THINK Together’s daily comprehensive elementary school programs consist of academic and enrichment elements and a healthy living component that includes physical fitness, character education and nutrition education.
The program is open to Kindergarten through 6th grade students from the time the school day ends to 6 pm (approximately 20-22 hours a week). Students receive a healthy snack before participating in a rotation of structured activities. THINK Together’s standards-based curriculum intentionally aligns with core day instruction and extends learning time in a safe, adult-supervised environment. The enrichment component helps students close the achievement gap with a broad array of disguised learning activities driven by student interest and staff talents. Examples include journalism, cheerleading, science fair preparation, skateboarding, cooking, crafts, robotics, and graphic design. The development of 21st Century Learning Skills, such as critical thinking, problem solving through inquiry, creativity, entrepreneurial skills, communication, collaboration, social responsibility and leadership is embedded within project-based learning activities in our programs.
A typical THINK Together elementary school site serves between 90 and 200 students each school day. Each site is staffed by Program Leaders in order to maintain a student to paid staff ratio of no more than 20:1. Program Leaders work alongside community volunteers and are supervised by one full-time Site Coordinator, who works closely with the school principal and teachers to align the content of the afterschool program with school-day needs and priorities. Site Coordinators receive training and side-by-side coaching from experienced Quality Assurance Coaches to ensure the highest program quality.
Elementary Extended Learning Curriculum Academics
- Homework Assistance is provided to students individually or in small groups to help them understand and complete daily assignments. THINK Together staff and trained volunteers focus on inquiry to foster the child’s ability to work independently and understand concepts as well as find the correct answer.
- Language Skills are intentionally promoted through fluency-building strategies that include repeated reading of leveled passages, sight words, phrases, and affixes. Reciprocal Teaching strategies (predicting, clarifying, questioning, and summarizing/retelling) are utilized to promote comprehension and vocabulary development.
- Academic Achievement for English Learners is supported through the implementation of Robert J. Marzano’s academic vocabulary development strategies which are specifically targeted to scaffold vocabulary development in English Learners. We also utilize sentence frames which promote the understanding of syntax and the appropriate use of newly acquired vocabulary. Finally, we build background knowledge by frontloading academic vocabulary and content through experiential learning and by tapping into the child’s prior knowledge.
- Mathematics is supported by Math Blast which builds mathematical skills and fluency in identified math strands, such as number sense, measurement and geometry, probability and statistics. Algebra and functions are incorporated into games, simulations and explorations. Problem solving strategies to unlock word problems and math vocabulary building activities are also imbedded in the curriculum.
- STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics) Education centers on developing content understanding and exploration. We support the application of the scientific method in which youth explore questions of interest, predict what they think will result from an experiment, conduct the experiment and determining what was learned in the process.
- Enrichment: Enrichment activities may include visual and performing arts like music, dance, drama, and art activities THINK Together is committed to releasing the potential in each student. As one child remarked, “Before this I didn’t know I was a dancer.” We offer regular opportunities for parents to celebrate their children’s accomplishments through organized family nights.
- Healthy Living: Healthy Living is promoted through a four-pronged approach that includes: the Coordinated Approach to Children’s Health (CATCH) curriculum which promotes physical activity; nutrition education that includes Harvest of the Month, Dairy Council, and federal nutrition lessons; development of conflict resolution strategies through People Smart; and Character Education that aligns with school day programs or centers on key character traits such as respect and responsibility.