WELCOME TO THE CLUB!
TOPP KIDS is a fully accredited Before & After School Care for elementary school-age children from kindergarten to grade 6. Programs are conveniently run on-site at your school, using a child-led, S.T.E.A.M-based approach to our activity planning. Our environments are designed to make kids feel at home and help them develop into responsible, conscientious young adults.
We have 4 fundamental beliefs that we practice in everything we do:
Join our programs for FULL TIME, PART TIME or even on a DROP-IN basis.
After a long school day, we believe it is important for children to have a chance to relax and participate in the activities they want to do. Therefore, our programs emphasize child-led Kids Clubs, which allow children a choice in what kind of activities and projects they want to take part in.
At TOPP KIDS, we:
- Provide structured activities that utilize the innovative S.T.E.A.M. approach (science, technology, engineering, arts, math)
- Integrate other types of play such as Loose Parts Play, which uses nature, recyclables, and loose parts to build and innovate
- Build programming based around Artistic Expression -not just crafting but media development, dance, dramatic play, etc.
- Promote literacy through projects like the Comic Book Project, where children have the chance to have their creations published
- Build citizenship through community involvement, trips and projects.
- Promote the social emotional literacy of our participants- teaching them skills to become more interceptive and mindful of their emotions and how to mediate them.
- Follow the recommended daily physical activity guidelines, and provide active play activities that focus on physical literacy.
- Provide additional support to those who have exceptional needs or need one on one mentoring to focus on their growth.
- Build leadership, respect, inclusion and responsibility through our Jr.Leaders Program
- Provide opportunities children to build off of their interests during free play / clubs / social skill building time.
Along with the planned and structured activities we offer, children are always welcome to make use of our large range of free-play equipment. We provide creative play spaces with toys for a wide variety of interests, construction materials, dramatic play area with props, games, art programs and materials, science exploration materials, literacy & music centers, quiet homework areas, and plenty of physical activities and games.
Our structured and unstructured activities keep children engaged but also provide opportunities to relax and play with their friends – to just be kids! In addition to our activities children love coming to our programs for the fun, the passionate staff and the great equipment.
Check out all of our newest programming enhancements
on our Program Highlights page.
OUR DAILY FLOW
The KIDS CLUB Approach
At TOPP KIDS, we pride ourselves on giving children the opportunity to explore their interests and build both leadership and social capacity among their peers. What better way to do that than to help them create their own club?!
Clubs are a huge part of what we do here at TOPP KIDS and we love to help the children explore the world using them. Some clubs the leaders host and the rest are based purely on child interests. Some of our annual clubs are:
- Newsletter Club (Junior Leaders)
- Community Involvement Club #1 (with field trip)
- Community Involvement Club #2 (with field trip or speaker)
- Environmental Club (x4 times per year)
- Politics club (choose a president for the month with debates)
- Scrapbook Club (Junior Leaders)
- Welcoming Club (Junior Leaders)
- Junior Leaders Club (Year Round)
- Club Runners Club (Junior Leaders)
PHYSICAL LITERACY AND GAMES
TOPP KIDS active play and physical literacy initiative (Health & Wellness) was created to address child obesity in the after-school setting. By teaching children that eating healthy and being physically active every day can be FUN, we establish healthy habits in children that promote behavior changes that can last a lifetime. We combine high energy, non-elimination activities with teaching skills and strategies that keep kids moving and having fun both indoors and out.
The idea behind planning active play the way we do at TOPP KIDS is to teach children new skills based on their developmental levels, that being competitive is healthy and teamwork and good sportsmanship goes along way. We plan activities to encourage this skill building, selecting certain outcome skills and finding an activity to help teach those to them.
ACTIVITY PROGRAMMING WITH THE S.T.E.A.M.!
STEAM is an educational approach to learning that uses Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics as access points for guiding children’s inquiry, dialogue, and critical thinking. The end results are children who take thoughtful risks, engage in experiential learning, persist in problem-solving, embrace collaboration, and work through the creative process. These are the innovators, educators, leaders, and learners of the 21st century!
Using the STEAM approach to activity planning at TOPP KIDS, the leaders help guide children in creating projects that make them problem solve and innovate. Every activity is recorded by the children using our Activity planning sheet with 5 steps- Ask, Imagine, Plan, Create & Improve.
