After School Explorers

After School Explorers (ASE) is the Junior School’s unique after-school program. Students receive an all-inclusive experience that can be customized to fit their individual needs and interests, without ever having to leave the Junior School campus! Options include enrichment classes, music lessons, study center, unstructured play, organized games and more! Rates are offered for a full year, one to five days a week per term, or daily drop-in. Families enrolled in ASE and daily drop-in attendees can take advantage of the Fox Chapel shuttle that transports students to the Senior School campus at the end of each day for a small fee.

General Info

Kristen  Link
After School Director


  • ASE is available from 3:10-6 p.m. every day the Junior School is in session.
  • Schedules can be customized daily for each child.
  • Fox Chapel Shuttle available daily for an additional fee.
  • Programming also offered for in-service days and school breaks.

2019-2020 Dates and Rates

Term I (12 weeks): Aug. 27–Nov. 15 (PK/K start date Aug. 29)
Term II (12 weeks): Nov. 18–Feb. 21
Term III (12 weeks): Feb. 24–June 2

5 days/week (per term): $1,265
4 days/week (per term): $1,100
3 days/week (per term): $880
2 days/week (per term): $625
1 day/week (per term): $345
Daily Drop-In Rate: $40/day
Fox Chapel Shuttle: $8 for enrolled Explorers, $11 for daily drop-ins, $6/child for two or more siblings enrolled in ASE

Please note: There is no longer a "Full Year" enrollment option. Students must enroll PER TERM. When a student enrolls in three consecutive terms, they will receive the "Full Year" discount, which will be reflected on the payment balance of Term III enrollment.

Term rates include the choice of one enrichment class each day and one 30-minute music lesson each week (based upon availability), as well as snack, recess, games, sports and activities at play time, and access to the quiet, supervised Study Center (grades 1-5).

Late pick-up policy: After 6 p.m., a late pick-up fee of $10/child will be added for the first 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, the late fee increases to $10/child per minute. Families who are late more than three times in one term will be charged $10/minute/child on subsequent late pick ups. Charges will be added to the end of term bill.

Program Features

Play Time!
Play time includes the gymnasium, field and playground. Students begin each afternoon with recess and a snack before beginning their individual schedules. Explorers can enjoy play time for the entire afternoon or return there after their enrichment classes, music lessons or Study Center time. In addition to unstructured play time, a staff member may lead a variety of daily games and intramural sports.

Enrichment Classes
A wide variety of enrichment classes are available Monday through Thursday, from sports to art to cooking to science. Explorers have access to one enrichment class each day that they are registered in After School Explorers, excluding Fridays. See the Enrichment Classes tab for class information.

Music Lessons
Three skilled music teachers lead enrolled Explorers in one 30-minute music lesson per week. Instruments include piano, violin and guitar. Based upon availability. Note: Students enrolled in music lessons are enrolled for the year and are expected to practice at home each day. The year will culminate with a recital at the end of the school year.

Study Center
The Study Center is run by a teacher who communicates frequently with the school’s learning specialist and classroom teachers. Families may request that a report be sent home after each visit to the Study Center. Study Center is not available on Fridays.

Fox Chapel Shuttle
The Fox Chapel Shuttle departs each day from the Junior School at 5:15 p.m. and transports students to the Senior School Curry Gym patio. All students enrolled in After School Explorers have access to the shuttle, based on availability and subject to an additional fee.

Enrichment Classes

WINTER Enrichment Classes

November 18- February 21




Grades PK-3: 3:45-4:45 p.m.
No Classes on Dec. 2, Jan. 20, Feb. 17
For returning Mindful students or beginners!

Mindful World is a unique program combining Mindfulness, art, and international cultures to teach children social-emotional skills, literacy, and to be citizens of the world. Bonnie Weiss, owner of The School of Mindful Arts, will guide students through folktales about body awareness, mediation practices, and make shadow puppets to do plays in small groups. Each class ends with the hand crafting of a workshop-related art piece to take home!


Grades PK-K: 3:45-4:15 p.m.
No Classes on Dec. 2, Jan. 20, Feb. 17

Squishing, rolling, sculpting, molding . . . young children love to play with play dough! This fun staple lets children use their imaginations and strengthen their fine motor skills. Along with store bought Play Doh and tools, students will also have the chance to make their very own homemade play dough!


