Science, technology, time travel … what could be more exciting for elementary and intermediate age children?
And the person to give life to those activities is Stephanie Graveson, the new coordinator for the After School Program Constructive and Enrichment Activities for the Archuleta County Education Center.
Stephanie traveled extensively in her early adult years exploring northern Europe and lived for a while in England. She returned to San Francisco, studied marketing and advertising, then began working for a travel organization that organized itineraries for teachers on sabbatical, professors on research assignments, and students on exchange trips or studying abroad. It was through that organization that she met her future husband, Philip, who was on a teacher exchange visit from New Zealand. They married, moved to New Zealand, and began raising a family.
Once their children were in school, Stephanie re-trained as a librarian with a special emphasis in children’s literature. In 2005 they decided their children, Zachariah and Rose, needed to experience their American heritage. They moved as a family to Pagosa Springs to be close to Stephanie’s mother and stepfather.
As After School Program Constructive and Enrichment Activities Coordinator for the Education Center, it is Stephanie’s job to formulate new and innovative programs and activities for children. She believes that her experience as a world traveler has not only greatly enriched her life, but has also added tremendous value to the adventures she shares in her classrooms.
Although Oct. 1 is her first official day in the new position, she has already hit the ground running by scheduling the following programs and activities for the month of October:
Sci/Tech Explorers: This is a science and technology club where fifth- and sixth-graders will visit different topics through experiments and science-related games that fall under the science and technology umbrella. Occasional guests, such as a geologist or anthropologist, etc., will visit and share why they love science, and how they use science in their every day lives.
Time Trekkers: This is a history and geography club for fifth- and sixth-graders. Each day well-known characters, such as King Tut, Abe Lincoln, etc., will “drop in” for engaging discussions about different periods in history. The geography of our planet will be discovered through discussions about the sinking of the Titanic, the 1906 earthquake in San Francisco, and other interesting times in history.
Stephanie says the clubs will run until the end of the second quarter, and then a couple of new classes will be introduced for the older kids with different themes to give variety.
Adventure Quest Team: This is an amazing journey for K-4 students to travel around the world without ever leaving the classroom. The children will get a glimpse of the adventures of traveling to foreign countries and experiencing foreign cultures. They will learn the practical skills of how to obtain a passport; how to manage the unplanned challenges of missed airline flights, unfamiliar languages, and unfamiliar foods. They will learn that world travel can be fun and interesting rather than the scary unknown.
Cooking Around the World: This is a K-4 cooking class and a great companion to Adventure Quest Team. It will allow kids to explore all aspects of a foreign culture, such as visiting Japan in Adventure Quest and making Japanese food in Cooking Around the World. It will be taught by Ms. Tessie.
Bright Sparks Squad: A K-4 Sci/Tech Club. With hands-on, fun experiments and games, they will learn that science and technology is all around us, and how to look at the world through the eyes of a scientist.
Figure It Out Fridays: This is Fridays for K-4. Puzzles, games, brainteasers, and mystery books will allow and encourage the kids to put on their thinking caps in a fun atmosphere. And every Friday will be totally different.
Art with Ms. Tessie: This is a continuation of the popular K-4 class and will entail the art of making fun crafts.
“Early enrollment in all of the classes is encouraged,” Stephanie says. “A maximum number of children will be allowed to enroll in each class. Hands-on experiments require much planning for supplies, plus our teachers want to give each student the attention they deserve. I would also encourage parents to enroll their kids in a class for the month. If they are in a class for a month, they will be able to continue on a journey or continue with an experiment.”
I asked Stephanie why she had chosen the Archuleta County Education Center to further her teaching experience. Her answer was quite compelling.
“I have a passion to serve young people and their families,” she replied. “I have always been an encourager, and I enjoy being the conduit between young people and new ideas and learning adventures. I know many of the people that work at the Education Center and many who have worked there in the past. I think they have a real heart for the young people, and I have a huge respect for what they do. They are the real deal, and they are in it for the long haul. I am proud to be at the Ed Center.”
On behalf of the Education Center, we are excited to have Stephanie Graveson as our newest team member, and we welcome her with open arms.