After School Program
After School Programs at GFS offer students enriching opportunities for discovery and exploration during the hours between dismissal and pick-up.
After School encompasses three different programs:
- After School Program: Imagine, Reach, Explore (ASPire)
- Middle School After School (MSAS) Program
- After School Clubs
In addition to creating numerous options for discovery and fun, GFS’ After School staff is committed to upholding the school’s mission and philosophy through their efforts to nurture each student’s mind, body, and spirit. The programming reinforces the rich lessons and essential values GFS students are taught throughout the school day.
- Middle School After School
- Music Ensembles
- Special Programs and Camps
- Policies and General Information
"ASPire" stands for "After School Program: imagine, reach, explore." Imagine, reach, and explore are the foundations of everything we do from the minute the children arrive to the moment they depart.
Each week focuses on a theme, most of which are suggested by ASPire students. The afternoon begins with a moment of silence followed by a five-to-ten minute “opening meeting” related to the week’s theme. Students then learn about the six daily activity options, which always include homework, games, and playground in addition to theme-related cooking, construction, and art projects.
Fun is at the core of everything we do in ASPire. The discretionary hours after school belong to the children, which is why we offer numerous activity options. A rainy day may find us playing corn hole and ping pong, and after second snack, we may often stage a dance party, play Pictionary, or orchestrate a huge game of Simon Says.
One of ASPire’s primary goals is to offer children the chance to form lasting connections to engaged and invested adults. Because the children who attend ASPire full-time from preschool through 8th grade will spend as many as 5,400 hours (which is equivalent to four full years of school!) with the adults who make up our team, students benefit from these long-term relationships.
We invite your children to be a part of our theme-based, project-oriented, student-driven, fun-focused program that is like no other!
Enrollment in ASPire is for the full year, and students can be enrolled for the full five days per week or for one, two, three, or four days. In addition, two pick-up options are available, 5 p.m. or 6 p.m., and students may attend ASPire on a drop-in basis for $35 (5 p.m. pick up) or for $40 (6 p.m. pick up). Early Childhood Program families can select the "Drop-in for ECP" option at registration.
Students in grades K-5 who live in Center City may wish to drop into the Late Day after-school program that takes place at GFS's campus in the Curtis Building located at 601 Walnut Street. To get from GFS's Germantown campus to our new Center City campus, students in grades 1-6 must first sign up to ride the Philadelphia School District buses. Kindergarten students are not permitted to ride on the Philadelphia School District buses, and can take the Center City 1 Shuttle (private transportation) to the Curtis Center. Email us to arrange a drop-in.
To register for ASPire, please click here.
Exclusively for Middle School students, the Middle School After School (MSAS) program takes place every afternoon from dismissal until 6 p.m.
MSAS offers participants both a place where they can work on and receive assistance with homework (the Friends Free Library) and a more relaxed space (the cafeteria) where they can gather to work collaboratively on activities such as preparing second snack for ASPire, creating items that can be sold to raise funds for local institutions, and engaging in group games designed to foster a stronger connection among MSAS participants.
A current member of the ASPire staff will supervise the students, offering homework help, and leading activities for students to enjoy when they are not doing homework.
To ensure students’ safety, all Middle School students are required to be in one of three places when they are on campus after school: enrolled in MSAS, enrolled in an after school club or sport, or on their way home. For parents' convenience, Middle School students are welcome to participate in MSAS free of charge from the end of sports practice until 4:30 p.m. when the Late Shuttle departs.
Enrollment options include:
- Early Bird Special (30% discount on enrollment for the full year. Special ends on October 1, 2018).
- Coverage for each sports season, either the entire afternoon or just for after sports, and for intersessions between sports seasons, with pick ups at 4 p.m., 5 p.m., or 6 p.m.
- Drop-ins until 4 p.m. ($12), 5 p.m. ($15), or 6 p.m. ($20) as well as ten packs of drop-ins at a reduced rate ($110 for 4 p.m., $135 for 5 p.m., and $180 for 6 p.m.).
To register for MSAS, please click here.
GFS offers a wide range of clubs for students. Most clubs meet after school.
Important Information for Parents
We wish for all students to be able to participate in programming offered by GFS. Financial assistance is available for qualifying families. If you would like your child to participate and you anticipate needing assistance, please fill out the Non-Tuition Financial Aid Application.
We will save a place for financial aid applicants in clubs that fill, so that needing assistance does not prevent a child from participating in a popular club. Only financial aid applicants who meet this deadline will be permitted to attend the desired club(s) while financial aid decisions are pending.
