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Read Me - CHEC's Coronavirus Response

May 2021 : (May 03, 2021 - May 24, 2021)
May 3,10,17 & 24. NO Make-up Dates
Register before 2021-04-27 to avoid the late registration fee of $5.00 per class.
Scholarship applications are due by 2021-04-26.
Class Cost Ages Instructor Enrolled Room Site Status
Monday - 11:00-12:20
Build a Fairy House
Do you believe in fairies? What about trolls? In this class, we’ll build tiny houses and furniture from twigs you gather around the park. Make a house that a fairy could live in, or one that looks like your own miniature fantasy house. Gather and build with moss, acorns, small pine cones, and bark. Once the house is built, we’ll decorate it with ribbon, leaves, flowers - whatever we can find. We will also explore making troll bridges, ladders, and more!
Notes: We will use hot glue guns in this class.
Prerequisites:
Sculpture - Make tiny twig houses
$62.00 5-8 Janet Beals 8/8 TBA Outdoors Waitlist
Photography for Kids: Up, Down, and All Around!
We'll learn how to use our cellphones and cameras to capture photographs of nature along the Rivanna River. We'll experiment with how small movements can change a picture, and we'll search for colors within the landscape. Plants and animals will be featured. We will also teach underwater photography taken from on shore, using cameras provided by the Lewis & Clark Exploratory Center. For the last class, we'll put together a map of Darden Towe Park using the photographs we've taken. Instructor Alexandria Searls is the Executive Director of the Lewis & Clark Exploratory Center and is the author of "21 Days of Mindful Photography," a workbook for adults.
Notes: Bring your camera or cellphone!
Prerequisites:
We'll hike and learn photography.
$55.00 8-11 Lewis and Clark Exploratory Center 6/6 TBA Outdoors Waitlist
My Three Chambered Heart (9-12)
What are the differences between a legless lizard and a snake? My Three Chambered Heart continues with yet more reptiles to meet and learn about. We will discuss reptile evolution in depth and see some of the oldest and youngest living species. We will cover the importance and impact of phylogenetic taxonomy on the science. Animals coming out of brumation in the spring will make an appearance. The unique eating habits of each species will be explained, with opportunities to watch various feedings (not required). Venomous snake species will be explored, and we will learn about hemotoxic and neurotoxic venoms through experiments. Crocodilians will also be covered. Students will be given field journals to document their journey and findings as well as specimen jars to keep for their own collections. New students are welcome to join us!
Notes: Students will have the opportunity to see various snakes being fed, but they are not required to watch. All mammal prey offered will not be live (they are frozen, thawed). Prey animals may include chicks,, rats, or mice. Insect prey would be offered live.
Prerequisites:
Herpetology with live specimens
$70.00 9-12 Jacob Pugh 9/8 TBA Outdoors Waitlist
Creative Filmmaking at Light House Studio
Lights, Camera, Action! Put your creativity and storytelling skills to the ultimate test as you learn how to write a Hollywood script, direct a scene, rig a camera, and edit a film from start to finish. Comedy? Sci-fi? Superhero!? With so many genres to choose from and techniques to learn, you’ll be one step closer to being the next superstar filmmaker.
Notes: This course will be held at Darden Towe Park
Prerequisites: None
Learn how to create your own film
$55.00 12-15 Will Goss 1/8 TBA Outdoors Open
Dungeons and Dragons: Candlekeep Mysteries
What could be better than a library? A library full of books that have mystical powers, wicked curses, and esoteric magical items. Join fellow adventures in visiting Candlekeep, a legendary library in the Forgotten Realms, and see what treasures you can bring home from the library. Note that we will not be creating characters in class--participants should have level 5 characters prepared prior to the start of class. New players are welcome, but will need to attend an online (Zoom) orientation prior to the beginning of class if they need help with character creation.
Notes: Please inform instructor of any dietary restrictions. Sometimes I bring snacks.
