Afterschool is like a magical railcar on the train of learning where mistakes are OK and everything is hands-on.

Each day focuses on a central hands-on learning activity that challenges kids to apply and extend what they’ve learned in school. Supported by Assemble teachers (often joined by a guest expert from the community), students work in groups to make things, break things, and solve problems using digital and physical tools and techniques.

Afterschool at Assemble provides kids ages 6-14 with fun hands-on learning activities two hours a day, four days a week. It's a chance for students to flex their creativity after the school day has ended, but before they’re ready to go home.

<aside> 🥽 Things kids can make in two hours after school: puppets, books, game controllers, a maze for a robot mouse, autonomous dioramas, electronic embroidery, and quite a mess.


Why try Afterschool?

Kids need space to connect, create, and learn together in a “third place” that’s not school or home. Afterschool is the perfect time for kids to unwind and explore as they build friendships with peers and supportive relationships with adults.

At Afterschool, kids build confidence in their ability to solve problems as they practice what they’re learning in school in new and different ways.

Let's get down to the details

When it happens:

School days, for 2 hours in the late afternoon

Class size:

6-10 students per teacher; Use a rolling roster, but be sure to set an upper limit based on your space and capacity!

For these folks:

Perfect for kids in ages 6 to 14 (split into age groups) who like to have fun making things with their friends

How to participate:

Kids sign up ahead of time (you’ll need permission slips from parents); Free to all

<aside> 🕑 Run of show for one day of Afterschool: Assemble Afterschool takes place Mondays through Thursdays, 4pm to 6pm during the school year

25 minutes Unwind from the school day, have a snack, check in to see how everyone’s doing, talk about today’s activity topic

60 minutes Hands-on learning and making lesson

20 minutes Share around what we’ve made

15 minutes Clean up and say good night


How does this connect to Assemble's . . .

Pedagogy ?

Afterschool is everywhere. What makes Assemble Afterschool distinct is the focus on using creative, cross-disciplinary learning explorations to build confidence and forge friendships. It’s less about homework help (though we do offer that if kids need it!) and more about helping kids use the things they learn in school to change the world around them.

At Afterschool, kids explore how the subjects they’re learning in school (which are likely presented to them as separate, unrelated topics) are actually deeply connected and can be used together in creative ways. Instead of simply being asked to repeat back the things they’ve been taught, afterschoolers are given an opportunity to express what they’re learning by applying it in context.

Like lots of Assemble programs, Assemble Afterschool takes the HOMAGO approach: We know lots of kids will want to Hang Out, some kids will be ready to ****Mess Around with the activities, and a few kids will really Geek Out on learning. (More about HOMAGO in 🍕 Youth Maker Nights.)

We also introduce afterschoolers to guest experts from their community! This gives them opportunities to see themselves as people who can do science, art, math, engineering, and more. An occasional field trip does this, too.

People ?

Afterschool programming requires serious stamina, so Afterschool teachers need to be your most dependable people—the ones you can count on to show up every day. At Assemble, our after school staff are our full-time teachers, while our part-timers work on other programs. This consistency also helps build relationships with kids and their families, which is key to keep kids coming back.

Two-person teaching teams (which are the best way to do Afterschool) need to be thoughtfully matched. Be sure teachers know one another and can work well together. Their energy sets the tone for the kids’ experience.

Guest Experts ****enrich Afterschool time like nobody’s business. Start with just one guest-led project, and dedicate a whole month to it (the guest expert doesn’t have to be at every session). You’ll be amazed what your kids and your teachers learn.

Place ?

As you set up your space for Afterschool, you’ll want to keep things both flexible and reliable. Snacks should always be available in the same spot. The same goes for a dedicated supplies area, and a whiteboard or sheet of paper where the day’s agenda is posted. And be careful about making your space too open—that can encourage running around.