The Zone (PREP Afterschoolers)
Our program for Afterschoolers is called The PREP ZONE — a cool and fun place where students have time to wind down after a long school day. We offer different activities to keep their interest, as well as help with their homework each day so they can enjoy family time in the evening.
Health and Safety:
An age-appropriate, fully fenced in outdoor playground for our Afterschoolers provides an opportunity for physical activity while fostering the development of gross-motor and social skills.
Our hand-washing sinks in the classrooms and bathrooms come with automatic water and soap-dispensing capabilities to decrease cross contamination of germs.
Closed circuit cameras in the classroom can be viewed from the specialized PREP Parent Lounge at the front of the building. A specialized fingerprint entry secures the visitors entering the building.
A separate Tender Loving Care (TLC) room provides a place for a sick child to be removed from the classroom until a parent arrives to pick up his or her child. This eliminates further spread of sickness in the classrooms.
We have a vigorous safety program in place for field trips to make sure our Afterschoolers are safe when traveling off campus.
We also have classroom lockers where children can safely keep their belongings.
In addition to offering a variety of activities and homework assistance each day, children enrolled in The PREP Zone have access to multiple classroom computers with a safe and secure internet connection.
We also believe social skills are key to success in life. When children are respectful, kind, polite and honest — they develop character. Moreover, teaching children what behavior to model and what’s expected of them is a daily process. That’s where our Etiquette program comes into play – a program we provide in partnership with parents to teach our Afterschoolers manners and appropriate behavior.
Learning basic kitchen skills is a fun part of what makes The PREP ZONE a cool place. We do that at our snack bar — a place where children can congregate, have an afternoon snack, or participate in one of our weekly cooking projects. We teach basic kitchen skills in this area by instructing Afterschoolers on how to cook an entire meal, prepare side dishes, set the table and clean up after a meal.
In our lounge area Afterschoolers can socialize, read or watch movies. They can use our air hockey table for a fun group game that underscores sportsmanship and healthy competition. They also have access to our gaming area complete with age appropriate video games. Gaming is monitored closely to ensure it does not become a focal point or get in the way of other healthy activities.
Our large outdoor play area encourages exercise and fitness, and offers many different activities for different interests. It’s comprised of a play structure, as well as a physical /social area that’s good for listening to music, or for performing a dance or cheer routine. For more physical activity, our outdoor play area also contains a rock climbing structure and a basketball court.
We are environmentally conscious at The PREP, and we support “Keep Austin Beautiful.” We have daily, weekly and monthly recycling activities that go well beyond simple waste separation. A monthly visitor teaches our Afterschoolers different ways to recycle and how to be environmentally responsible. Our hope is that children share their excitement and knowledge about being “green” with their parents – and they too will take steps to “Keep Austin Beautiful” whenever and wherever possible.
Electronic updates, photos, and daily reports are sent to the parent’s email each day to communicate about the child’s day and pertinent information as needed.
Enrichment Classrooms for Afterschoolers:
Our Afterschoolers get to utilize our enrichment areas throughout the building.
As weather permits, we have scheduled activities in our Outdoor Classroom where children get to experience the sounds, sights and smells of nature. This classroom – which is used daily and weekly for lessons and activities – is separated from the main lobby area by an operable garage door with multiple glass panels. When opened, the indoor and outdoor environments merge… and children are invited to better understand the world we live in. It gives teachers a chance to incorporate “nature” into their lesson plans – all while creating greater levels of creativity, curiosity and discovery among children. It’s truly the ideal place for children to learn in a unique way.
We also have a dedicated Art Studio that allows fun and imagination to blossom among children. It gives our teachers the ability to encourage creativity with hands on painting projects and imaginative artwork. The children can also use this room for fun and interactive cooking projects – if they are learning how to bake cookies – they get to break the eggs… stir in the flour… and pour in the sugar.
During school holidays and during the summertime, our PREP Café serves lunch in a state of the art cafeteria and is prepared by a full-time chef in our on site kitchen. Meal plans are designed with input from our dietician, and food served is health conscious, well balanced and organic where possible. Even our snacks are healthy such as trail mix, and fruits and veggies. We dine family-style — which encourages children to learn manners, responsibility and independence at the table.
This age group is also able to utilize The PREP Tech classroom, which offers cutting-edge technology with individual desktops for Afterschoolers to enjoy. We provide a protected-internet connection to allow for a safe and secure technology experience. Children can opt for individual instruction on the desktops or free computer play time. In addition, we have an interactive whiteboard in this space – a new technology that personalizes learning, engages students and supports teachers. Using this new technology, Afterschoolers can engage with one another during lessons, and take part in fun and interactive activities.
We also have a Multi-Purpose Room where Afterschoolers can enjoy interactive indoor play. This room also provides an array of equipment for the children to enjoy. The Afterschoolers can participate in indoor small and large group games and activities. It’s also an alternative environment for play – as Afterschoolers can bring their outside time indoors if the weather is not permitting.
This age group is able to play in our Splash Park on weather permitting days. This park allows Afterschoolers to cool off and have fun. It consists of a splash pad with water spouts and sprays. For safety purposes, there’s no standing water.