Prerequisites:
Role playing game - Level 5 campaign
$60.00 13-16 Teela James 6/5 TBA Outdoors Waitlist
Monday - 13:00-14:20
The Rivanna River - Spring Edition
Come learn about the Rivanna River. Are you good at catching frogs or salamanders? What sorts of insects and amphibians will we find near the river during the spring? Like to dig in the dirt? Let's look at the differences between river soil and forest soil. This class is for kids who aren't afraid of getting wet or dirty. We will spend each class learning through hands on exploration. We will be covering different aspects from the Fall session.
Notes: Please have your child wear rainboots / water shoes or old tennis shoes that can get wet. Also you may want to pack a towel or change of clothes.
Prerequisites: Child needs to be able to stay with class during walks as well as listen when exploring near the water.
Science, nature study
$60.00 6-8 Kim Lohan 6/6 TBA Outdoors Waitlist
My Three Chambered Heart (7-9)
What are the differences between a legless lizard and a snake? My Three Chambered Heart returns with yet more reptiles to meet and learn about. We will learn how to go “herping” and will practice safe reptile handling skills. Students will develop a deeper understanding of our ectothermic friends through various games and activities. The unique eating habits of each species will be explained, with opportunities to watch various feedings (not required). Venomous snake species will be explored, and we will learn about hemotoxic and neurotoxic venoms through experiments. We will even see a real (preserved, not live) rattlesnake up close! Crocodilians will also be covered. Students will have field journals to document their journey and findings through notes and photos. New students are welcome to join us!
Notes: Students will have the opportunity to see a snake being fed, but they are not required to watch. All mammal prey offered will not be live (they are frozen, thawed). Prey animals may include rats, chicks, or mice. Insects (for lizards) would be offered live.
Prerequisites:
Hands-on with snakes and other reptiles!
$70.00 7-9 Jacob Pugh 7/8 TBA Outdoors Open
Bug Wars: Praying Mantis vs the Giant Hornet
As we read “Battle of the Powerful Predators” from the Virginia Science Museum’s “Giant Insects” exhibit, we'll assemble big bugs from our easy sculpture method, tinfoil and tape. The giant hornet is one of the fiercest insects in Asia, while the Chinese mantis makes meals of bugs, lizards, and even hummingbirds! We will sculpt, paint, and pose a praying mantis and/or a giant hornet in the midst of a fierce battle. We will explore the size, speed, defenses, weapons, and weaknesses of both bugs. You can pick a bug or make both if you have time!
Notes:
Prerequisites:
Make big bugs with tinfoil & tape
$62.00 8-11 Janet Beals 2/8 TBA Outdoors Open
Dungeons and Dragons: Candlekeep Mysteries
What could be better than a library? A library full of books that have mystical powers, wicked curses, and esoteric magical items. Join fellow adventures in visiting Candlekeep, a legendary library in the Forgotten Realms, and see what treasures you can bring home from the library. Note that we will not be creating characters in class--participants should have level 4 characters prepared prior to the start of class. New players are welcome, but will need to attend an online (Zoom) orientation prior to the beginning of class if they need help creating a character.
Notes: Please inform instructor of any dietary restrictions as I sometimes bring snacks.
Prerequisites:
Role playing game - Level 4 campaign
$60.00 10-12 Teela James 6/5 TBA Outdoors Waitlist
Leatherwork 101
In this class we'll learn how to safely use leatherworking tools and discuss the basics of leather (where it comes from, how it's used, etc). We'll learn how to install hardware (think rivets, snaps, and such) and we'll make a variety of projects that use the skills we learn, including cord keepers, wrist wraps, and dice trays. This class will be noisy at times and may leave you with tired arms. But you'll also learn new skills and have some cool projects at the end!
Notes: Materials fee covers all leather, hardware, and tools that will be used.
Prerequisites: An ability to respect sharp tools is a must.
