Enrichment Programs


Enrichment programs are in-class activities designed to give students the opportunity to try new things and explore and develop interests outside of the standard curriculum. Activities can range from dance to engineering, musical theater to fine art.  Enrichment programs are a great way to encourage students to follow their passions, develop new interests, and build new skills. The Parents' Association funds several enrichment programs per grade, from Kindergarten to 5th. Each program ranges 6-12 weeks and is taught by experts in the respective field. Here are some of the Enrichment programs that have been at P.S. 144 in the past. 

Bricks 4 Kidz (1st grade) • This is a hands-on class where the students build machines, buildings, vehicles and other structures out of LEGO bricks, using one-of-a-kind model plans designed by Bricks 4 Kidz. Each class begins with a teacher-led discussion related to the model of the day that will be built. Once the project is completed student’s use the rest of their time to modify their model builds and collaborate with one another. Each week there will be a new project and while exploring principles of engineering, architecture, physics and more, students will develop problem solving and critical thinking skills. (January -March) www.brick4kidz.com/458


The Broadway Class - Beatles and Beyond (4th grade and 452) • Former Broadway actress Leah Zepel along with her husband, musical director, Rob Preuss bring a unique music history class to P.S.144.  The students will explore the history of pop music starting with the music of the Beatles-who their influences were, and how they changed the landscape of music to this day.  The students will learn how the Beatles music influenced some of their favorite contemporary artists such as Ariana Grande, Taylor Swift, Maroon 5 and more. This enrichment program will end with a choreographed Beatles themed show.  (November - January) www.TheBroadwayClass.com


Common Kids Musical (1st grade) • Local teaching artists Kimbirdlee and Jonathan Fadner will work with our 1st graders for 10 weeks in this musical theater enrichment program.  This musical theatre enrichment program aims to cultivate the skills that not only apply to musical theatre and dramatic arts - specifically singing, dancing and acting - but also hone valuable life skills that are proven to benefit young people academically and socially. Dramatic arts are linked to building confidence and self awareness which carries into all aspects of life. (October - December) www.commonmanmusicals.com


Dancing Classrooms (5th grade) • This perennial favorite teaches the art of ballroom dance culminating in a performance for parents. The goal of the program is to inspire confidence, teamwork, and a sense of personal achievement in all students by turning advanced ballroom dance lessons into a fun and creative group activity.  During the 10 - week program, students will learn the steps and cultural histories of the Merengue, Foxtrot, Rumba, Tango, Swing and Waltz. Our dancers have been featured in the film Mad Hot Ballroom and participated in citywide competitions. (September - December) www.dancingclassrooms.com 


DNA Learning Center (5th grade) • This enrichment program brings the excitement of molecular biology to P.S.144 in partnership with the DNA Learning Center of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratories.  This in class, 4 session program, includes a variety of hands-on experiments to introduce students to the wonderful world of molecular biology. (May) www.dnalc.org


Garden Players Music Theory and Performance with Betina Hershey (K) • Local and touring musician, educator, and composer Betina Hershey brings in innovative methods of child music literacy with a great sense of fun to our kindergarteners. This program is based on the Kodaly music method with the idea that every single human being can sing on pitch, feel the beat, keep rhythm, learn to sight sing, notate music, and understand music as a language. Concepts covered include solfeggio notes, rhythms, pitch, music reading, music note placement, music games and songs, both a cappella and with guitar accompaniment. (October - January) www.betinahershey.comwww.gardenplayers.com 


Garden Players Music Folk Songs with Betina Hershey (3rd grade) • Local and touring musician, performer, educator, and composer Betina Hershey brings in innovative methods of music literacy including solfeggio, music reading and writing, rhythm compositions, and performance techniques through songs that inspire discussion and community. This folk song enrichment program culminates in a Folk Song Sing-Along Assembly with student choreography and with professional local and touring musician Nick Russo adding to the musical accompaniment.  (April - May) www.betinahershey.comwww.gardenplayers.com  


Garden Players Musical Theater Writing with Betina Hershey (4th grade) • Betina Hershey, local and touring musician and composer, has 5 children's musicals which are performed all over the world and published by Beat by Beat Press. In this musical theater writing enrichment program, she guides the fourth graders through the steps of adapting a book into a mini-musical, learning musical theater song structures, writing scenes and songs collaboratively and preparing to perform their mini-musicals. They also continue with music theory, solfeggio, ear training, rhythm compositions, and rounds. (January -March) www.betinahershey.comwww.gardenplayers.com


