After School Explorers
After School Explorers (ASE) is the Junior School’s unique after school program that runs from 3 – 6 p.m., Monday through Friday. Students receive a fun and engaging experience that can be customized to fit their individual needs and interests, without ever having to leave the Junior School campus! Options include enrichment classes, music lessons, study center, unstructured play, organized games and more! Rates are offered by the term for daily enrollments as well as emergency drop-ins.
- General Info
- Enrichment Classes
- In-Service Days/Break Camps
- Policies and Procedures
- Register Now!
2023-2024 ASE Dates & Rates
Term I Fall (12 weeks): Aug. 28–Nov. 17
Term II Winter (12 weeks): Nov. 27–March 1
Term III Spring (12 weeks): March 4–June 4
Term II Winter:
Daily Care Mondays (9 sessions): $234
Daily Care Tuesdays (11 sessions): $286
Daily Care Wednesdays (12 sessions): $312
Daily Care Thursdays (12 sessions): $312
Daily Care Fridays (11 sessions): $286
Daily Drop-In (Emergency Day-of): $35
Daily Care term rates include a daily snack and any supplies needed for daily activities plus homework help in the Study Center. Rates exclude Enrichment Programs, In-Service days and Break Camps. All enrichment programs are in addition to the Daily Care fees. Enrichment classes are only eligible to those enrolled in Daily Care. Please note that all after school programming and enrollment space is contingent on staffing and overall enrollment. Programs may be adapted and/or canceled based on enrollment. If this occurs we will communicate it immediately to all enrolled families. If an emergency arises and after care is needed please reach out as soon as possible so we can accommodate and assist for day-of drop-ins only.
Director of After School
Text for Pickup: 412-254-4772
Students will explore in age-based cohorts during after school hours. Each day will feature fun and engaging activities, including outdoor/indoor organized sports and games, arts and crafts, homework time, and more. All activities will strictly adhere to SSA COVID-19 health and safety protocols. Activities include:
Play Time! Included w/Daily Care Enrollment
Play time includes the gymnasium, field and playground. Students begin each afternoon with recess and a snack before beginning their individual schedules. Explorers can enjoy play time for the entire afternoon or return there after their enrichment classes, music lessons or Study Center time. In addition to unstructured play time, a staff member may lead a variety of daily games and intramural sports.
Study Center Included w/Daily Care Enrollment
The Study Center is run by an educator who works closely with students to ensure students have the opportunity to work on their homework during after school hours. This is available to students grades 1-5 and Monday-Thursday. The Study Center is not available on Fridays.
Snack Included w/Daily Care Enrollment
Enrichment Classes Additional Fees Apply
A wide variety of enrichment classes are available at an additional cost Monday through Friday, from sports to art to chess to science. Explorers have access to one enrichment class each day that they are enrolled. See the Enrichment Classes tab for class information.
Private Music Lessons Additional Fees Apply
Skilled music teachers lead enrolled Explorers in one 30-minute music lesson per week. Instruments include piano and ukelele. The school year will culminate with a recital. Based upon availability. Students enrolled in music lessons are enrolled for the entire year (same day and time) and are expected to practice at home each day.
Enrichment classes are offered to all after school attendees at a minimal additional cost to ensure regular attendance, self-commitment and personal growth in the respective enrichment course. Registration is based on a first-come, first-serve basis with a minimum registration requirement needed for programming to come to fruition. Waitlists will be created for each class, but acceptance into the enrichment class is not guaranteed if you are placed on the waitlist.
Total of Nine Mondays in Winter Term
- November 27
- December 4, 11
- January 8, 22, 29
- February 5, 12, 26
Martial Arts- Oom Yung Doe
Grades PK-1: 4:00 – 4:30 p.m.
Grades 2-5: 3:15 – 4:00 p.m.
Rate: $200.00 for term
*Need Minimum enrollment of 7 students per class (Max 15 per group)
Oom Yung Doe teaches eight complete martial arts as one. Through our course curriculum, students will gain a better understanding of their mind and body. Physically, they will develop coordination, strength and flexibility. Mentally, they will develop respect, discipline and focus. At the end of the semester, students will be given the opportunity to test for their first rank in Oom Yung Doe. See what your child can achieve through traditional martial arts training by experienced black belt medalists Ian Rubijonobond and Lily O'Neill.