Grades 2-5: 3:45-4:45 p.m.
No Classes on Dec. 2, Jan. 20, Feb. 17

Does your builder enjoy designing beautiful buildings or functional spaces for their mini-figures? If so, Snapology’s program is the perfect space for your young architect to sharpen their design and building skills! All buildings, from the Empire State Building to the house next door, started as an idea in an architect’s head. Students will learn how to take an idea from their head and turn it into a building in the real world. They will be guided through the building process, from creating a floor plan to disaster-proofing the structure, so that they will be able to create the next best thing in LEGO® architecture!


Grades 1-5: 3:45-4:30 p.m.
​​​​​​​No Classes on Dec. 2, Jan. 20, Feb. 17

Join ASE’s own Ms. Maggie Sulka in this introduction to yoga postures and exercises! Students are encouraged to use their imagination and creativity while building strength, flexibility, and connecting with their fellow yogis.


Grades 4-5: 3:45-5:00 p.m.
No Classes on Dec. 2, Jan. 20, Feb. 17

This is a class you don’t want to miss! Students in grades 4 and 5 will work alongside Junior School computer science teacher Karen Sandora to create the Junior School yearbook for the 2019-2020 school year. Participants will take photos during school events and learn how to lay them out using provided yearbook software.




Grades PK-K: 3:45-4:15 p.m.
Grades 1-5: 4:15-5:00 p.m.

It's time to play ball! Join your friends as you have fun learning to play indoor baseball using a tee, plastic wiffle ball and bat. Students will learn the fundamentals of baseball without dealing with the snow outside. Older students will get the chance to play some friendly scrimmage games!


Grades PK-1: 3:45-4:30 p.m.

In this course, students from PK to 1st grade will have an opportunity to learn about different types of plants and participate in indoor gardening activities.  We will make terrariums, observe carnivorous plants, transplant and pot house plants, and discuss basic plant needs and care instructions. Time to get your hands dirty!


Ballet - Grades PK-K: 3:45-4:15 p.m.
Broadway Jazz - Grades 1-5: 4:15-5:15 p.m.

Fall, Winter, and Spring Terms

ASE favorite, Bodiography, are back with all the moves! Ms. Kaylin Treese will help to establish solid dance foundations with our younger students in ballet, and then build on those steps in Broadway Jazz with our older students.  It is recommended that enrolled PK-K students purchase ballet shoes. NOTE: This is a yearlong class that culminates in a dance recital in May.



Grades 2-5: 3:45-4:45 p.m.

Let’s reuse old materials to make something new! Try taking apart old toys and turning them into working flashlights. Use extra wire and scavenged rocks to make a picture frame. Create a racing vehicle out of bottle caps and tubes! During Tinker Tuesdays, we will explore what it takes to turn the ordinary into the extraordinary, and have fun experimenting during the process!



Grades PK-K: 3:45-4:15 p.m.
Grades 1-5: 4:30-5:15 p.m.
No class on Nov. 27

Join our friends from Hatch Art Studio to drive away the winters blahs! Their art projects will inspire creative thinking, develop artistic skills, spark curiosity, and promote an imaginative, joyful feeling through materials exploration, process art, and play!


Grades PK-1: 3:45-4:15 p.m.
Grades 2 -5: 4:15-5:15 p.m.
No class on Nov. 27

In this Hip-Hop class students will learn short choreography sequences, and have the opportunity to input their personal movement into the work. Students will also play with characterization, formations, and movement in concert, as well as improv. Trevor C. Miles has instructed all over Pittsburgh for over a decade and is excited to bring his energy and storytelling to SSA! No experience necessary.


Grade PK-K: 3:45-4:05 p.m.
Grades 1-2: 4:05-4:30 p.m. (Sold Out)
Grades 3-5: 4:30-5:15 p.m
No class on Nov. 27

With 15 years of experience, Coach Mark Haffner combines exercises, positive encouragement and skilled training to help students advance to the next level as tennis pros. With an emphasis on agility and fun, Coach Mark pairs students of similar ability and age level. Tennis rackets are provided, but students are encouraged to bring their own. Note: Returning first grade students may enroll in the 45-minute class.


Grades 3-5: 3:45-5:00 p.m​​​​​​​.
No class on Nov. 27

The Spartan FIT Program at Pittsburgh FIT is based around general physical skills including coordination, agility, balance, stamina, endurance, and quality of movement. We use games and activities that highlight and challenge each aspect of the student’s development.

This program uses challenges such as rope climbing, vaulting over obstacles, slacklining, and using other parkour-like skills to complete obstacle courses to foster the young student-athlete. We choose to gamify our fitness to keep our Spartan FIT students engaged, entertained and constantly challenged. Special emphasis is placed on developing each athlete's confidence and athletic resilience

PLEASE NOTE: This class takes place at Pittsburgh FIT’s facilities. As enrolled students will be offsite, there will be no early dismissal from this course. Families must sign a waiver.


