Monday, September 29, 2014

SLIDESHOW: Power of Drawing brings out artist in every child

This summer, my email box filled up for my favorite reason -- glowing comments from parents about their children's experience in our Power of Drawing summer camps. 

We've offered this drawing technique class and camps for a year now with a growing following all over Ann Arbor. The technique in POD focuses on "training the eye to observe, see and make creative choices while developing critical thinking skills." This curriculum is unique because there's never a repeating class, K-12. However, students can enter a Power of Drawing class at any skill level and start drawing and learning immediately.  

Take a look at this slideshow of drawings from Rec & Ed campers in grades 3 through 8.

Our fall Power of Drawing classes start this week at 11 elementary schools! 
Find out more and register at our after school class website

Saturday, September 27, 2014

International Chess Master tells Dicken students to play chess and build their minds

Click here to view Rec & Ed's fall chess classes

Playing chess is a powerful way to develop analytical skills, foster the competitive spirit and have fun. This inspiring message was delivered to Dicken Elementary 2nd-5th graders by a special guest from England: Sabrina Chevannes, a Woman International Chess Master.

Sabrina Chevannes
At age 13, Sabrina won the English under-13 championship, the first of many national and international awards.

"Sabrina's chess experience wowed the Dicken student body and empowered them, especially our girls," said Dicken Principal Mike Madison.

Rec & Ed chess instructor Allen Kaufman
 shows off WIM Sabrina Chevannes' new book. 
Sabrina is in the United States to compete in chess tournaments and to promote chess, particularly among school aged children. 

She presented Dicken with a copy of her book, Chess for Children, which teaches children 7 and up the basics of starting chess. WIM Chevannes' visit to Michigan was coordinated by Alan Kaufman, who leads the after school chess program at several Ann Arbor schools, including Dicken.

Mr. Madison added, “Chess is one of those activities that can enhance a child's mind in analytical thinking, problem solving and engagement. Anyone can play, learn new strategies and have fun. Every child should have a chess or checker game at home to play with parents or siblings.”

Rec & Ed offers chess classes for all ages. Most classes begin the week of Sept. 30. For a list of Rec & Ed chess classes including before school, after school and evening chess, click here: Rec & Ed chess classes.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Rec & Ed cooking instructor competes on Food Network shows

Guest Blogger Linda Brzezinski, Adult Lifelong Learning Supervisor

Chef Tom Lin is not only a popular Rec & Ed cooking instructor, but since competing in several Food Network shows, he's also a national celebrity. 

He started last February with Guy Fieri's Grocery Games. This fast-paced show features four talented chefs running through the aisles in a high-stakes, high-skills, grocery store cooking competition. This show is scheduled to begin airing on November 2nd.

After Grocery Games, Chef Tom traveled to Los Angeles to film an episode of Cutthroat Kitchen, hosted by Alton Brown. The show aired on July 20th. View Chef Tom's amazing win in this "After the Show" video. 

"I had the thrill of a lifetime competing on The Food Network," Chef Tom said recently. "What surprised me most was everything that goes on behind the scenes. It took about three hours to set up each cooking challenge!"

Chef Tom was such a talented and entertaining competitor that the Food Network has invited him back to compete again this fall. 

"Who would have thought that I could cook with a jungle torch or make sour cream out of sour candy and ice cream?" he said. "I cannot wait to see what's in store for me the next time around!"

Don't miss any of Chef Tom's high energy Rec & Ed cooking classes this Fall!  Click below to learn more and register. 

10/8 - Shanghai Nights
10/15 - Vegetarian Goes Asian Fusion
12/3 - Szechuan  Classics

Check out Linda's Cooking with Rec & Ed blog for favorite recipes from Rec & Ed cooking instructors and more.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Apply now for a seat on the Recreation Advisory Commission

Are you a city resident with a passion for community education and recreation? The Recreation Advisory Commission is seeking applicants for open seats. 

RAC is a commission of 12 community members: six appointed by the AAPS Board of Education and six appointed by Ann Arbor City Council. RAC advises both entities about public recreation matters.  

Learn more about RAC here: 

RAC's role includes:
  1. Serving as a sounding board for the community by giving input and feedback to staff regarding program offerings, fees charged and policies and procedures,
  2. Raising important issues about all facets of recreation for consideration by policy makers, the media, and the public, and
  3. Acting as Rec & Ed and Ann Arbor Parks & Recreation ambassadors and communicators, keeping up on department activities, and representing the department on committees and in neighborhoods, at work, and in community organizations.
Typically, RAC meets four times each school year, in September, December, March and either May or June. 