Check this out! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0tkAvWWhKf4
LOOSE PARTS PLAY
Imagination, creativity, curiosity, desire, and need are the motivation of loose parts. Loose parts are materials that can be moved, carried, combined, redesigned, lined up, and taken apart and put back together in multiple ways. Loose parts can be used alone or combined with other materials.
What is LOOSE PARTS PLAY?
Loose parts simply means movable materials that children can use in their play. They might be bought materials, up-cycled from the recycling bin or found natural objects. There’s a printable list of some loose parts ideas below, but really anything goes: boxes, feathers, marbles, wrapping paper, fir cones, water, sand, twigs, hats, drinking straws…..
Stocking our play space with loose parts offers children
- daily inspiration
- endless possibilities
- a chance to think
- encouragement to be creative
SOCIAL EMOTIONAL LITERACY (SEL)
Social and emotional learning (SEL) is the process through which children and adults acquire and effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions.
Emotional Intelligence (EI) refers to the ability to perceive, control and evaluate emotions. Emotional Quotient (EQ) is a measure of a person’s adequacy in such areas as self-awareness, empathy, and dealing sensitively with other people and their emotions.
Old beliefs only emphasized one kind of smart: book smarts. Now, after years of research, brain science has shed light on a new perspective: paired together, emotions and intellect are the new smart. EQ is just as important as IQ, if not more so.
SOCIALLY & EMOTIONALLY SMART CHILDREN:
- Demonstrate a sense of belonging
- Feel a strong attachment to school
- Perceive teachers as supportive and caring
- Forge healthy friendships
- Feel engaged in their academic progress
5 CORE COMPETENCIES
All interactions at TOPP KIDS revolve around 5 competencies of Emotional Intelligence (as defined by the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning known as CASEL) and is referred to as Social and Emotional Learning (SEL):
- SELF-AWARENESS– Children are able to recognize their emotions, describe their interests and values, and accurately assess their strengths.
- SELF-MANAGEMENT– Children are able to regulate their emotions by managing stress, controlling impulses, and persevering to overcome obstacles.
- SOCIAL AWARENESS– Children are able to take the perspective of and empathize with others and recognize and appreciate individual and group similarities and differences.
- RELATIONSHIP SKILLS– Children can establish and maintain healthy and rewarding relationships based on cooperation.
- RESPONSIBLE DECISION MAKING– Children are able to demonstrate responsible decision making and make good choices at school, at home, and in the community.
Everyday the entire group meets for a child and leader directed Community Unity. The entire point of Community Unity isn’t just to explain what activities we are doing during the day but to create an environment of Social Emotional Literacy aiding in the teaching or self-awareness, respect, responsibility and help build overall community between all TOPP KIDS and the leaders.
At TOPP KIDS, our Active Play Coordinators focus on activities that will help children develop their cognitive, social, and motor abilities. As Froebel recognized, making art and enjoying the art of other people and cultures are very important to the development of the whole child. We always try to feature great ARTS & EXPRESSION activities for kids that peak their interests and get them thinking. Most projects are geared towards our Kids Clubs. Not all of these activities however are material based, they often are media projects, dramatic play, dance or music. The best ARTS & EXPRESSIONS come from the children and their on the spot creativity. So go! Get Messy! Create and have fun!
TOPP KIDS provides an opportunity for leaders to work with children in a different way than during the school day. This more relaxed, playful, and nurturing atmosphere allows leaders to emphasize the social aspect of literacy.
Perhaps most significantly, our afterschool programs give children a rare chance to read. Most children read only a few minutes a day, and they have little opportunity to read in the classroom. Literacy is a product of having read a lot. A child’s ability to do that depends on the time you invest in them. We have many literacy focused areas around each program.
It is important that our leaders provide children with a fun opportunity every day to encourage literacy. The ENRICHMENT portion of our day is dedicated to both literacy and family involvement in the programs. At this time the Arts & Expression Portfolio will plan activities encouraging literacy.
What is the JR. LEADERSHIP program?
We include aspects of leadership, respect, inclusion and responsibility in everything we do. Our emphasis on leadership gives children the chance to structure their own day- giving them the opportunity to help create activities and games while learning integrity, creative independent thinking, confidence, responsibility, and planning.
Being part of the Jr. Leadership group, your child will learn important life skills, be privy to special projects, field trips, events an even an annual Jr. Leadership Camp during the summer!
Check out the full Leadership Program page.