Learn the basics of working with leather
$73.00 12-18 Jenifer Smith 5/6 TBA Outdoors Open
Monday - 14:30-15:50
Gross Motor
Like messy games? Want to run the Slobstacle course? Face off against friends in a low stakes game of Capture the Goo. Learn the soon-to-be-sensational Duck, Duck, Ooze. Each class students will mix up something gross (slime, mud) to use in our custom playground games. In this class, we'll practice measuring and following recipes, cooperating with other students on game design, and a variety of motor skills that will be a little grosser than usual. Dress for a mess.
Notes: We'll be using both our built "gross" props, like slime, and other props, like pool noodles, to design distanced games to play. While the games will be designed to be low contact and distanced, there may be times when students get within 6' of each other.
Prerequisites:
Slime making, physical education
$65.00 5-8 Teela James 10/8 TBA Outdoors Waitlist
Read, Write, Draw: Graphic Novel discussion and creation
Half of our class time will be a discussion of our graphic novel: what we liked, didn't like on levels of art, plot, dialogue and theme. Then the other half of the class we be devoted to creating our own pieces. They will include some how to draw lessons (if needed), brainstorming techniques and ideas for plot and character development. This will be a workshop type of class given our short time frame. We may end up with a short novella or just some sketches and scenes. Goal is to have fun, create and collaborate. Book list: Fish Girl by David Wiesner and Donna Jo Napoli, Compass South by Hope Larson, Time Museum by Matthew Loux. (3 books)
Notes: Bring the week's book to discuss, a sketchbook and your favorite drawing pencil. All other paper and art supplies will be provided.
Prerequisites:
Fun with graphic novels
$60.00 9-13 Monica Farrell 7/8 TBA Outdoors Open
My Three Chambered Heart (13-18)
What are the differences between a legless lizard and a snake? My Three Chambered Heart continues with yet more reptiles to meet and learn about. We will discuss reptile evolution in depth and see some of the oldest and youngest living species. We will cover the importance and impact of phylogenetic taxonomy on the science. Animals coming out of brumation in the spring will make an appearance. The unique eating habits of each species will be explained, with opportunities to watch various feedings (not required). Venomous snake species will be explored, and we will learn about hemotoxic and neurotoxic venoms through experiments. Crocodilians will also be covered. Students will be given field journals to document their journey and findings as well as specimen jars to keep for their own collections. New students are welcome to join us!
Notes: Students will have the opportunity to see various snakes being fed, but they are not required to watch. All mammal prey offered will not be live (they are frozen, thawed). Prey animals may include chicks,, rats, or mice. Insect prey would be offered live.
Prerequisites:
Herpetology with live specimens
$70.00 13-18 Jacob Pugh 10/8 TBA Outdoors Waitlist

Spring 2021 : (March 08, 2021 - April 23, 2021)
Spring Break April 5-9; Makeup Dates April 26-30
Register before 2021-03-01 to avoid the late registration fee of $5.00 per class.
Scholarship applications are due by 2021-03-01.
Class Cost Ages Instructor Enrolled Room Site Status
Online Events
An Emu for You
Have you ever had an unusual pet? Maybe you have a cat, a dog, or even a chicken. But have you ever had a pet iguana or pigeon? Each week we will tackle another outrageous animal. Children will follow oral directions which will include stretching their art vocabulary. Then they will be free to use their own creativity to color and embellish their drawings. Some examples are emu, parrot, raccoon, frog, hermit crab.
Notes: Parents are asked to provide supplies, and there is no supply fee. Supplies needed are black Sharpie, washable markers in both broad and fine points, heavy paper.
Prerequisites: Ability to focus and follow oral directions
Guided drawing of unusual pets
Mondays & Wednesdays, 11:00-11:40 am
$85.00 5-7 Louisa Cahan 5/5 Zoom Online Waitlist
LEGO Stop Motion
Learn Lego stop motion with this fun and creative class for beginners! Master the basics of stop motion animation, practice creating your own short videos using LEGO, and bring it all together with an awesome final project! All you need are some Legos, a compatible smartphone or tablet, and your imagination! This class is co-taught by a mother-son team: Emily & Liam Mohajeri Norris, with Liam leading the instruction. Liam, age 17, is an avid LEGO designer and enthusiast who has years of experience teaching LEGO classes for all ages.