Club Grade Levels
Although clubs are designed for particular grade levels, we may be able to accommodate interested students from outside of the designated grades provided space is available and the instructor approves. Please contact email@example.com for further information.
To register for clubs, please click here.
Designed to complement the Lower School musical curriculum, Music Ensembles allow students to take part in World Percussion, Chorus, and Orchestra after school, free of charge.
To participate, we ask that you please enroll your child here once you have received word from Debbie Stahl or Taia Harlos that your child is eligible to participate.
See the full description of the Music Ensembles here.
Private Music Lessons at GFS
See information about private instrumental music lessons here.
ASPire offers special programs for parent/teacher conference days and all-school in-service days. In addition, special program days are offered for the days immediately before the school-year opens as well as during one week of spring break vacation.
During the ASPire Special Programs, participants (who must pre-register through Active Network) will enjoy field trips and other special activities. Students may visit museums, explore caves, run through a sprinkler, or lie on the grass finding shapes in the clouds.
Children should wear weather-appropriate attire, and bring a packed lunch and beverage. We will supply snacks and fun.
Please note: Pre-registration and payment one week in advance is required for all ASPire Special Programs.
To register for ASPire Special Programs, please click here.
ASPire is offered daily from 3:10-6 p.m. at the GFS main campus in Germantown and at the Center City location. Parents have the option of enrolling their child(ren) in the program until either 5 p.m. or 6 p.m. at both locations.
Once ASPire Emergency Information is on file, drop-in care is always available to families at $35 per day for coverage until 5 p.m. and $40 per day for coverage until 6 p.m. Parents may call the Lower School Office (215-951-2318) at any time and leave a message if there is any change regarding a child's attendance or dismissal plans. To enroll your child for Drop-in coverage in the Early Childhood Program, ASPire or MSAS, click here.
Late Pick-up Fees
For children being picked up at 5 p.m., the charge for late pick up is $20 per child from 5 p.m.-5:15 p.m., $30 per child from 5:15-5:30 p.m. and $40 per child thereafter. For children being picked up at 6 p.m., the late fee is $20 per child from 6-6:15 p.m., $30 per child from 6:15-6:30 p.m., and $40 per child thereafter. Payment is made to the ASPire Book Fund.
Changing ASPire Days
In order to provide adequate staffing, we ask that parents commit to the day(s) of the week for which their child will be enrolled. In other words, Students enrolled in ASPire or MSAS on Tuesdays, can only attend on Tuesdays unless a parent submits a written request to the Director of Auxiliary Programming requesting a change of day or days. We do not permit day of the week switches for a one-time basis.
Parents who wish to withdraw or to reduce the number of days per week for which their child is registered must notify Stewart Calloway, Director of After School Programming, in writing on or before October 1. If we do not receive written notice by October 1, the parents will be responsible for the entire annual tuition amount for which they have registered their child regardless of whether or not their child attends the After School Program.
Adding ASPire Days
Additional ASPire days may be added for a pro-rated fee after October 1. If you wish to add ASPire days, please contact Stewart Calloway. The number of days a child attends ASPire can be increased at any time, but not decreased, after the October 1 deadline.
The After School Program reserves the right to refuse admittance to families who are frequently late or who have an outstanding balance with GFS.
Flexible Spending Account
To obtain a receipt for childcare expenses for ASPire or MSAS coverage for FSA purposes, please contact Stewart Calloway.
Please note: As a rule, after-school club fees are not eligible expenses under most Flexible Spending Account (FSA) plans. If you have further questions about covered expenses, please contact your plan administrator directly.
Non-Tuition Financial Aid
Families wishing to request financial aid for GFS activities (such as clubs and ASPire) may use this Non-Tuition Financial Aid form.
Important Dates for 2021-22
These important dates include key dates and times for families to be aware of with reference to all After School programs, including ASPire, MSAS, clubs, camps, and special program days.
- Thursday, September 2: Fall Clubs online registration opens at 5:45 p.m.
- September 27-October 1: Fall Clubs begin
- Monday, December 6: Karate I Belt Test Ceremony (Main Campus), 3:30 p.m.
- Monday, December 6: Karate II Belt Test Ceremony (Main Campus), 4:15 p.m.
- Thursday, December 8: Hip Hop Performance (Main Campus), 3:45 p.m.
- Thursday, December 9: Karate Belt Test Ceremony (Center City Location), 3:25 p.m.
- Friday, December 10: Ballet Performance of The Nutcracker (Main Campus), 3:45 p.m.
- December 6-10: Fall Clubs end
- December 13 through-17: Fall Clubs make-up sessions