Grades 2-5: 3:30- 4:30
Rate: $235 per term
*Minimum enrollment of 10 students (maximum of 18)
Coach Iana Dakova from the Pittsburgh Fencers Club is bringing the sport of fencing back to Shady Side! Your child will learn from Coach Iana who has over 40 years of fencing experience and is a former National Champion! Fencing is one of the oldest Olympic sports – fast-paced, quick decision making under pressure, team work, building strategies and mental discipline are essential parts of our training. It's no wonder why this Olympic Sport is known as the "Physical Chess." Fencing makes fitness fun! All necessary equipment will be provided.
Total of Eleven Tuesdays in Winter Term
- November 28
- December 5, 12
- January 9, 16, 23, 30
- Feb 6, 13, 20, 27
Dance! Ballet/Hip Hop/Jazz Combo
Grades 1-5: Tuesdays 4:00-4:45
Rate: $275. 00 per term
This is a beginner to intermediate dance class designed to introduce and refine dance skills for our elementary aged students to different styles of dance. Students will learn ballet, jazz, hip hop, and acro! We will learn many routines to popular hit songs that we will showcase to our families at the end of the term. Students may bring their own dance shoes if they wish, but they are not required. Find our more about the team at Dance INK over at their website
Grades PK-K: Tuesdays 3:30-4:00
Rate: $215. 00 per term
Creative movement is a form of dance that uses rhytmic, patterned, or improvised body movement, and it's one of the oldest art forms found in every culture around the world. Dance is often accompanied by music, but it's also a form of nonverbal communication and self expression. Our young friends will showcase their creative movement skills to our families at the end of the term. Find out more about the team at Dance INK over at their website.
Total of Twelve Wednesdays in Winter Term
- Nov 29
- Dec 6, 13
- January 3, 10, 17, 24, 31
- Feb 7, 14, 21, 28
Grades PK-K: 3:30 – 4 p.m. Grades 1-2: 4 – 4:30 p.m. Grades 3-5: 4:30 – 5:15 p.m.
Rate: Grades PK-2: $135 per term; Grades 3-5: $153 per term
*Minimum enrollment of 5 students per group or 15 per grade level (maximum of 12 students PK-K and 15 students Grades 1-2 and 3-5)
With decades of experience, award-winning Coach Mark Haffner combines exercises, positive encouragement and skilled training to help students advance to the next level as tennis pros. With an emphasis on agility and fun, Coach Mark pairs students of similar ability and age level to help encourage students to be "players not spectators." Students in the lower class levels will learn basic skills of dynamic and static movement, while students in the older classes will develop skills to play at a competitive level. Tennis rackets are provided, but students are encouraged to bring their own.
Pokemon Team Building
Grades 2-5: 3:30-4:30 p.m.
Rate: $215.00 per term
Maximum enrollment of 20 students (class minimum 12 students)
The team at Concorde Education is bringing a Pokemon Club to after school! To be competitive in the Pokemon card game, players must be able to out think and out maneuver their opponents. This requires extensive knowledge of the mechanics, items and characters in the game as well as ways to counter the most frequently encountered competitive teams. Students will utilize essential academic skills such as research, practice trial and error, and strategic decision making while exploring the highly engaging world of competitive Pokemon. All Pokemon cards will be provided for play. Students are not allowed to bring cards from home in accordance with Junior School policies.
Total of Twelve Thursdays in Winter Term
- Nov 30
- Dec 7, 14
- Jan 4, 11, 18, 25
- Feb 1, 8, 15, 22, 29
Grades K-1: 3:30 – 4:15 p.m. Grades 2-5: 4:15 – 5:15 p.m.
Rate: $200 per term
*Minimum enrollment of 20 students across 2 groups (maximum of 20 in grades K-1 and 24 in grades 2-5)
Having served our SSA youth since 2008, John Young, chess expert and instructor at a number of other local schools, teaches everything from the basics of the game to winning strategies. His calm and supportive teaching style provides a comfortable environment for beginner and advanced players to develop their game. Students in the younger classes will learn the fundamentals of the game, while students in the older groups will learn more complex strategies to develop their gameplay. The class culminates in an exciting tournament during the last classes where prizes are awarded!