Grades K-2 3:45-4:45 p.m.​​​​​​​
​​​​​​​No class on Nov. 27

It’s time to tread the boards with actor, director, and SSA substitute teacher extraordinaire, Nancy McNulty-McGeever! Actors in this class will receive roles in an age-appropriate junior play/musical and perform live on stage for an audience at the conclusion of the winter term! Class size is limited and attendance is mandatory for enrolled students!



Chess (SOLD OUT)

Grades K-1: 3:45-4:15 p.m.
Grades 1-5: 4:15-5:15 p.m.
No class on Nov. 28

Joining SSA since 2008, John Young, chess expert and instructor at a number of local schools, teaches everything from the basics of the game to winning strategies. His calm and supportive teaching style provides a comfortable environment for beginner and advanced player to develop their game. Note: Returning first grade students may sign up for the hour-long class. New students should sign up for the 30-minutes class to learn the basics.


Grades 2-5: 3:45-5:15 p.m.
No class on Nov. 28

Do you have a child who is curious about acting and what goes on behind the scenes of a show? If so, then let them release their inner thespian in this class! Students will learn the art of theater collaborations as they write, produce, and star in their own five-minute ensemble theater piece. Ms. Nancy McNulty-McGeever leads this class which differs from Jr. Drama class by putting the actor’s in the driver’s seat for script writing! Families will be invited to attend a performance in the gym at the conclusion of the winter term!


Grades PK-5 3:45-4:30 p.m.
No class on Nov. 28

“Hi Yah”-“Pow”-“Kihaa”—however you say it, prepare to have some fun! Kick your shoes off and join us for a fun and exciting tae kwon do training session like none other. Join Master Brianne Norris from Young Brothers Tae Kwon Do in Fox Chapel, as we strengthen our minds and bodies. Students will learn discipline, respect, and the keys to staying safe anywhere they go. Prepare to yell, kick, punch, and break boards all while having fun with your classmates and friends!


Grades PK-K: 3:45-4:15 p.m.
No class on Nov. 28

Join ASE’s amazing artist, Ms. Chris, for this class that’s an introduction to weaving using various techniques and materials for children!


Grades 1-5: 4:15-5:15 p.m.​​​​​​​
No class on Nov. 28

See what the ASE looming popularity is all about! In Wondrous Weavers, our resident craft maven, Ms. Chris, will teach students on a variety of looms to create usable handmade projects!


Grades PK-1: 3:45-4:15 p.m.
Grades 2-5: 4:15-4:45 p.m.​​​​​​​
No class on Nov. 28

First Tee DRIVE is the perfect activity for kids because it Develops Rewarding, Inspiring Values for Everyone!

In this class, join Jr School teacher and First Drive certified instructor, Mrs. Karen DiFiore as she gives students the chance to learn about golf and develop character through fun golf games all is the comfort of our own gym!

In-Service Days/Break Camps

For the 2019-2020 school year, ASE will offer in-service day and school break programming on all days the Junior School is not in session (excluding the holidays listed below). These exciting day- and week-long camps are much more than six hours of day care. Each affordable program is centered on a theme; over the course of the year, students will have a variety of learning opportunities and adventures both on and off campus!

Rates & Details

In-Service Day Programs
Open to SSA Junior School students only
40 participant maximum

Full-day programs: $75
Lunch provided

School Break Camps
Open to students from any school.
Weekly rate: $375
Daily rate: $80
Families must provide lunches and snacks daily.

All Programs

  • Programs run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Junior School unless otherwise noted.
  • FREE before care begins at 8 a.m.
  • After care is available until 6 p.m. at an additional cost of $20 per child (free on in-service days for attendees who are enrolled in ASE the day the program occurs).
  • A shuttle between the Junior and Senior School campuses is available for a fee of $5 per child. Bus departs the Senior School at 8:30 a.m. and returns at 3:30 p.m.
  • All activities included in program cost.
  • Late registrations are subject to a $20 fee. Some programs may not accept late registrations.

No programming is available on the following holidays:

  • Sept. 2 – Labor Day
  • Sept. 30 – Rosh Hashanah
  • Oct. 9 – Yom Kippur
  • Nov. 27, 28, 29 – Thanksgiving Break
  • Dec. 20-Jan. 5 – Winter Break
  • Jan. 20 – Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
  • Feb. 17 – Presidents' Day
  • April 10 – Good Friday
  • May 25 – Memorial Day

In-Service Day Programs

Sept. 12 - Hopes & Dreams Conferences
The Frick Art & Historical Center

Oct. 14 - Columbus Day
Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium

Nov. 15 - Evaluation Day
Fall Festival

Dec. 2 - Faculty In-Service Day
TBD-Stay Tuned!

