After-school clubs help students build brainpower outside the classroom | SLIDESHOW

Lake Tapps Elementary students play chess after school. The chess club is one of five after-school programs designed for the purpose of extracurricular student enrichment.

The halls of Lake Tapps Elementary School were filled with the sounds of laughter and learning into the early afternoon hours this past week, though school had ended hours before.

Seven-year-old Charlie Jones, for example, was still at school after he could have left. Why? To play a little chess with some of his friends. He’s pretty good, by his own estimate, and continuing to improve since picking up the game.

“It can get you in a good mood and sometimes it makes you smarter,” he said, taking a brief break from a game.

Jones is part of Lake Tapp’s Elementary’s Chess Club, one of five after-school programs Principal Connie Geroy said are designed as enrichment programs for students.

“We want the learning to continue after school,” she said.

Along with chess, Lake Tapps offers a technology club, a physical fitness club called “Ready, Set, Go!” and two science clubs.

“Science has always been so popular here,” Geroy said.

In one of the science classrooms, students were using two-liter bottles, water and balloons to learn about the changes in air pressure.

The clubs meet for four times per session, with four sessions scheduled through the year. Geroy said this lets the students explore all of the clubs if they are interested, or to pick one and stick with it if they like it.

The clubs provide learning opportunities the school day just doesn’t have room for.

In the technology club, for example, the students meet in the school’s computer lab to work on projects using PowerPoint, Excel and other computer programs. The students are working on projects that involve the programs, hopefully making the learning fun.

Along with the five clubs, Geroy said Lake Tapps Elementary, located at the north end of the lake in the Dieringer School District, also has several clubs and activities led by community members that are offered to the students after school in the district’s three schools.

Geroy said there are karate, drama, Spanish and dance clubs that meet on campus in the district.

“We want to make sure we get as much learning opportunities as they can,” Geroy said.