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Enrichment program gives students more time to learn

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AYER — School budget crises across the country have limited the amount of extras districts can offer.

Ayer is no exception, but one thing that sets the town’s elementary school apart is that they have devised a plan to still offer additional programs in a unique way.

This month, the Page Hilltop School launched its after-school enrichment program for the interested kindergarten through fifth-graders who attend the school.

“(The) After-School Enrichment Program is a natural extension of the daily educational experience at Page Hilltop. It affords students an opportunity to explore interesting educational enhancements with minimal cost and logistical factors involved,” Page Hilltop Principal Fred Deppe said.

Four Page Hilltop teachers have developed programs in a variety of interest areas. There is a seasonal crafts class where students will create and bring home festive decorations for upcoming holidays, a typing class where students will spend time in the school’s computer labs, and two cooking classes where children will learn simple, fun recipes that they can replicate at home to amaze their families.

“Students are attending classes on cooking, computer skills, arts and crafts. They are stimulating their brain cells and that is always a wonderful thing,” Deppe said.

Each of these classes is offered once a week immediately after school is dismissed, for a fee of about $8 per afternoon. They meet in various rooms around the school. Parents pick their children up around 4 p.m.

“Everyone seems to be very happy with the programs so far,” said Janet Adamson, program co-director. “This is a win-win situation. The programs are very reasonably priced, they happen right after school and the kids are in a familiar place, which can make it easier for children to try new things.”

Adamson and her co-director, Liz Murray, are pleased with how the session has started.

“We are running four-week sessions, so if there wasn’t something that interested your child this session, there might be in the next session,” Murray said.

This session will be over by the end of December, but more after-school classes are being planned for the beginning of 2010.