Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Hello from Our Program Aides: Alexis and Maranda

Hello!  We are Alexis and Maranda, the program aides at the Brashear's afterschool program.  As sophomores at Duquesne University, we are studying speech language pathology, and we both want to work with young children after graduation. We have experience working with children through our churches and as members of the Duquesne chapter of Strong Women, Strong Girls.

As program aides, we assist Annie, Maggie, Amber, and Renee with the program activities at each site. In this time, it has been so great to see the work that Brashear does within the communities surrounding it. Our team puts a lot of effort and heart into working with the Brashear kids, and it has been an amazing experience to be a part of so far.

One of our favorite activities for the 4th and 5th grade kids was to build bridges in competitive teams. The teams were only able to use popsicle sticks, q-tips, straws, tin foil, and tape. We thought this activity was better for the 4th and 5th grade group because they loved competing against their friends, and it was apparent that the project made them work as a team. For the 2nd and 3rd grade group, the kids had fun building the bridges and using the supplies, but they did not fully understand the activity. However, for either group this was a great team building activity.

An activity that really kept the 2nd and 3rd grade group engaged was making sand art with the theme of Navajo Indians. Maggie told the kids a tiny bit of information about the Indians and then gave them symbols meaning things such as: friendship, peace, happiness, movement, etc. Then the kids were able to choose their favorites and use those in their art work.

One of the most important parts of the after school program is homework time. This gives the kids a chance to get extra help and a better understanding of their work. Spacing the kids out during homework time is helpful in getting the kids to do their work and keep quiet. We've noticed some kids work best alone, so pulling them aside is in their best interest. Most of the kids don't mind having homework time because they know we have activities afterwards.

- Alexis & Maranda

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