Garden Players Music and Theory with Betina Hershey (5th grade) • Local and touring musician, performer, educator, and composer guides the 5th graders towards developing greater confidence, teamwork and musicianship through harmony, classical rounds, positive and energized body language, vocal technique, songs from the traditional American songbook, jazz scat singing, graduation songs, and a continuation of solfeggio, rhythm training, music reading and writing. This culminates with the 5th grade singing at graduation. (Spring) www.betinahershey.comwww.gardenplayers.com 


Guggenheim Learning Through Art (3rd grade) • New York's famed Guggenheim Museum has created an innovative program focusing on the intersection of art and science. LTA cultivates student creativity by designing sustained, process-oriented art projects that support learning across the curriculum. During the 20-week in-school enrichment program, our students examine, discuss, and create works of art. Past years have featured Da Vinci inspired inventions, the science of color, and the artistic rendering of kinetic and mechanical energy. Children make multiple visits to the museum which offers new insights into art and challenges them to think critically about art and ideas. At the conclusion of the enrichment program there will be an in-school exhibition featuring the work of every child in the grade, and selected student works are exhibited in the annual A Year with Children exhibition held at the Guggenheim Museum. (October - April) www.guggenheim.org/for-educators/learning-through-art


Path to Rhythm: Group Drumming Program (2nd grade and Class 425) • Adam Issadore, Teaching Artist and founder of Path to Rhythm, will lead interactive classes using authentic African hand drums called Djembes. This 5 week enrichment program will expose children to music making of other cultures, create a sense of community and connection, encourage active listening, communication and creative expression and help our students release energy.  By the end of the fifth session, students will be able to play rhythms in unison and will demonstrate what they have learned in an open class. (September - December) www.pathtorhythm.com


Puppetry (2nd grade) • 2nd graders learn the art of puppetry, from creation to performance under the tutelage of a Marquis Studios teaching artist. Each student creates his or her own papier-mâché puppet to use in an original performance. The student creates distinct, recognizable characters that come alive through costumes, props, shape of features and expressions. The class learns the various skills of puppetry art, which include design, sketching, sculpture and painting. Once the puppets are made, the class writes a script and begins the puppet show production—staging, scenery design, music and sound effects. In the rehearsal process, the students are encouraged to build vocal projection and theater skills. Self-confidence and free expression are enhanced through this process. www.marquisstudios.org


Queens Museum (4th-5th grade) • The Queens Museum is a vital local institution, occupying The New York State Building featured in the 1964 World's Fair. Our partnership with QM sees every fourth and fifth grader engaging with contemporary artists in the classroom and at the museum, using the museum's permanent and temporary exhibitions as inspiration. Previous work has included explorations of bridge engineering, interior and exterior architecture, sculpture, picture book illustration (with the opportunity to meet acclaimed children's author and illustrator Brian Selznick), Warholian exploration of pop art, and a study of physical modeling of the New York watershed, among other innovative projects. In addition to focusing on classical technical skills, the QM program inspires creativity in applied design as well as fine art. The QM partnership includes ArtsAccess programming especially geared toward children with varying abilities providing tools that may be used every day in the classroom. Our contribution to this program is partially matched by a grant from the New York State Council for the Arts. (4th: October - January/ 5th: January - May) www.queensmuseum.org


Together In Dance – ABCs of Creative Movement (Kindergarten) • This enrichment program is designed to provide high quality dance education to early learners, while providing teachers with skills and knowledge in order to integrate movement into their daily activities. Students will learn to deepen connections between arts learning and cognitive, social and personal development. They will be taught discipline and how to foster self-expression thereby developing communications skills – both verbally and kinesthetically. The classes will help students create strategies to work cooperatively and collaboratively while engaging them in the creative process of dance making. (November - March) www.togetherindance.org 


Yo Re Mi (3rd grade) • This brand new, 10-week enrichment program combines music, yoga and mindfulness education into a curriculum-based class that promotes a child’s physical, social, emotional and mental health. In every Yo Re Mi class, children warm up, take an adventure using original songs and movement sequences, and practice mindfulness and relaxation. (January - March) www.yoremikids.com