For all children to be nourished by healthy, joyful eating habits at every meal, every day.
Smarty Pants Are Leaders’ primary goal is to accomplish grade improvement and increase school attendance. We believe by setting these standards early, children will continue to have better attendance into middle school and high school ensuring more successful graduates from high school. With a strong foundation of leadership skills at an early age, we can contribute more significant young leaders to the world community tomorrow.
SMARTY PANTS ARE LEADERS ARE HEALTHY EATERS. It is an important aspect of the SPAL program that children learn to be healthy eaters so that all children are nourished by healthy, joyful eating habits at every meal, every day. Each day, the participating children will receive a snack. SPAL has established nutritional values to support the food that will be grown as part of the program, which will be cooked and eaten by the children. All foods provided to the children is organic, including both grown and purchased items.
SPAL has aligned its curriculum with the applicable Illinois Learning Standards, which are promulgated by the Illinois State Board of Education and are applicable to all public in Illinois. SPAL believes that “thinking outside the box” isn’t just a phrase – it’s a way of life. SPAL therefore offers a challenging but engaging interdisciplinary curriculum comprised of “Art Reflects Life” (artistic self-expression), “Kinder Gardens” (urban farming), the scientific study of Family History (Genealogy), Theatre Play, Poetry in Motion (body movement), and Quiet Time (expressive and reflective meditation). While most after-school programs present one subject, SPAL’s multi-faceted approach keeps the students absorbed in its alternative art based programs. By motivating the mind, body, and spirit of each student, each child also learns a new set of soft skills (such as multi-tasking and accountability) that will, in turn, benefit his or her everyday life and future prospects.
A Note About “Quiet Time” – Once a day, everyone gathers together for Circle in a Square. This is a time for community and discovery through both group discussion and private reflection or meditation. Although meditation is not mandatory it is highly recommended. Although the term “mediation” often carries a religious stigma, it is simply a time for the students to focus on their breath and become quiet to tune into themselves without distraction. Often the stress that young people carry is realized in violent ways because they are unaware of ways to manage their frustrations. This type of quiet thought has been proven to minimize stress immediately and provide long-term benefits as well.
We believe that once a person can find beauty in art imitating life (Art Reflects Life), develops a relationship to nature by getting their hands into the soil (Kinder Gardens), and eating the fruits of their labor, they will become confident leaders on every level and not follow the path of others. Furthermore, when a student knows a little about their family lineage (Family History), has a better understanding of body language (Poetry In Motion), knows how to enunciate and project when communicating (Theater Play), connects with their breath and with each other (Quiet Time) the possibilities for growth are endless. Other benefits include:
SPAL is dedicated to helping children improve in the areas they need most. For this purpose, interaction with family members, teachers, and school administrators is key.
Final projects are presented to team members and the student group as rehearsal then presented to parents during an evening event. Students are given an opportunity to choose how they want to express or perform their final project. The oral presentations are standing or performed.