Notes: Owning LEGO would be helpful. :) If you don't already own some, get a basic starter kit and some minifigures. Also, students need a smartphone or tablet with a camera that can download Stop Motion Studio, a free app available on the App Store and Google Play. For more customization options, students can purchase the $5 “Pro” version of Stop Motion Studio if they want.
Prerequisites:
Create fun and original animations!
Mondays, 11:00 am - 12:20 pm
$85.00 8-14 Emily Norris 14/10 Zoom Online Waitlist
Treasures of Europe
Let’s explore the art and architecture treasures of Italy, Spain, France, and other European countries. We’ll sculpt Italy’s Leaning Tower of Pisa, England’s Big Ben and ancient Stonehenge, and Russia’s Red Square. Easy-to-use tinfoil and masking tape are our key building blocks, with some paint and glue thrown in. We’ll also explore French artists like Seurat, the Swiss sculptor Giacometti, Italy’s Leonardo da Vinci, Spain’s Picasso, the Netherlands’ Van Gogh, and more. Artists are encouraged to learn about these European classics, then be inspired to make their own version of the landmark or masterpiece we are sharing.
Notes: Materials: Tinfoil and masking tape (tan is preferred, but many colors are available and welcome) form the foundation of our sculpture, with a bit of glue to hold it together. A hot glue gun is a great tool, but regular glue works fine also. For paintings, we’ll use colored and white paper, plus crayons, pencils or paints. If you have watercolor or poster (tempera) paint, that will do. Of course, a brush or two plus a jar for water is needed. We also may need scissors.
Prerequisites: No
Paint and Sculpt Europe!
Mondays, 1:00-2:20 pm
$85.00 8-12 Janet Beals 0/8 Zoom Online Closed
Allons-y, Les Petits: The Secret Life of Plushies, Part Quatre (4)
Speak, sing, dance, and play “en français.” This class is an introduction to French language and culture in a fun, relaxed, online atmosphere. In this final section of my year-long beginning French class, students will learn how to ask for food and drink politely, describe things by size and color, and talk about activities they do and do not like to do. We will also review all material from the previous three courses. Puppet co-instructors will include cheerful cat Eugénie and bashful bear Pascal, plus other guest stars. Students will be invited to bring a “peluche” (stuffed animal) to class to play along. Please note that this class will meet on Zoom two times a week for 30 minutes. This class is a continuation of the fall and winter courses, but new students are welcome. No prior experience with the language is required.
Notes: Please note that this class meets on Zoom two times a week for 30 minutes.
Prerequisites: None!
Beginning French
Tuesdays & Thursdays, 10:00-10:30 am
$70.00 5-8 Carolyn Fay 5/10 Zoom Online Open
Allons-y, Les Amis: Peluche Madness! Part Quatre (4)
Lions, tigres, ours—oh là là! This online introduction to French for the older child uses “peluches” (stuffed animals), dolls, and action figures to help us practice our conversational skills. In this final section of the year-long course, students will put everything together and engage in longer conversations. We will continue to practice a variety of communicative functions: describing yourself and others, talking about likes and dislikes, ordering food and drink in a café, and inviting friends to play with us. We will also occasionally discuss French culture and traditions. Emphasis will be on speaking and listening. Please note that this class will meet on Zoom two times a week for 30 minutes. This is a continuation of the fall and winter term courses. New students are welcome, but should contact the instructor prior to enrolling to discuss placement.
Notes: Please note that this class meets on Zoom two times a week for 30 minutes.
Prerequisites: None! But please contact the instructor if you are enrolling a student who is brand new to French.
