Local Learning. Before and After School Programs and Activities

Barrie After School Programs

We can hear the kids groaning now: “But it’s only August!” Sorry, little ones. But the good news is that the Barrie area offers an excellent array of Before and After School programming. To give you the scoop on some local options, Look Local spoke with businesses that provide not only educational, but super fun Before and After School programs and activities.

Bulldog Interactive Fitness (Barrie) 

Bulldog Interactive Fitness strikes a balance between outdoor and indoor activities, according to owner Amy Arbour. “Our new facility has a huge outdoor space as well as a gym, with play structures both inside and outside,” says Arbour. “We have indoor rock-climbing and video games they can play, which are all interactive—so the kids need to move to make them work.”

Bulldog also offers some amazing themed programming. “Every week, we work based on a different theme. It could be Harry Potter or Star Wars for a week, and all the games are themed to that,” says Arbour. When I told Arbour that I would have loved that as a kid, she replied: “That’s our approach: if we were kids, would we think this was awesome? And if we would think it’s awesome, then we’re planning it!”

On top of their themed weeks, Bulldog now offers elective programs. “The kids can choose to sign up for music and martial arts lessons, as well as the regular Bulldog program,” says Arbour. “We had a lot of parents leaving work early to pick up their kids and take them to music lessons. Now, it will be all in one place. They can pick them up at 6pm, and they’re good to go.”

Local Learning

Kidz Nation (Innisfil)

Similar to Bulldog Interactive Fitness, Kidz Nation, based out of Innisfil, now offers elective programming. According to Heather Moon, owner of Kidz Nation, “We started off being martial arts and decided to add on to our program by having dance, music, and sports programs.”

Beyond extra-curriculars, Kidz Nation focuses on fostering a positive and respectful environment for kids. This centres on the Positive Attitude Training that is at the core of their programming. “We really focus on the positive and teach them to focus on the positive as well,” says Moon. “If kids could have that early, it makes such a big difference. There’s a lot of different ways to look at the world, and the happier you are, the better off you are. The happy people win.”

Kidz Nation also practises respect and understanding toward parents. “We don’t charge extra for parents that are late,” says Moon. “We tell our parents that if it’s snowing or raining, or if you’re in a traffic jam, don’t rush and don’t worry. Your kids are safe. We’ll be here and we’ll take care of them. Just worry about getting yourself here safe.”

Barrie After School Programs

Oxford Learning (Barrie South)

What can you do to prep your kids before they return to school?

According to Laurey Fawcett, Centre Director and Co-Owner of Oxford Learning Barrie South, it’s a good idea to keep your kids active in education through the summer. “Not being in any type of supplemental education during the summer actually takes away some of their progress,” says Fawcett. “Over the summer, it’s been proven that they lose about six weeks-worth of the knowledge that they learned in the year prior.”

In addition to one-on-one tutoring, Oxford Learning offers Cognitive Learning programs: where kids learn how to learn. “Cognitive learning is a more in-depth type of supplemental education. It’s much more personalized, and it’s long-term,” says Fawcett. “All academic skills become stronger because you’re working on things like problem-solving, integrating information, focus, concentration, all kinds of different points within learning. And those skills can be adapted very easily to different subjects.”

Their personalized approach yields incredible results for kids, according to Fawcett. “It changes everything. It changes their outlook, their confidence, and their willingness to take risks. They now know that what was a weakness before that challenged them is something they can handle with the right tools. They make that weakness into a strength, and it opens up their world.”

by Emily Bednarz

Local Links

Bulldog Interactive Fitness

Kidz Nation

Oxford Learning Barrie South


After School Programs

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