Afterschool at Parts and Crafts is a program fro 7-13 year olds that runs Monday through Friday during the school year, from 3:00pm to 5:30pm, following the Somerville Public Schools calendar. On any given day kids will be exposed to any number of varied activities in subjects like electronics, programming, woodworking and traditional handcrafts. Each day there will be a staff-led activity or project, but, like with all of our programs, kids are welcome to participate in the official activity, or do something else of their own devising with staff support.
Parts and Crafts afterschool is an open-shop based program that follows a kid-directed theory of teaching and learning. We provide many of the tools and resources (including fantastic staff) and give kids a lot of freedom in what they want to learn about and do day-to-day. We provide at least one guided, main activity each day, in the past classes have included bookbinding, duct-tape wallets, water color painting, mini-catapults, motor cars, Arduino, and 3D modeling and printing. The mix of scheduled classes and freedom to follow other interests allows kids and families to use our space in many different ways.
For some kids Parts and Crafts is a place to relax and play some board games (we have many) after a long day at school; for others, Parts and Crafts is a place to studiously work on their computer programming skills and design the next level of their video game. We also are a place full of interesting and interested adults eager to help with a daily homework assignment or a big science-fair project (we’re actually a really, really great place to work on a science-fair project). We make a strong effort to engage all kids in activities they’re in to and try to gear our projects and activities to each unique group of kids every afternoon.
Snacks – This year we will start providing healthy snacks (eg. fruit and veg, granola bars, crackers) during the afternoon for any hungry (or hangry) kid! These foods will be peanut and tree-nut free, but please let us know if your child has any specific food allergies on their registration form.
Walking permission – This year will we not allow participants to leave our space unaccompanied during afterschool hours. If your child regularly walks to our space or walks home they may still do so this year, but leaving to buy snacks or pizza will not be permitted.
- Can I drop in? Yes! Kids aged 7-13 can drop in if that particular day is not at capacity. We still need you to sign-up in our registration system if you would like to drop-in from time to time. See our registration page for details. If you would like to come in for a day just to check things out, you should send an email to email@example.com, for details and free registration code.
- What is the average age of kids in your program? The average age varies based on the day, but generally 9-11 is the most common range.
- What is your snow day policy? Parts and Crafts Afterschool will be closed when 2 out of the 3 closest school systems close (Cambridge, Somerville, and Boston Public Schools) and we will contact families as soon as possible on the day. We do not provide any make-ups or refunds for these days as our budget is very tight and our main expenses (rent, employees, and insurance, to name a few) are fixed.
- Is this a drop-in maker-space open to the public? Negative. This year our program will be a state registered child care program in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, which means that all of our participants must be registered and have specific documentation on file, including immunization and health records.
- We’re scheduled for x day, but can my child come on a different day this week? This is hard. We staff and devise programs and activities based on the expected age and numbers of kids coming, so it can be difficult to change these plans on an ad hoc basis with short notice. With sufficient notice we may be able to meet some requests, but generally we would like to avoid this if at all possible.
- Will my child be bored? We try very hard to keep all kids engaged in activities that they are interested in and provide them with tools and resources they need if they choose their own projects to follow. That being said, some kids prefer to chill out and read on the couch for some part of the afternoon. Although that’s probably not what many parents envision when sending their kids to afterschool, it’s specifically that kind of autonomy that makes Parts and Crafts unique and an overall really fun, expressive, and enjoyable space for kids. That being said, some folks need prodding and guidance during the day to keep them engaged and we most definitely keep an eye out for those types of kids. In addition, counselors will regularly check-in with kids that look bored (and often find that memorizing the interior layout of the Millennium Falcon is exactly how that child wanted to spend their afternoon).