Who is Enrichment Matters?
We are moms who are passionate about creating communities in which every child has access to opportunities that enhance their learning or ignite a passion. Our paths crossed, as many do when your kids are in elementary school, volunteering. We were busy professionals, both working in related fields of instructional design and training systems analysis, and saw co-coordinating the enrichment program as a way to put our professional skills and interests to use and give back to our children’s elementary school. Little did we know those volunteer roles would set us on a path to create Enrichment Matters!
Serving in our roles as volunteers we talked with many Providers and other Enrichment Coordinators in our area about their experiences, challenges, frustrations and goals, and very soon found ourselves saying, “There’s got to be a better way to do this.” Eventually, that statement resulted in the Enrichment Matters model. We built a partnership model designed to be of benefit to all of the members of the after school community, and to support the entire process throughout the school year in order to ensure the sustainability and longevity of these much-needed programs.
After school programs are vital to the peace of mind of working parents as they juggle the transition from work and school to home each day. In the quicksand of standardized testing, the educational community has lost sight of the fact that the primary purpose of education is to prepare young people to be productive members of society. Children need a safe place to go after school that fosters opportunities to extend their learning in areas of interest to them. An after school class may actually be the one time during the day that a child gets to choose what they would like to learn.
Enrichment classes meet that need. These classes expose kids to new topics, skills, areas of interest and other information and training that they will need to succeed in life. While these programs and classes may be sponsored by PTAs and PTOs, it’s also essential that they be supported by school administrations. Innovative, cutting-edge schools recognize that they can’t give kids all the education they need to be prepared for today’s world. PTAs/PTOs and parents recognize and understand that the current regulatory demands placed on teachers and schools make it nearly impossible for them to give kids exposure to these kinds of programs and activities. That’s why a partnership approach to these programs is essential, and frankly, expected. Since it’s clear that schools, while perhaps willing, are unable to provide students with all the experiences they need to be prepared to go into the world in a productive way, it is imperative that we address that need through enrichment. Working together, we can expose kids to aviation, jewelry making, robotics, sewing, engineering, business, yoga, personal finance, cooking, video game design…all kinds of areas that could ignite a child’s passion and vision for how he or she wants to contribute to society in adulthood.
EM sees the value that these programs afford to students and to society’s future. We strive to make it as simple and easy as possible for schools and PTAs/PTOs to offer these programs, and for quality Providers to engage with and excite students about their possibilities.