The Marin Enrichment before and after school program has been around for 14 years. I visited their location on the Bacich Elementary School campus. I entered a large room with tables, couches, books, lots of art supplies and walls decorated with the kids’ art projects. The children also have access to outside picnic tables, a large play structure and sports fields.
Judie Lombardi, the Head Teacher for the 1st and 2nd grade program, has been with Marin Enrichment for 10 years. She told me, “Marin Enrichment is a licensed child care center located on the Bacich campus of the Kentfield School District. Our program is available for an additional cost to children from Kindergarten through 4th grade. We also offer before school care for parents who need an early drop off. The program offers after-school childcare and enrichment activities such as art projects, crafts, outdoor sports and play, homework help, local field trips, and special holiday programs. It’s a safe and nurturing place where kids can socialize with their friends, and depending on their interests, engage in structured projects or simply play.”
There were kids painting, reading, drawing, and there was a Halloween spider making art project. As the children formed 4 black pipe cleaners into the 8 legs of the spider and added black fur for the body and googly eyes, many began to create other uses for their morphing spider. One child said it was a moustache, another a cat nose and whiskers and Pierce, 7, put the spider on his chin and said, “I’m Abraham Lincoln!”
The kids were excited to tell me what they were going to be for Halloween. Paola, 6, said, “I want to be a ghost!” Taylor, 6, added, “I might be a bee or a devil,” Pierce told me, “I’m going to be a giant fish person!” Oliver, 6, chimed in, “I might be a skeleton with a really creepy face!”
When I asked Lombardi what she enjoyed about working with the program, she told me, “I enjoy interacting with the children in the classroom and at the art table. It makes everyday unique. I teach first and second graders and they're funny, loving, and full of energy. Through the art projects, I really get a chance to guide their creative expression. An additional plus is that I have the children for two years, first and second grades, so I really get to build a solid relationship with them. I've had kids come back years later and still give me a hug. I love that part!”
Susan Peterson, a teacher with the same program, told me why she likes working with Marin Enrichment. “I enjoy that Marin Enrichment allows kids to be themselves and also grow. Uppermost in my mind is that children feel safe and are enjoying themselves. I really appreciate how new and old friendships are fostered in games, sports and art projects. There is a range of learning that is going on, as the kids make choices of their activities, time and interests. Working with the kids, staff, and parents is enriching!”
The teachers and kids all seemed to be having a wonderful time as they worked and played independently or in groups. Children moved from one activity to the next with ease and there were lots of smiles, laughter and energy filling the room.
This wonderful before and after school children’s program encourages friendships, creativity and most definitely…fun!
Until next time, remember, it’s all “for the love of kids…”
In joy, Marilyn