More After-School Enrichment at Lower School

It was a Thursday afternoon at Lower School

Young reporters, ballerinas, and wizards-in-training headed to their after-school classes on a recent Thursday at Poly’s Lower School.

Nathaniel Meek

As Lower School Auxiliary Program Coordinator Nathaniel Meek had explained on our earlier visit, “The drop-in after-school program (POLY PM) includes anywhere from 10-20 kids on a given day, and depending on if those kids have an enrichment class or a music lesson they come to POLY PM and then go off to their separate classes at different times and then sometimes come back to POLY PM until they’re picked up by an adult.”

“The Enrichment Program currently has about 150 kids participating in at least one class during the week and many of the kids participate in multiple classes plus our Music Conservatory program headed up by Jennifer Nelson,” Meek added.

Thursday classes in STEM, BSNY B-Ball, and Chess Team are taught by teachers or coaches from Curated Care. Meek explained, “Curated Care is an after-school enrichment company that offers various classes and events for all elementary age groups. They have a catalog of class options and I let them know which ones I think would best fit the Poly community. Then we organize a schedule on when they can come and who the teachers will be and then offer the classes to parents.”


Twenty-five little ballerinas, many in pink, dance into the sunny Lower School Dance Studio, and after a snack, they find their places for class with teacher Ms. Erin Rice. When everyone is ready, Ms. Rice turns on the music from the “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies” from  Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker. The children are excited, but concentrating as they find first position, second position, then jump, and then land in a plié. The Nursery through Grade 1 dancers will present a performance for their parents at the end of the school year. Ms. Rice told the dancers there was one thing they needed to add for their potential audience: “a smile.”

Lower School After School ballet
Blue Devil Lower School Newspaper

On Thursday afternoons, Room 4B becomes a busy newsroom with writers working on stories and cartoonists on their artwork. On a recent day, Nina E-W ’32 interviewed Jasmine Donald ’24, Upper School actor and vocalist, via Zoom. “Nina asked me introductory questions including my name, age, and grade,” Donald said. “She also asked about my favorite school subjects, favorite color, favorite musical, and favorite movie,” and added, “She asked me about the shows I’ve done at Poly and what it’s like to be a performer in high school.”

“It was such a pleasure speaking with Nina,” Donald continued, “because her excitement really shined through as she reacted to each response I gave her. She was very attentive and diligent as she took note of what I said. I enjoyed speaking with her!”

Meanwhile, LS librarian and Blue Devil newspaper advisor Kristen Robb P’24, ’26 and Human Resources Administrator and newspaper advisor Tami Ling P’24, ’28  encouraged students to work on their stories and make any edits.

Reporter Lark D. ’33 was working on a series of stories she is writing on sustainability. She shared the first installment, which included a game made up of hints about sustainability and recycling.


In a sunny area of the library the Kindergarten through Grade 2 members of the Poly Chess Team listened to their coach talking about upcoming competitions.


In Room 1A three Kindergarten – Grade 1 students worked with a Curated Care teacher finding combinations of numbers that added up to 14 and had a lot of fun doing it.

Lower School after school STEM class

Coach Maurice led kindergartners and first graders through dribbling drills in BSNY B-Ball in the Big Room. A player stood in each of four hula-hoops on the floor and practiced dribbling while at the same time trying to bat away the ball of an opponent.

BSNY B-Ball at Lower School
BSNY B-Ball at Lower School
Harry Potter Class

Grades 2-4 students were making magic wands in the Harry Potter class in the Art Studio. Professor Catherine Silverheart (a.k.a. Patti Smith P’20) had shared careful written instructions for the wand making. “Choose wand. Sharpen one end. Soften the point with sandpaper. Come to glue gun. Carefully walk around until glue is dry — stay clear of people — Hot!!”

Using a glue gun, Professor Silverheart applied glue to the wand sticks for each young wizard and then told each in turn to “spin [the wand] and walk” with the wand between their hands, turning the glue into what looked like magic crystals on the wand.  Then after putting on a smock, each young wizard chose a color and painted their wand. The instructions continued: “Place wand in box. Put paint brush in water. Wash hands.” After cleaning up the work area, students removed their paint-splattered smocks, and went out into the play yard.

Lower School Harry Potter Class makes wands
Lower School Harry Potter Class makes wands
Lower School Harry Potter Class makes wands
Lower School Harry Potter Class makes wands
Lower School Harry Potter Class makes wands
Lower School Harry Potter Class makes wands
Arrow pattern green
Poly PM Winter Registration

Registration for Poly PM winter enrichment begins on November 30. Poly families can find out more by logging into the Parent Portal and clicking on the School Resources tab. Families may also reach out to Nathaniel Meek, Lower School Auxiliary Program Coordinator by email.