The very first school I attended my father worked at part time as a teacher's aide. I remember feeling special and comforted because my dad was always there whenever I wanted to see him. After school, my dad would have crafts, snacks, and naps ready for the children. My dad would make funny voices to talk to us like Donald Duck or Mickey Mouse and we loved him for it!
When I was a little older I went to Montessori School until the 2nd grade. Montessori school is different from other schools because all the children grades 1 - 5 attended the same classroom. Each grade of students would have assigned teachers, yet some of the teaching would be for the whole class. During the summer, classes would be smaller so I would play and learn with other kids in an intimate setting. I remember, on a hot summer day after school, a news crew from Japan came to film us playing and singing in Spanish, which was really thrilling! I will never forget that experience.
Overall, my after-school childhood experiences shaped me by allowing my creativity to flow while learning to be assertive. I felt inclusion with students from all walks of life while I was a child, which developed an open-mind to cultural differences. Crafts projects and color turned into a love of making my own items such as beauty products and ice cream (both crafts done in an after-school program as a child). I am excited incorporate the importance of a supportive after-school program like I once had for the next generation.