Cooking Around The World
Grades PK-K: 3:30 – 4:00 p.m. Grades 1-5 4:15- 5:00
*Additional rates for materials apply, and a food sensitivity waiver must be completed upon enrollment
Rate: $275 per term + $35 ingredient fee
*Need Minimum enrollment of 5 students per class (Max 20 per group)
Does your child have a passion for cooking? In this cooking class taught by our own Senora Peterson, students will discover how to prepare delicious international and American dishes safely and skillfully. We'll explore diverse recipes from Africa, Asia, Europe, and North and South America, all kid-friendly and perfect for after-school cooking. During our sessions, your child will play kid's games from other countries, learn food terms from around the world, and receive simple recipes they can use at home. Recipes include Italian Lasagna, Ghanaian Fufu Dumplings, Japanese Rice Balls (Nigiri), Mexican Quesadilla and Salsa, American Mug Cake, Chinese Chaofan, French Fondue, and more!
Bring the Museum to You! Presented by the Carnegie Museum of Natural History
Grades PK-K: 4:30 – 5:00 p.m. Grades 1-5 3:30-4:15
*Please take special note of dates offered as some classes occur on Wednesdays.
Rate: $165 per child for 8 classes
Dates: Dec 12 (Wednesday), Dec 14, Jan 11, Jan 18, Jan 25, Feb 8, Feb 15, Feb 29
*Need Minimum enrollment of 10 students per class (Max 20 per group)
The Education Outreach Team from Carnegie's Museum of Natural History is excited to bring the museum back to Shady Side! Each week we will explore different museum exhibits using real artifacts from the museum and even some animal visitors. Some of the topics we will cover include Ancient Egypt, Paleontology, Rocks and Geology, the Three Sisters of Indigenous American Agriculture, and so much more!
Total of Eleven Fridays in Winter Term
- Dec 1, 8, 15
- Jan 5, 19, 26
- Feb 2, 9, 16, 23
- Mar 1
Science Surprise! Presented by Mad Science
Grades PK-K: 3:30 – 4:00 p.m.
Rate: $235.00 per term
Maximum enrollment of 20 students (class minimum 12 students)
Join our Science Surprise Program at ASE where kids explore a new STEM topic each week! Delve in entomology, inspect fluorescing minerals, explore simple machines, uncover the science behind the big screen, play with motorized toys, experience a static indoor storm, and embark on a nutrient hunt! Find out more about this class at Mad Science of Pittsburgh's website.
Crazy Chemworks! Presented by Mad Science
Grades 1-5: 4:15-5:00 p.m.
Rate: $235 per term
Maximum enrollment of 20 students (class minimum 10 students)
Shake up a flask of fun in the lab as a junior chemist! This hands on and interactive program of chemistry for our elementary aged friends is packed with solid and cool reactions from making slime to explosive volcanoes! Students put on goggles and change liquid to solid and back again. We will handle lab equipment, build and break molecules, and pick up some tricks on chemical changes. Find out more about this class at Mad Science of Pittsburgh's website.
A skilled music teacher will lead enrolled students in one 30-minute music lesson per week. Instruments include piano and ukulele. Lessons are based upon availability and offered for an additional $30 per lesson.
Note: Students enrolled in music lessons are enrolled FOR THE YEAR and are expected to practice at home each day. Classes will culminate with a recital at the end of the school year. Families will need to enroll in Daily Care the same day as their music lesson. Children will be enrolled for the same lesson time each term. Due to the nature of the program, we are unable to shift days and times for lessons.
Hosted at both Junior School and Country Day School campuses
$80 Per Day • 7:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
October 23, 2023
- November 20, 2023 Registration open!
- January 2, 2024 Registration open!
- January 12, 2024 Registration open!
- April 15, 2024
- May 20, 2024
- Space is limited and enrollment is competitive. Please be sure to sign up when registration becomes available!
- Waiting List: If the program is sold out online, please make sure to formally enroll in the specific waiting list. If space becomes available we will be in contact immediately for a seamless transition into the program. (Waitlisted does not guarantee a spot.)
No Care Available
- Monday, Sept. 4 – Labor Day
- Monday, Sept. 25– Yom Kippur
- Tuesday-Friday, Nov. 21-24 – Thanksgiving Break
- Monday Dec. 25-Monday, Jan. 1 – Winter Break
- Monday, Jan. 15 – Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
- Monday, Feb. 19– Presidents' Day
- Friday, March 29 – Good Friday
- Monday, May 27 – Memorial Day
Hosted at the Shady Side Academy Junior School in Point Breeze and open to PK-5 students from either Country Day School or Junior School.
