By 3:30 on Monday September 20th, there was already a small crowd of Spells regulars on the stoop of our lab in North Philly. Volunteers were inside quickly assembling the last of the new red chairs to match the vibrant colors that decorate the interior of the building. As the doors opened, there was a stampede up to the loft to check out the new additions to our library and settle in on the big comfy couch. It was time to begin the revamped after-school tutoring program at Spells!
We’ve had a great first month of tutoring, full of catching up with regulars and meeting new students who were drawn to the lab by the promise of a safe space for creativity and enjoying learning. A normal afternoon at Spells (if there is such a thing) begins downstairs with homework and tutoring time—and, now that the weather is cooler, lab coats! Even students who finish their homework early get the chance to stretch their brains with fun games such as Mad-Libs, math bingo, and Bananagrams. After a healthy snack (a favorite being clementines) and story time, we head outside to loosen up our bodies and minds. The art park next door is transformed into a makeshift baseball diamond with home-run sluggers as our Spellsian artists create sidewalk masterpieces with chalk.
For the last thirty minutes, we congregate inside once again for a writing workshop! In the coming weeks, we’ll be using this time to work on ongoing writing projects such as tabletop superhero films and the epic adventures of our eccentric fictional founder, Dr. Benjamin Franklin Spells. Stay tuned to hear more about how our wacky creations unfold!