My school has a similar idea. Our Wednesdays are half-days. The idea is, staff can have necessary meetings, community-building time among peers, as well as offering time for us to thoroughly clean, organize, and prepare our environments. For those who cannot accommodate their children coming home early one day a week, we offer our own enrichment classes that are similar to the ones in this article. Karate has always been a big hit. There has also been a lot with drama, art, music, and cooking.
While I love the idea of enrichment programs, I have to wonder why more of this is not a part of the regular curriculum? When I was a Montessori student, we were always exposed to great art, music, and cooking activities, and didn't have to stay after school or pay extra for it. It was a natural part of the learning experience, much as it should be a part of the home environment.
I will give our elementary program kudos, though, for including a regular community lunch program. At least once a month, parents come in and help the children put on a meal for the entire elementary community. The children have to come up with the menu, do the shopping, and then create the meal. When we're lucky, there is enough to share with the other teachers as well. :-)
I think that there has been such a movement toward educational academic standards being met, that parts of the Montessori philosophy can be forgotten in the rush to compete with public schools. Isn't all of this Practical Life? Part of this could be avoided with proper parent education. But that is something else that sometimes seems to go by the wayside.
On the other hand, having these enrichment programs can be a great way to keep children occupied in a productive manner outside of regular school hours. Parents today often seem too busy to take the time to education their children in these areas. Many times, children take these experiences home, and try to implement them.
What kinds of enrichment activities does your school provide? What are the pros and cons in your experience?
Read the original article, "Students explore enrichment."