Elementary French
Tuesdays & Thursdays, 11:00-11:30 am
$70.00 9-12 Carolyn Fay 5/10 Zoom Online Open
My Art Journal
The world around us is full of beauty and wonder. Even the simplest blade of grass can be beautiful in the eyes of a budding artist. In this class, children will use two sketchbooks: one purchased and one pocket-sized that they make themselves. Each lesson will introduce a drawing skill that is applicable to journal keeping. Children will try out each skill, practice it, and then use their own creativity to make their sketchbooks into a book they will enjoy adding to long after the course is over.
Notes: Parents will be asked to provide a sketchbook, any kind, a pencil, a black pen or Sharpie, and a few sheets of copy paper. Scissors will be needed on the first day of class only. Optional: any coloring supplies, such as crayons, washable markers, and watercolor paint.
Prerequisites: Ability to focus and follow oral directions
Developing a Personal Sketchbook
Tuesdays & Thursdays, 12:00-12:40 pm
$85.00 8-10 Louisa Cahan 0/5 Zoom Online Closed
Tell Me a Story
Everyone has a story to tell, whether it’s a story about their life or a fictional one! In six short weeks, we’ll write a children’s book and illustrate it, complete with cover. We’ll create a hero or heroine, pick a setting (the environment), construct a plot and a problem, and follow our protagonist’s journey to a happy ending. As we write, we’ll create our own drawings, paintings, and collages to go along with the story. When we paste it all together, adding a bio of the author (you!) and perhaps a few reviews, your parents can take it to Staples (or the office) for binding and copying … and presto! An original book!
Notes: Materials: You’ll want to gather white paper, colored paper, scissors, glue, a ruler, and other assorted items like glitter, ribbon, or yarn. For drawing or painting, you’ll need watercolor or tempera (poster) paint, a brush or two, and a container for water. Ideally, the story and words will be typed on a computer and pasted into the book. If this is not possible, printing will be fine. To bind the book together, our best suggestion is to take the pages to an office-type store to get it spiral bound (about $3.50 at Staples for binding and a plastic cover.) A cheaper version is to staple the left-hand edges.
Prerequisites: None
Write your own book!
Tuesdays, 1:00-2:20 pm
$85.00 10-14 Janet Beals 4/8 Zoom Online Open
Improv Wizards Unite
Whether you wish to be a comedian/actor/or just have fun, this is a fun and safe place to practice your improvisational skills. You will learn ways to naturally expel humor without even trying! Every week we will go through a series of warm-ups and games with no scripts, using the power of our minds and imagination.
Notes: Notebook, if you wish to take notes.
Prerequisites: None required
Improv Comedy for all levels
Wednesdays, 1:00-2:20 pm
$85.00 10-18 Heather Hayes 3/10 Zoom Online Open
Treasures of Europe
Let’s explore the art and architecture treasures of Italy, Spain, France, and other European countries. We’ll sculpt Italy’s Leaning Tower of Pisa, England’s Big Ben and ancient Stonehenge, and Russia’s Red Square. Easy-to-use tinfoil and masking tape are our key building blocks, with some paint and glue thrown in. We’ll also explore French artists like Seurat, the Swiss sculptor Giacometti, Italy’s Leonardo da Vinci, Spain’s Picasso, the Netherlands’ Van Gogh, and more. Artists are encouraged to learn about these European classics, then be inspired to make their own version of the landmark or masterpiece we are sharing.
Notes: Materials: Tinfoil and masking tape (tan is preferred, but many colors are available and welcome) form the foundation of our sculpture, with a bit of glue to hold it together. A hot glue gun is a great tool, but regular glue works fine also. For paintings, we’ll use colored and white paper, plus crayons, pencils or paints. If you have watercolor or poster (tempera) paint, that will do. Of course, a brush or two plus a jar for water is needed. We also may need scissors.
Prerequisites: No
Paint and Sculpt Europe!
