Extension Program Reinvigorating After School Time

Lower and Middle School students have been enjoying robust programming in OES’s after school program known as Extension. With new teachers, activities, lessons, and a reinvigorated sense of community, the Extension program is providing tons of opportunities for students to learn and engage in their own interests.

“Students are having a really good time and are excited to be back together,” Extension Assistant Director Chelsea Lamb said. “They’ve talked about how excited they are that Extension is so open-ended and are enjoying the time to just play and express their interests.”

Said Ellie G. '31: “In my opinion, Extension is the best part of the school day! During school, there’s not really much free time to do the things you want. And Extension kinda prepares me for homework because it reminds me that it’s time to do work after school.”

This year, the Extension team has partnered with the Lower and Middle School libraries, the EC3 Design Center, the Fariss Garden, project rooms, various performing arts departments, and more to keep students engaged after the school day has ended.

“[EC3 Design Center Director] Cameron Jack and [EC3 Operations Manager] Jeffrey Sprague have been very welcoming to Lower Schoolers who are using the EC3 space,” Lamb said. “[Extension Assistant Teacher] Jam Mandeberg, with the fourth-grade cohort, has really taken advantage of the space where students can build, create, design, and dream in EC3.”

The wetlands on campus have also been frequented by Extension students and teachers. Most recently, third graders designed their own boats of all shapes, sizes, and materials, and tested them out while canoeing around the wetlands (see photo).

“The students had been working on their boats inside using different water contraptions to see what items would float and then they got to take their creations out on the water,” Lamb said. “There was a lot of buildup to that activity and it was very exciting.”

Middle School Extension has new activities and excitement, as well. For example, Extension Assistant Teacher Peter Ellis, a trained chef, has weekly sourdough baking sessions with sixth graders.

“Peter has a long-term vision for how to bring students into the Middle School project room, how to teach them about the love of cooking, and get their hands into some tasty foods safely,” Lamb said.

“Extension is so important because parents need to work, and they need the flexibility of having reliable child care after school,” Lamb said. “We know things come up and we're working towards having a more flexible program right now.”

Lamb hopes that Covid protocols will soon allow for a more flexible schedule for Extension students, including drop-ins, and one-off Extension days for parents and students who may not need the full five-day program.

Some photos courtesy of Austin Schock.