(Programming for these break camps are contingent on staffing availability)
Winter Break Camp: December 18-22 Registration Open Nov 6th!
Spring Break Camps: March 18-22 & March 25-28
- Families must provide lunches and snacks daily.
- Camp runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Junior School.
- FREE before care begins at 8 a.m.
- After care is available until 6 p.m. at an additional cost of $20 per child.
- All activities (excluding field trips) included in the program cost.
- Late registrations are subject to a $20 fee. Some programs may not accept late registrations.
- Registration closes one week before the start of the camp.
Car Pool Pick-Up:
When you arrive at the Jr. School via South Braddock Avenue, please join the carpool line around the front of the main building via the traffic circle. Feel free to text us a few minutes prior with your child’s first and last name, location “carpool line” as well as an estimated time of arrival at 412-254-4772. It will take a few minutes to dismiss your child from activities and gather their belongings. If you do not text, no worries, simply tell any outside staff member overseeing dismissal, including our Campus Safety Officer and pull all the way forward in the line. Your child’s counselor and/or our dismissal staff will then walk your child directly to your vehicle. We ask that you please remain in your car (see Buckle-Up Spot below) so that we can safely and efficiently dismiss.
Buckle Up Spot: Staff are not permitted to buckle children into cars or car seats. Once our staff has delivered your child to the car, please simply pull-up to the front by the main office and buckle up from there. This will assist our carpool line to be safely located directly on the sidewalk by the gym dismissal doors and keep it efficient.
Park your vehicle in the spots along the chain link fence or the back parking lot and walk to the side gym doors, these are the doors closet to the field/fence. We ask that you do not park in the carpool line itself. To enter the building please make sure to check-in with our Campus Safety Officer or an ASE Staff Member. If we do not recognize you, we will ask that you do not enter until we receive confirmation that you are authorized to pick up the child in question. If anyone that is not authorized to pick up, i.e. that is not listed on your Camp Brain account as an emergency contact or in the household file, please inform us at email@example.com or give us a call or text at 412-254-4772.
Gate on Ben Hur St. for Pick-up:
To ensure continued safety, the Ben Hur Street gate will always remain locked during After School and our staff will unlock to dismiss and re-lock immediately after. Please text 412-254-477 with your child’s first and last name as well as an estimated time of arrival and the location “back gate.” All authorized pick-up guardians will remain outside the gate until your child is brought to you and our staff unlock. Please note that the Ben Hur Street gate should only be used by local families in the surrounding neighborhood. In hopes of also maintaining a fantastic relationship with our neighbors, we ask that no cars park on Ben Hur St. directly during pick-up. The Ben Hur Street gate will only be utilized as weather permits. If there is inclement weather, we move the program inside entirely and the gate will not be utilized for dismissal.
Late Pick-Up Policy:
After 6 p.m., a late pick-up fee of $10/child will be added for the first 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, the late fee increases to $10/child per minute. Families who are late more than three times in one term will be charged $10/minute/child on subsequent late pick-ups. Charges will be added to the end of term bill.
Additional Pick-up Notes
-Please don't forget to drive slowly around campus, especially when you are pulling out of the pick-up line.
-We ask that all children enter the vehicle on the passenger side, closest to the building for ease of access and safety.
-If you are waiting for more than 5 minutes, please feel free to text twice! At busy times of dismissal, we will have a long list of communications from parents and gathering multiple children having loads of fun across the school.
To maintain proper records and ensure the safety of our students and staff, there will be no refunds or pro-rated fees for missed days/time at SSA After School programs. This includes, but is not limited to, due to illness/injury (including COVID-19), vacation time, or early dismissals.
Enrollment & Payment:
After school requires a per child application deposit of $25, via credit card, to complete enrollment. The remaining balance will be billed on a term basis via your VC Pay student account. Charges sent to VC Pay will be added after the end of the each term in November, February and June. All enrichment programs are in addition to the Daily Care fees. Enrichment classes are only eligible to those enrolled in Daily Care. Each enrichment class requires a minimum number of students enrolled to conduct the class, and cancellations can not be made after enrichment classes begin. All Drop-in Daily care attendees must enroll formally via the Camp Brain system at least one time per term. If attending Cross Country or any non-After School clubs and needing After Care, families must enroll in the Drop-In Daily Care or the appropriate Daily Care day of the week. Please note, there will be no billing adjustments for any cancellations following the first week of After School per term start.
