With all the negative attention education in Philadelphia receives, the community forgets about the different opportunities laced throughout the city. While there are endless programs serving the area’s youth, there are an abundance of classes and workshops available to all ages and skill levels. From arts education to STEM concepts, Philadelphia is a hub for learning a new skill or improving an old one. These places are among some of the interesting classes available in the city.
The students from the William H. Meredith School (pictured above) get a chance to learn about robotics and engineering all through the use of Legos. Snapology’s programs introduce children to learning about science, technology, engineering, math and literacy. They offer after school classes, camps, workshops, private events and birthday parties. Founder Larry Davis and his wife started the program a year and a half ago and now serve multiple schools in the Philadelphia and Maine Line areas. Davis wanted to give students something different to do from the usual after school programs.
“This isn’t necessarily competing with those things, but not everyone wants to play soccer for example,” said Davis. “Lego is the number one toy in the world and a lot of the things we do in class shows kids how to play with their Legos differently than they would at home.”
This small school, tucked away at 2030 Frankford Ave. in Kensington, offers all different levels of Tango classes for the dancer and non-dancer. On the first Friday of every month, they even offer a free class from 7-8 p.m. for people to come out to learn and engage in a new type of dance. One of the tango instructors, Kristin Balmer wanted to introduce Philadelphia natives to Tango because it is different and involves a lot of communication.
“It is this kind of physical language and physical intimacy that is really powerful,” said Balmer.
The school also offers regular classes and full-time students get a 10 percent discount.
Transform, passion and inspire. Those are the words printed on the banners leading to Fleisher Art Memorial, located at 719 Catherine St. in South Philadelphia. What use to be an old church in the late 19th century, is now a multi-level art school offering classes from painting to sculpture making. One of the most popular courses the school offers is ceramics for all age groups and skill levels. Communications director Dominic Mercier believes the free classes and reduced tuition drives residents to take new art classes.
“We have about 500 students taking classes on Saturdays, not including our adult classes, so we serve about 17,000 students annually,” said Mercier.
For anyone wanting to try their hand at comedy, the Good Good Comedy Theater at 215 N. 11th St. can make that happen. They recently started offering a sketch comedy class (pictured above) from 2-4 p.m. on Saturdays that is open to experienced comedians or anyone interested in comedy. Along with putting on shows, the theater offers a producing, improv and playwriting class as well. Sketch comedy writer and instructor Sean Keegan-Landis learned by taking classes.
“They’re just trying their hand at something a little bit new,” said Keegan-Landis about the comedy writers who take the class.
Calling all parents with young children, Nest has redefined the word playdate. Located in Center City and Chestnut Hill, the Nest Philly team brings arts, music, sports and health all together in one place for families to experience. The Jr. Jamboree class (pictured above) lets toddlers move freely around the room while practicing their gymnastic skills. The child enrichment and activity center offers a variety of kid classes and services. Newborns to 5-year-olds are encouraged to play and learn, while parents are welcomed into each class for bonding time with their child.
– Text and images by Diamond Jones and Mackenzie Dougherty