Enriching the Experience

By Fraser Coffeen
Assistant Head of School
for Academic and Auxiliary Programs

While the typical Lower School day may officially end at three o’clock, anyone who has been here after that time knows that the building is far from quiet. Because when the buzz of the classroom comes to an end, the buzz of our enrichment programming is just beginning.

The enrichment program gives all Canterbury Lower School students the ability to extend their day by engaging in unique, enlightening, and just plain fun activities. Each quarter, Lower School students have a plethora of enrichment opportunities to choose from. Those programs typically run for 45 minutes one day a week after school for roughly seven weeks. More than just an opportunity for parents to have their children stay later, these programs truly offer something enriching for students, no matter where their interests lie.

“Lower School enrichment offers something for everyone,” says Enrichment Coordinator Wendy Wilson. With a program based around Canterbury’s “Artist. Athlete. Scholar.” motto, enrichment truly does offer a wide range of options for the curious Lower School student to take part in. This year has already seen courses offered in Dance, Chess, Baton Twirling, Piano, Gymnastics, Novel Writing, Crafts, Clay Work, Karate, Running, as well as the ever popular Escape Room, just to name a few.

Part of what makes Canterbury’s enrichment special is the ability for students to try new things - a belief that is consistent with the school’s philosophy of inclusion. Canterbury believes in the importance of students being able to try things out, especially during these formative Lower School years, and this program provides them the ability to do just that, all within the school environment they know and trust, surrounded by their friends and supportive teachers. “It’s an opportunity to explore more than what we can offer in a regular school day,” says Wilson.

And that’s not only true for students, it’s true for teachers as well. Enrichment gives the faculty the opportunity to share their unique talents with students. Many times, those are talents students never even knew their teachers had, as students saw at a Chapel earlier this year.

To kick off each quarter’s enrichment program, faculty presents a special Chapel presentation where they highlight their offerings, sharing those talents and getting students interested in what’s to come. Wilson recalls earlier this year watching Ms. Myers show off her baton twirling skills before many surprised and delighted young students. “You could just see the excitement in their eyes!”

As we look ahead to the future of enrichment programs in the Lower School, the goal is to both increase programming and make scheduling and planning simpler for parents. This year, we added a quarterly enrichment calendar which includes all enrichment offerings in one easy-to-access calendar available online. For the 2022-2023 school year, the goal is to have that calendar created for the entire year before summer break. In doing so, we hope to make accessing enrichment programs even easier so that more and more students can end their days together, sharing in the excitement as proud Canterbury Cavaliers.