If a program and/or day is sold out online, please make sure to formally enroll in the specific waiting list. If space becomes available we will be in contact immediately for a seamless transition into the program. Being waitlisted does not guarantee a spot.
We are currently ONLY accepting day-of emergency drop-ins. If you are in need, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org immediately so we can assist! Each new enrollment, per term, requires a one-time online registration.
SSA After School subscribes to the Guiding Principles of Shady Side Academy: Honesty, Kindness, Responsibility, Respect and Safety. It’s paramount that children act accordingly and participate as good citizens in the community.
Things that are never okay to do at After School:
- Hitting, shoving, pushing or physical violence
- Verbal abuse, offensive language or bullying
- Lying or manipulating the truth
- Stealing or taking things without asking
- Destroying property
- Possessing, using or distributing drugs or alcohol
- Bringing weapons of any kind to school
- Ignoring staff or staff directions
Consequences at After School:
We expect all children to follow the "Shady Side Way" and demonstrate care, respect and responsibility at all times; children must also exhibit self-control, kindness and follow instructions. Children who do not follow the rules will be asked to take responsibility for their actions.
If a student breaks a rule, they will receive a verbal warning from a counselor and will talk through their choices and come up with a plan to rejoin the group after they have taken some time to calm down and reflect on their actions.
If the child ignores the verbal warning and continues with poor behavior, both the child and a parent/guardian may be asked to meet with the Director or Site-Coordinator to help the child make a constructive plan for improved behavior.
If, after the meeting, the child still does not follow the after school rules, they may be suspended and/or asked to leave the program. In this case, a refund will not be issued.
In extreme cases, to ensure the safety of the after school community, the Director or Site-Coordinator(s) reserve the right to expel a child at their own discretion. In this situation, refunds will not be provided.
Director of After School
Sarah Chedwick has been supporting students and their families through their education journeys for many years as a School Age Administrator and Early Childhood Educator. With over 10 years in the education field, Sarah has an abundance of experience in building enriching programs for students and their families and mentoring new staff in their career pathways.
How do I register?
Registration is on a first-come, first-served basis. At the beginning of each term, you will receive an email to let you know that registration is open. Visit the Register Now! tab above to find the link to our online registration site when registration is open.
Do I need to send payment with my registration?
There will be a non-refundable application deposit fee of $25, paid via credit card. The remainder of your after-school balance will be billed by the school at the end of each term via your Student Account in November, February and June .
How do I pick my child up from After School Explorers?
For the safety of your child, all doors to the Junior School are locked and children will be picked up from After School using SSA's car pool process. Guardians will not be permitted to enter the building. When you arrive to pick up your child, please send a text with the child's name to 412-254-4772, and an ASE staff member will bring your child to your vehicle.
Can I use the gate on Ben Hur St. for Pick-up?
To ensure continued safety and security, the gate will remain locked at all times during the After School Program. If you plan on using the locked gate on Ben Hur St., please text 412-254-4772 that you have arrived at the back gate and include your child's name in the text. We kindly ask that you remain outside the locked gate until your child is brought to you. Pick-up from the Ben Hur gate should ONLY be used by families who live within the surrounding neighborhood, it is not an alternative pick-up spot to avoid traffic on Braddock Ave. In hopes of also maintaining a fantastic relationship with our neighbors, we ask that no cars park on Ben Hur St. during pick-up.
Who are the instructors for the program? Are students properly supervised?
Along with the After School Director Sarah Chedwick, a consistent group of qualified and experienced staff supervise students during activities, homework help and playtime.
After School Explorers Registration
After School Explorers registration for Winter Term 2023-24 will open on Monday, November 6, at 10 a.m. and close on Sunday, November 19, at 4 p.m. at the link below.
All after school programming is contingent on student enrollment.
Note: After School Explorers is only available to currently enrolled SSA Junior School families.
In-Service Day Registration
In-Service Day Registration will also open the same day of After School registration each term with the days that are available for In-Service Day care that term. Don't forget to register, spaces fill up fast!
Winter Break Camp Registration will open November 6th
Spring Break Camp Registration will open mid-February.