Dec. 6 - Parent Conferences
TBD-Stay Tuned!

Feb. 21 - Optional Parent Conferences
TBD-Stay Tuned!

March 30 - Faculty In-Service Day
TBD-Stay Tuned!

May 18 - Evaluation Day
TBD-Stay Tuned!

May 29 - Parent Conferences
TBD-Stay Tuned!

Break Camps

Spring Break Camp, March 16-20, 2020

Spring Break Camp, March 23-27, 2020


Kristen Link, After School Director

Kristen Link is excited to meet the SSA students and families this fall as the After School Director! For the past 11 years, she served as the director of education and accessibility for City Theatre, overseeing the growth of the company’s Young Playwrights and Arts Access Programs. Prior to her work at City, she spent several years working in various arts administration offices, schools, and classrooms across Pittsburgh and Boston. Ms. Link holds a bachelor’s degree in theatre arts from Bethany College and a master’s degree in theatre education K-12 from Emerson College. 


Can my child take enrichment classes and music lessons?

Absolutely! That is the benefit of an all-inclusive program. The term rates include the choice of one enrichment class each day and one 30-minute music lesson each week (based upon availability) as well as snack, recess, games, sports and activities at play time, and access to a quiet, supervised Study Center and the Fox Chapel Shuttle.

How do I register?

Registration is on a first-come, first-served basis. Some enrichment classes fill up quickly! At the beginning of each term, you will receive an email to let you know that registration is open. Students will have the opportunity to choose new enrichment classes each term. Visit the Register Now! tab above to find the link to our online registration site when registration is open.

Do I need to send payment with my registration?

No. You have the option of being billed by the school at the end of each term (the charge will appear on your statement from SSA) or paying by credit card through our registration site.

Are enrichment classes or music lessons ever canceled?

Very infrequently! Because we have a stable set of teachers in the program, we are able to deal with the ebb and flow of registrations. Though SSA reserves the right to cancel a class for insufficient enrollment, we will have additional daily activities in which all enrolled children can participate. Play time and the Study Center will never be canceled if the Junior School is open.

If I'm running late, can my child stay after school?

If you encounter an unexpected delay, the After School Explorers program is available for a $40 daily drop-in rate per child. Students will have access to play time, the Study Center and the Fox Chapel Shuttle (based on availability and an additional fee) until 6 p.m. Changes to your child's transportation must be emailed to your child's teacher and

How do I pick my child up from After School Explorers?

For the safety of your child, all doors to the Junior School are locked. You can reach us by texting 412-254-4772 when you arrive, and we will open the doors nearest to the gym for you to enter the building. An ASE staff member will radio for your child to meet you near the gym doors. If you need to arrange for your child to be ready to be picked up when you arrive, we ask that you call 5-10 minutes in advance of your arrival to allow sufficient time for your child to wrap up an activity and to retrieve his or her belongings.

How many enrichment classes can my child take each day?

Your child will have access to one enrichment class for every day that they are enrolled in After School Explorers. This rate includes recess and snack, access to the Study Center, music lessons and Fox Chapel Shuttle (based on availability and an additional fee).

Who are the instructors for the program? Are students properly supervised?

A consistent group of qualified and experienced staff supervise students during music lessons, time in the Study Center and during unstructured play times. Enrichment classes are taught by SSA teachers and reputable members of the Pittsburgh community. Most enrichment classes are capped at 16 students.

Who can I contact with questions?

We welcome any questions regarding registration, billing and suggestions about future enrichment classes. Please contact Kristen Link at or 412-473-4375 


What is the Tax ID number for tax purposes?

Shady Side Academy's Tax ID number is 25-0965561.

Register Now!

After School Explorers Registration

After School Explorers registration for Winter 2019-2020 will open on October 22nd at 12:00 p.m. at the link below.

Note: After School Explorers is only available to currently enrolled SSA Junior School families.

Register Now!



In-Service Day & Break Camps Registration

Registration for in-service day programs and spring break camp is open at the link below. Families may register for all programs offered during the 2019-2020 school year.

Note: Break camps are open to students in grades PK-5 from any school. In-service day programs are only available to currently enrolled SSA Junior School families.

Register Now!