What is your child learning? Are they in a place that teaches them leadership, career exploration, employability, and entrepreneurial training? If not, there is a place that does. This place encourages, empowers, and teaches skills to children from kindergarten to sixth grade, inspiring them to take an active role in their future. Are you ready to learn more? Say YES because The School-Age Division of the Youth Empowerment Services (YES) is that place.
Located at Mountain Center in Tobyhanna, this PSFC program is much more than a standard daycare. Hours of operation vary. The School-Age program operates Monday – Friday before and after school during the school season. Students can stay all day when school is closed for holidays or other occasions. During summer, YES operates a summer camp.
Being upstairs above the head start program, the school’s staff has created a support system that starts students off on the right foot and helps them explore their interests through experience. “We want them to learn life downstairs, communication, and all those fundamentals, but up here, we want to pique their interest so that when they move on, they know what they’re interested in. Each room has science, technology, engineering, art, and math basics. We add something to every room to create a real-world environment,” said Jean-Michael Mathurin, Lead Teacher.
Although the School-Age program is for children in grades k-6, certain classrooms are more tailored to specific age groups than others. The classrooms include Visual and Performing Arts, School of Social Sciences, Liberal Arts, Life and Earth Sciences, School of Communications, and the Technical Institute or the Apprenticeship Room/ Art Room.
Within these classrooms are Savings Accounts for students. When a student demonstrates good behavior like stacking chairs or helping a classmate, they are rewarded with mock money that can be used to purchase things such as supplies and snacks. These transactions also help develop math skills with money stored in their accounts. Also included in classrooms are the libraries. Each student is required to check out a book from one of the libraries, which they are then responsible for returning on time and undamaged. If the book is returned late or damaged, money gets taken out of the student’s savings account.
The Visual and Performing Arts room is where younger children have the opportunity to explore talents through song, dance, plays, and instruments. The School of Social Sciences teaches children cooperation skills as everything done there requires a partner. It is also the location of the main library. The Liberal Arts room contains space for art, puzzles, and board games. To many, it is an introduction to art. In the School of Communications, students learn to communicate while blindfolded and complete drills and other games that promote team communication. This room also currently contains a hair cutting station, but that space will be turned into a mock hospital where students will learn how to be nursing skills like CPR, bandaging injuries, and blood pressure checks.
The Technical Institute, also known as the Apprenticeship room, is mainly used for the older students to learn trade skills. In the Technical Institute, students work on mechanical skills such as fixing engines/ motors, tire changes, checking tire pressure, oil changes, woodworking, examining/ building based on blueprints, taking apart/ reassembling electronics, and more. This room also contains a computer that students use in harmony with their projects. The apprenticeship room is also where students learn to hone their art skills.
When the weather cooperates, outdoor classrooms get utilized. In the outdoor garden, students can learn the skills needed to grow food. The outdoor classroom also contains a greenhouse for more efficiency.
“We want them to see real-world examples cause sooner or later, they will be in the real world. We teach these kids to follow through. If you say you’re going to do something, you do it. We plant seeds and let them choose to make them grow. They have to start thinking, have to start caring for other people and learning to make the world better than how they found it. When they go into any atmosphere, they will have the biggest impact on that atmosphere.” Said Darrien Mccain, assistant teacher.
Enrollment into the YES School-Age Division varies based on income. Low-income families can apply to the Early Learning Resource Center (ELRC). The ELRC will examine each family’s work, school, and income situation to determine the level of assistance provided.
YES Application: https://poconoyes.wufoo.com/forms/r1fgutab0ppeoqw
Donation Page: https://psfc.org/donate/
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