How do you know if you're right for RAC?  

The Commission needs people who have an interest in recreation, are knowledgable about AAPS Rec & Ed programs, can bring a little expertise to the table, and are dependable.  Diversity of background and in connection to Rec & Ed is also considered. 

ITO request a link to the on-line application, send an email to (Note: there's an underscore "_" between rec and advisory.)  Application deadline: Sept. 30, 5:00 p.m.

Monday, September 15, 2014

AAPS teacher hooked on Rec & Ed yoga classes

Guest Blogger Victoria Cendrowski, Rec & Ed Fitness Supervisor and Instructor, interviews long-time yoga participant and teacher Cindy Johengen.

Cindy Johengen is one of the best teachers I know. She has been teaching for Ann Arbor Public schools for 27 years and was recently selected to teach at the new STEAM at Northside school. I met her years ago at Allen Elementary school where my daughter Chelsea attended. Cindy has been taking yoga classes through Rec & Ed for 12 years.

• What are your favorite things about taking Rec & Ed yoga classes? 

“My Rec and Ed yoga classes are taught by teachers who are holistic and caring. Classes between the two teachers are flexible, allowing participants to catch make-up classes as needed. My yoga teachers started a monthly Saturday Karma yoga class to sponsor favorite charities. This is a wonderful community of friends who love yoga and want to raise money and awareness for special charities.” 

Cindy at a recent yoga class.
Photo credit: Dwight Cendrowski.
• Would you recommend these classes to your fellow AAPS teachers? 

“I regularly tell the story of my first ever yoga class through Rec & Ed. It was offered after school in my building because of the yoga instructor’s concern for the teachers’ well-being. Her focus on stress reduction through a mindful practice was just what I needed. I was hooked from that first class twelve years ago and have never missed a term. I will continue my practice as a lifelong endeavor and have encouraged many to do the same by joining our regular and Karma yoga classes.” 

At a recent Karma Yoga class, Cindy expressed how important it is to keep doing her yoga practice. Chelsea and I both agree. It promotes wellness and keeps stress in check. 

Cindy recommends Yoga Pilates and Power Yoga Pilates. Registration is open now for the fall session. See class locations, times and register here. 

Thursday, September 4, 2014

How to prevent 3 top youth sports injuries - event this Saturday!

This Saturday, our local Safe Kids Coalition is hosting a Kid Zone safety tent during Rec & Ed soccer games at Scarlett. All families are welcome!

Kid Zone: How to Prevent
Overuse Injuries, Concussions, and Dehydration 

Saturday, Sept. 6
10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
Scarlett Middle School
(Field near Scarlett tennis courts)
Cost: Free 

Kid Zone features interactive displays, educational materials and local experts to answer your questions. Representatives from UM Mott Children's Hospital, ATI Physical Therapy and Running Fit will be on hand to answer your sports injury questions. Stop in for as little or as long as you'd like. 

Kid Zone is most appropriate for children ages 4 and up, accompanied by parents. If soccer games are cancelled due to inclement weather, Kid Zone will be held on Sat., October 4. 

Learn more about the top sports-related health concerns here: 

Please help us spread the word by sharing on your own social media.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Enroll your aspiring engineer-athlete-artist-programmer-dancer in an after school class

Register soon: many classes fill up

Now that your child knows her teacher, which friends are in her class and who the new kids are, it's time for a critical question: what does she want to do after school? 

Rec & Ed is offering more high quality, affordable after school classes than ever! Our snazzy new After School Classes website has all the information you need. Registration is fast and easy. your son an an aspiring chess master, ninja warrior or artist? 

Does your daughter love playing basketball, dancing or engineering with Legos?

That's only a smattering of what we're offering at AAPS elementary schools this fall. Rec & Ed truly has an enriching, fun activity for every child. Most classes begin in September, so enroll your child today.

Can't pick up until after 5:00? Check out our School Age Child Care program 

Rec & Ed runs high quality, licensed School-Age Child Care programs at 18 elementary schools. Before-school care begins at 7:15 a.m. and after school child care is open until 6:00 p.m. each day. Our caring child care staff provide a healthy, safe environment where students can create, learn, do homework and enjoy physical activity. 

Please note that you must complete the online SACC registration process by Wednesday for your child to start the following Monday. Go directly to registration here.

How about something for you?

Kids don't get to have all the fun! This fall, Rec & Ed has dozens of adult classes to help you unwind, get fit, try a new hobby and much more. We've also expanded our online course offerings for busy professionals. Check out our fall catalog here.  More information about our online classes is available here