EARTH EXPLORERS AfterSchool Program
Fall Quarter 2021
September 13 to December 17, 2021
KEEN’s Earth Explorers envisions a generation of bold explorers with meaningful connections to self, community, and the natural world.
With the increase in electronic influences on our children’s lives, KEEN’s Earth Explorers believes in letting kids be kids, outdoors.
Earth Explorers is an AfterSchool program for the 2021-2022 school year. This program is available for 5 days per week including early release Wednesdays. Earth Explorers runs M, T, Thur, and Fri starting September 13th from 3:30-6:00pm and on early release Wednesdays from 1:00-6:00pm. Kiddos will be bussed directly from schools to our location in the natural area behind Mt. Stuart school. This program is open to all K-5th grade students.
KEEN’s Earth Explorers envisions a generation of bold explorers with meaningful connections to self, community, and the natural world. With the increasingly electronic influences on our children’s lives, KEEN’s Earth Explorers believes in letting kids be kids, outdoors.
Location and Facilities
KEEN’s Earth Explorers afterschool programs are located at the Mt. Stuart Elementary School natural area. We are a 100% outdoor program with primitive facilities. Program attendees should be prepared for all types of weather.
How it Works
Fall Quarter Dates: September 13 through December 17, 2021. Program will continue for Winter and Spring quarters.
M-F Program including early release Wednesdays - $540/month
Wednesdays Early Release Only - $299/month (5 hrs/Wed)
Drop In Rate - 4 Days/Month (Wed not included) - $75
Drop In Rate - 10 Days/Month (Wed not included) - $187.50
Drop In Rate - 16 Days/Month (Wed not included) - $296
You can pay in full upon registration, or request monthly invoices divided into equal payments.
Safety Plan and COVID19 Policies – Upon registration, a complete parent packet containing all relevant information and policies will be distributed to families prior to the beginning of each quarter.
a. Health Screenings – Parents should monitor their children’s health for possible symptoms relating to COVID19. We will ask that parents check their children’s temperatures before attending every day. Parents will be asked to keep children at home if symptoms arise.
b. Drop-off & Pick-up Procedures – Social distanced drop-off and pick-up will be enforced every day. We will ask that all people remain in their vehicle until checked in or out and given the okay from staff.
c. Cleaning and Disinfecting Procedures – Our facilities will be cleaned and disinfected prior to the start of every day. Facilities will also be cleaned during transition from AM sessions to PM sessions.
d. Facial Mask Policy – All attendees and staff will be required to wear a facial covering as recommended by the CDC.
Earth Explorers- After School 2021-2022
Curriculum for after school programming is nature based with daily STEM activities. Stations involve three activities that students rotate through, with each station running approximately 15- 20 minutes a piece. Special attention is given to include one theme based art station with at least one (usually two) STEM based activities. Stations generally center around a theme of the week with all activities related to that theme.
For example, fall activities could include an apple or pumpkin week. Stations that week would involve an art project either using apples or pumpkins as the art medium, or as the focus. STEM activities could include science experiments on the fruit (measuring, weighing etc), or graphing the grow cycle of the pumpkin or apples. Past activities have also included a taste test pairing with apples and exploding a pumpkin with rubber bands. The process and data are graphed and outlined on white boards.
Special emphasis is given to place based curriculum. For example, in Washington we are a huge producer of apples. We would take a week to explore that process and theme in depth. Why does Washington grow apples? Is it weather related? Soil related? What kind of apples do we grow? How does agriculture impact our environment? What positives and/or negatives are part of this process? Creative thinking and questioning is encouraged with each activity.
Place based learning is at the heart of our programming. A normal day would include at least one nature walk or observation period. Each student keeps an observation journal. Observations can be made with paints, pencils or a written narrative. Nature journals are especially meaningful if kept for a continued period of time. The changing of the seasons and the area programming is centered in becomes increasingly obvious. Subtle differences in surroundings are pointed out during these observation periods.
Outdoor free play is another essential aspect of programming. It is our belief that getting kids outside, in all conditions, is extremely important and essential to child growth. Creative free play is allotted into every day, in all weather.
Included is a potential schedule for the 2021-2022 school year:
Our Program Goals
i. Place-Based: A place-based program promotes healthy development in a stimulating learning environment. Earth Explorers is 100% outside, through all seasons, with primitive facilities.
ii. Learner-led: Allowing children to take the lead fosters their fascination of the world around them and free play opportunities inspire their creativity.
iii. Risk-taking: Encouraging children to take appropriate risks provides real world examples to learn risk assessment and self-regulation.
iv. Social Interaction: Developing healthy social skills and peer-group relations encourages improved communication and problem-solving skills.
v. Environmental Responsibility: Nurturing a connection to the natural world enhances an understanding of our children’s role as environmental stewards in their local community and their greater natural areas.
KEEN’s Earth Explorers program – Frequently Asked Questions
What is KEEN’s Earth Explorers program? Earth Explorers is a supplemental outdoor program designed to unplug children from their screens and reboot their curiosity with the natural world. Earth Explorers is a part-time enrichment program.
Earth Explorers program is not designed to replace traditional classroom time. Earth Explorers is not a charter school or childcare center.
Does our program replace traditional classroom time? No, Earth Explorers is not a full-time school program.
Will we have scholarships available? Currently, KEEN does not have any scholarships available. However, we encourage you to reach out to HopeSource, as they provide funding for many community programs.
What will my child learn in your program? Earth Explorers promotes a child’s natural inquisitiveness for the world around them by providing a safe environment to explore and learn. We will be integrating grade-appropriate Washington Learning Standards into the program, including but not limited to mathematics, science, environmental science, and art. Each grade level will have a learning goal to reach at the end of every quarter.
What will you teaching style be? Nature-based education allows the outdoor environment to be the teacher, permitting a child’s curiosity to allow them opportunities to learn and make connections themselves. Our educators focus on safely guiding children along this path, encouraging their natural process of deduction and questioning to lead the way.
Will you have bathrooms on site? KEEN provides porta potty rentals, however the occasion may arise where your child may need to use a bush. Parents should review with their child safe and appropriate outdoor bathroom use.
What about handwashing? Our bathroom facilities are equipped with handwashing stations. We also use child-safe hand sanitizer when moving around the park.
Will programming be affected by the weather? Nope! Children are resilient and can flourish in any weather scenario. We will have primitive indoor facilities (walled tents) and heating sources (propane firepit) should the weather be less than stellar. In the event of severe weather, KEEN will make decisions on daily cancellations as needed.
What is your cancellation policy? Our hiring, programming, and planning all depend upon tuition dollars. The down-payment for tuition is non-refundable. If you need to cancel prior to the Quarter starting, tuition is only refundable if you cancel 1-week prior to the quarter beginning. No refunds are available once the program begins. We appreciate the understanding.