakfast from home.
Let your child know what to expect during transitions. At the conclusion of Early Birds, students in grades 1 through 8 walk to class when our regular school day starts. We walk PreK or Kindergarten students in Early Birds to their classroom at the appropriate time.
Promote positivity. All of us hope to have a positive morning, and the Early Bird philosophy is that “EVERYONE should enjoy starting their day feeling loved, welcomed, and encouraged.” How we start our day often ends up setting the tone for the entire day. Our Early Bird staff work hard to provide a loving, nurturing, and safe place to stay before school begins.
For PAS (Pilgrim After School):
Talk to your child about his or her activities. Each day, your child can choose from a diverse group of books, manipulatives, STEM building construction sets, play-doh, kinetic sand, arts & crafts, plus so much more. We also provide the option of open play time where children can play soccer, basketball, tag, and other gross motor activities. Weather permitting, we go outside everyday so that the children can enjoy running, climbing, exercising, and playing with friends. If a student has homework or projects, they are able to work on that as well. We have electronic and computer activities two days a week where children may play E rated, school appropriate games on their own tablets or devices. They may also play strategic, problem-solving age-appropriate computer games that PAS provides. Children especially love playing old favorite computer games such as Pajama Sam, Freddie the Fish, Putt-Putt Saves the Zoo plus many more!
Encourage them to stop for a snack. During PAS, we offer a healthy fruit snack option every day, but children are free to bring their own, peanut/nut free snack options from home as well. Snack breaks are important to keep up energy during a long day.
Take advantage of special classes and clubs. We also offer opportunities for children to sign up for other activities such as Chess, Yoga, Soccer, Cooking, and Art Club as well as other activities throughout the school year. If a group of PAS students want to try something different, parents should alert our PAS Director. Over the years, we have offered instruction in French, German, guitar, robotics, and dance, based on student interest and desire to learn.
Realize it’s ok to just unwind. Children often just need time to decompress after a full day at school. PAS offers each child a safe place to relax, work on homework, play with friends, and have the option of engaging in a wide variety of age-appropriate activities.
More about Mrs. Arlene Calderone, Pilgrim’s Extended Care Program Director
Mrs. Calderone started working at Pilgrim when her children attended school at Pilgrim many years ago. Pilgrim was their top choice in schools and a long waiting list did not deter the Calderone family. With much prayer and patience, Mrs. Calderone’s son was accepted and their family’s Pilgrim journey began!
At first, Mrs. Calderone volunteered in different areas at school and then the school asked her to assist with Pilgrim’s Extended Care Program. The Extended Learning Programs really ignited Mrs. Calderone’s love of working with children. After working as the assistant for five years, Mrs. Calderone stepped into the role of the Director of Pilgrim’s Extended Care Program. She has run the program for ten years, and is honored to be such an important part of so many children’s lives. Mrs. Calderone lives out her philosophy for Extended Care: every child is important, every child is welcome, and every child is loved.