Message from the Director

Educational Continuity–Neil Fitzgerald

The disruption of our daily routines caused by the current public health crisis has prompted me to reflect on the role of schools and afterschool and their purpose in our culture. To what degree does closing of the physical school building interrupt the educational process and how might that disruption help us focus on what is essential about that process? What can we do to promote educational continuity so that children learn that their growth and develop are not dependent on a physical place or standard curriculum? As we navigate this uncertain terrain, I’m confident that the afterschool program can help answer these questions.

In the daily conversations among the Arts and Athletics team, we are looking at our various offerings and examining which ones to offer online first. Which of our classes can translate best to an online environment? Which classes will help counteract that cabin-fever that so many of us are struggling with by now? We’ve already hosted a number of online classes and we’ve posted videos for musical theater and martial arts that we will help will help to address this need. Please let us know what you and your children would like to see more of and we will be sure to respond to those requests in the coming weeks.

Educational theorists and reformers from the early 1900s identified a connection between education and the processes used to create other products. They referred to a “factory model” of schools that were designed to fashion an informed citizenry and competent workforce as efficiently as possible. Of course children are not products like shoes or frying pans and so the factory analogy eventually gives way to a recognition that education should promote motivated, self-determining individuals.

Much of my philosophy of education and my vision for the Arts and Athletics program is informed by my own experience in 5th and 6th grades at a little alternative school in Berkeley, California where I grew up. The Walden Center & School emphasized experiential learning, forgoing classrooms, textbooks, or bell schedules in favor of individual explorations and problem-solving. To that end, the underlying structure comprised three cycles of about twelve weeks each, during which we planned camping trips to the far reaches of the state–the deserts in the south, mountains to the east, and beaches north and west.

In each of the three cycles, we researched and reported to our classmates on the flora and fauna of each region, budgeted for gas, food, and lodging, and then packed up the school vans and roughed it in tents and sleeping bags for a week or two. Our teachers–David and Christine, Tom and Aviva–presented lessons about science and nature, history and literature, music and art, all from the starting point that these things would help prepare us for the coming adventure.

My subsequent educational experiences were at institutions that employed a greater degree of external structure–including class schedules, rubrics, and exams–but I never lost the sense that my motivation to do and learn and prepare was at the heart of the undertaking.

There is a lot of uncertainty and concern resulting from the disruption of our children’s regular school routine. But I hope that they will come away with a sense of their own agency and independence as learners. They will experience using their time well because they have to. And they will experience using their time well because they really genuinely want to. That’s a very powerful thing.

E-Learning with Arts and Athletics

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Ezinma, one of our afterschool instructors before touring with Beyonce, returns to us with an online course via Zoom. Details.

In an effort to provide for the needs of the children and families of our community while they’re learning from home, Arts and Athletics will make ever more content available online. These programs will take the form of videos and online courses using Zoom for a wide-range of activities, including instrumental music and musical theater to how to dribble a basketball or improve you fitness.

Click here to find out more!

Camps, Camps, Camps!

Scroll down for brief descriptions and registration links

Summer is here! Camps at PS 9 (84th Street) will run from July 1st to August 16th. You can sign up for all seven weeks of camp, single weeks, or even single days. Activities include musical theater, basketball, cooking, technology, and outdoor adventures in the park. Click here to find out more about our drop-in day camp option!

Summer Musical Theater Camp for grades 1-5. This camp at PS 9 (84th Street) spans seven weeks between Monday, July 1st and Friday, August 16th from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. You can sign up for all seven weeks or just individual weeks as needed. Each week the children and their director Jeff Edmond brainstorm ideas for a new show, learning songs and dialogue and dance routines and performing for friends and family at the end of the week.

Summer Adventure Camp for Li’l Explorers for Pre-K and K at PS 9. Our early childhood specialists, Diana Carrera and Celia Vasquez, have developed a program customized for our students who are entering kindergarten and first grade next year. This camp follows the same schedule as our performing arts camp but will focus on the interests and developmental needs of the younger children. Single day drop-ins are welcome. Please register at least one day prior!

Cooking Camp at PS 9. A hands-on/minds-on cooking camp where young chefs will learn to follow a recipe, measure carefully, and enjoy tasting new foods and flavors! Our camp is hosted by experienced teacher, afterschool teacher, and chef, Liz Seelhoff!

STEM Camp with Ms. Sora at PS 166 (89th Street). Everyone’s favorite PS 166 technology teacher, Ms. Jenny Sora, will host two weeks of STEM camp at PS 166 on 89th Street, July 8-12 and July 15-19. Children will learn about robotics and coding and other fun computer-related stuff. Sign up for one week or both!

Basketball Camp at PS 9. This summer, for the week of July 15th to 19th, Sayeed and his coaches will host a basketball camp at PS 9. With regulation courts and an air conditioned gym, it will be a great place to work on your basketball skills. This camp is open to children in grades 3 to 5.

Registration Information and Links:
Performing Arts Summer Camp at PS 9
Summer Adventure for Lil’ Explorers Camp!
STEM Camp with Ms. Sora at PS 166
Mr. Sayeed’s Basketball Camp July 15-19


The school will be closed starting Friday, April 19 through Friday, April 26, 2019. School and afterschool resume on Monday, April 29th. Have a great vacation!

For classes and activities over the break, check out our off-site offerings at 88th and Columbus. Click here.

Important Dates:

Winter Cycle begins Monday, December 9th. Please contact your site supervisor with any questions regarding enrollment or schedule changes.

Our 88th Street studio is open with lots of fun classes for kids and adults! For schedules and class details, please click here.

To Make a Payment, Please Click Here

WEATHER ALERT: Friday, November 16, 2018

11/16/19The NYC DoE has announced that afterschool programs are canceled today. We know that parents rely on Arts and Athletics for daycare coverage, so our staff will be on hand to accept children at dismissal and conduct activities until parents arrive.

For the safety of school staff and our participating families commuting in hazardous conditions, we would encourage everyone to pick up as early as possible. Be safe. See you soon!

If you anticipate pickup issues, kindly call your program’s site supervisors. Click here for contact numbers.


The first day of the Fall Cycle 2019-2020 will be Monday, September 9th.
Registration Procedures:  To see a list of your school’s classes, click here!
Go to manage your account to register for classes, make payments or create an account. (Just one account per family please!)

Registration Dates: will be open through the second week of the  Fall Cycle (9/27/19). Registration for Fall Cycle is first-come, first-served.