Just inside the front door, past shelves full of typewriters, a complete set of Nancy Drew mysteries and curiosities from days gone by, are a pair of old, patterned curtains marking the entrance to the WordPlay writing center.
On any given day, children stroll past these vintage relics to a magical space where they are celebrated as Writers, Poets, Scholars and Artists. Not to mention, Philosophers... where else will you find children from vastly different backgrounds, neighborhoods and income levels collaborating in group discussions about metacognition, issues of self and identity, ethics and the art of compassion?
Afternoons at WordPlay are a beautiful cross-section of our big-picture goals: teach children about the power of a diverse and inclusive community, inspire a deep and lasting love of learning, and build the confidence necessary for this young generation to shape a successful future both in and beyond the classroom.
This August, as most children are squeezing all they can out of these last carefree weeks of summer, the staff at WordPlay is hard at work preparing for the start of the school year, ready to roll out an exciting lineup of weekday and Saturday offerings. As always, all of our programs are free to all who participate.
Our Summer Scholars after-school program offers students in grades K-8 homework help, literacy skills, creative writing, and this year we are including Drop Everything and Read time (D.E.A.R) into our daily routine, thanks to a partnership with literacy specialists at the University of Cincinnati's School of Education.
The "Happy Hour" meets Monday - Thursday from 5-6 pm and is also open to students in grades K-8. These creative workshops feature multi-disciplinary artistic themes blending the visual, performing and literary arts, and are led by notable area writers, artists and educators.
Thanks to generous funding from a local family foundation, our Writer-in-Residence Program will continue to grow in its second year, enhancing both WordPlay Scholars and the Happy Hour and Saturday young writers circles.
WordUP, our innovative academic intervention and creative writing program with Aiken New Tech High School resumes in September. We are very proud to announce that 5 students from our first WordUP cohort graduated from Aiken in May and are headed to college this fall! We are looking forward to another very successful year ahead.
WordPlay Saturdays continue from 12-4 pm, with writing workshops boasting weekly themes in Science Fiction writing, current events, and experiences in self-discovery. Our partnership with Northside non-profit Visionaries + Voices also extends into the school year, when their Teaching Artists will visit one Saturday a month to lead the children in a visual art project. Students will then process their experience with a writing prompt and self-reflection.
For teenagers, WordPlay's spoken word program led by Teaching Artist Desirae Hosley will meet each Saturday from 12-2 pm, giving high school students in-depth experience in the craft of bringing their poetry to the stage, including preparation for the 2015/16 Louder Than a Bomb youth poetry slam. We will also have drop-in time at the Homework Table from 2-4 pm, where volunteer tutors skilled in all subjects are ready to help students of all ages from Kindergarten through 12th grade with assignments, school projects, and literacy skills.
And because building community is at the core of all that we do, we encourage our Northside neighbors to consider how you can join our efforts. You can be a volunteer tutor, contribute your talents to creative and organizational needs behind-the-scenes, or assist at one of our off-site awareness-raising events throughout the year.
Registration week is August 24 - 27 from 3-6 pm, and regular programming begins on Monday, August 31. Space is limited, and income restrictions apply for select programs. Visit www.wordplaycincy.org to see our calendar of programs.
To learn more about enrolling a student or how to get involved as a volunteer, please call 513-541-0930, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also find us at the Northside Block Party on August 8th, and Cincy Summer Streets on August 23rd.
by: Libby Hunter, co-founder and Executive Director of WordPlay Cincy
List poem by WordPlay's Typing Pool young writers circle: Dear WordPlay: Thank you for being so lovely to us; We've met lots of fascinating people through you; You turn misanthropes into happy readers and writers; We love to play with words; You may be slightly disorderly at times but you are still impeccable; You are peonies in bloom to our hearts. Love, Typing Pool