Providence Day School‘s Extended Day Program is much more than just glorified babysitting. After their school day ends, students of all ages can experience cooking classes, dance, karate, yoga and more all while still on PDS’s campus in a 2,000-square-foot former residential home dubbed the “Extended Day House.” It’s got its own playground, dedicated staff, a counselor and even an after-school nurse for bumps and bruises.
“It’s literally a home away from home,” says Lynn Mayhew, director of Extended Day and Clubhouse Programs (she’s also a PDS graduate, and parent of two PDS students). “Parents don’t have to worry that they can’t be here with their kids in the afternoon — they’re here with us. Parents love our staff. We have a lot of really wonderful people with so many talents, who are so loving with the children.”
When the school day ends, Extended Day staff meets children at their classrooms and walks them to the dining hall for a healthy snack provided by PDS’s on-campus dining service. After that, kids head over to the Extended Day House for a bit of downtime to transition from the structured school day into a more relaxed (yet still educational) afternoon.
Transitional Kindergarteners (TK) and Kindergarteners have their own rooms, curriculum and weekly schedule in the Extended Day House, where they might spend one afternoon playing a structured game and another making an art project.
Older kids in grades 1 to 5 get to choose how they’ll spend their afternoons: cooking class, learning how to sew and more.
Even though there’s lots going on at the Extended Day House, kids are able to spread out all over PDS’s expansive campus for various activities as well.
Lynn says Extended Day also offers study hall for grades 2 to 5 so kids can get their homework done early and spend quality time with their parents when they get home. Study hall takes place in the school library so kids can have access to computers, books and other learning resources, and it’s run by teachers who can help with any homework questions.
Outside of the normal class offerings, parents can also select extra “enrichments” like karate, dance, fencing, golf, cheerleading, engineering, chess and lots more. Lynn says these classes are taught by professionals whom PDS brings directly to campus, and parents appreciate the opportunity to expose kids to new activities without having to drive across town to a different dance studio or dojo. Extended Day kids can even learn an instrument like piano or guitar without having to leave campus.
One enrichment for fifth-grade girls called Guru Girls yoga is taught by Licensed Clinical Social Worker and yoga instructor Margot Brinley, who helps girls learn about keeping calm and managing stress before they hit the whirlwind middle school years. Another enrichment called Wildlife Wonders allows kids to get up close and personal with all sorts of furry (and scaly) friends.
Lynn says Extended Day also has a strong character education program, where kids learn traits like respect, responsibility, cooperation, perseverance, gratitude and integrity. Even snack time is learning time because kids are expected to use manners like saying “please” and “thank you” to their teachers and peers.
PDS’s Extended Day starts at 1 p.m. for TKers, some of whom just stay until their parents come pick up their older siblings at 3 p.m. Older kids come to the Extended Day House from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Lynn said lots of kids spend their entire afternoons, and even bank holidays like Columbus Day, with Extended Day staff.
“We have a lot of flexibility. Kids can come and go as parents need us,” Lynn says.
PDS’s Extended Day staff also takes kids on field trips, like to Charlotte Hornets games, and even throws events like the popular Father-Daughter Dance. Another event that sets PDS’s program apart from others is “Kids Night Out” — it’s actually a night “out” for parents, who can get some alone time while their kids hang out with Extended Day staff and enjoy fun themes like “Pajama Party.”
“It’s a wonderful experience,” Lynn says. “This truly is their house when they can’t be at home.”