Wednesdays, 3:00-4:20 pm
$85.00 5-8 Janet Beals 3/8 Zoom Online Open
Zip, Zoom, Float, and Fly!
You’re zipping down the speedway, wind whipping your hair up in a frenzy as you hug the turns. Or maybe you’re an astronaut, bracing yourself for the bumpy ride as your reentry capsule falls from space into the Earth’s atmosphere. Wherever your dreams may lead you, it’s up to engineers to design and build the vehicles to get you there. How do they do it and keep you safe? With crash test dummies, of course! We will design and build a variety of vehicles and test them with our very own crash test dummies.
Notes: Supplies will be provided.
Prerequisites:
vehicle engineering
Wednesdays, 3:00-4:20 pm
$100.00 9-12 Megan Bailey 9/8 Zoom Online Waitlist
How Does Your Garden Grow?
Do you ever wonder how a plant knows how to grow? It's almost magical! In this class, you’ll explore the science behind that magic as you dig into the basics of gardening. You’ll learn by growing a variety of plants and conducting experiments on how environmental factors, such as water supply, sunlight, and soil types, affect them. By the end, you will have flower and vegetable gardens of your very own!
Notes:
Prerequisites:
plant study
Thursdays, 2:00-3:20 pm
$95.00 5-8 Megan Bailey 4/8 Zoom Online Open
Into the Unknown
Let’s look at two of the world’s most interesting environments and explore them in depth. Using painting, collage, mixed media and sculpture, you will populate the ocean and outer space with your own imagination. What lives in the ocean? Fish, moray eels, sea grass, sharks? Or is there a pirate ship and a treasure chest? What could we find in outer space? Stars, planets, the Milky Way? Or are there rocket ships and aliens? We’ll create environments in 2-D with paint and paper, then move to tinfoil and masking tape to expand our vision into 3-D sculptures.
Notes: Materials: You’ll want to gather big sheets of white paper (or tape some small ones together) watercolor or other paints, paints, some colored paper, tissue or crepe paper, and glue. Ribbon, yarn or string could come in handy, and some tinfoil and masking tape are our raw materials for sculpting. Hot glue can come in handy but is not necessary.
Prerequisites: None
Explore Space and the Sea
Fridays, 1:00-2:20 pm
$85.00 6-9 Janet Beals 7/8 Zoom Online Open
Programming with Minecraft for Windows 10
Make it rain chickens! Detect valuable ore beneath your feet! Spawn 1000 blocks of TNT with a single command! Using MakeCode for Minecraft, a block-based programming language, students will learn the fundamentals of computer science by altering the behavior of their own Minecraft worlds. The class will cover programming basics such as variables, iteration, conditionals, and event handling through various guided programming tutorials and independent projects. This online class aims to deliver computer programming instruction to a wide range of students with varying levels of proficiency through one-on-one instruction via email and/or Discord. Weekly homework will be assigned--a short reading and a small project with step by step instructions. Students who want to complete more than one weekly assignment can do so and will receive a new assignment each time they finish one. Returning Minecraft students are welcome! We'll just pick up where you stopped last time.
Notes: This course does not have a scheduled meeting time! Students work at home at their own pace. Unfortunately, the coding software doesn't work on Apple computers. Students need a Windows 10 computer with a purchased copy of the Windows 10 edition of Minecraft. Apple users can try to run Bootcamp, which allows you to install Windows 10 on Apple hardware. Students should have their own email address and/or Discord account for correspondence with the instructor (or a parent willing to receive and send email for them).
Prerequisites: Prior experience with Minecraft and a computer capable of running the Windows 10 version of Minecraft (see Notes section) Sufficient reading and writing skills for reading instructions and communicating via email/Discord (or have a parent who doesn't mind helping). Ability to work independently and be motivated to work outside a classroom.
Learn to program with Minecraft
Asynchronous - no scheduled meeting time
$85.00 8-18 Tom Lynch 2/16 Asynchronous Online Open