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Be cool after school

A guide to selected afterschool enrichment programs for children

Posted: August 28, 2008 6:20 p.m.
Updated: October 30, 2008 5:01 a.m.
Santa Clarita Valley has many opportunities to choose among many high-quality after-school programs, practically one for every interest or talent. Santa Clarita Valley has many opportunities to choose among many high-quality after-school programs, practically one for every interest or talent.
Santa Clarita Valley has many opportunities to choose among many high-quality after-school programs, practically one for every interest or talent.
SCV has a speed skating league, hockey leagues and a figure-skating arena. SCV has a speed skating league, hockey leagues and a figure-skating arena.
SCV has a speed skating league, hockey leagues and a figure-skating arena.
There are many activities that enhance a child's total learning experience outside of school. Fortunately, the Santa Clarita Valley has many opportunities to choose among many high-quality programs, practically one for every interest or talent.

Children at any age can participate in activities that teach them valuable life skills, stimulate their brains, improve physical coordination or teach leadership qualities. The best way to decide which program is right for you is to let your children decide. Maybe one wants to play hockey, join the swim team or learn to play the guitar. Perhaps your other child has her heart set on acting, piano lessons, dance, drama or gymnastics. Go with what feels most natural for you and your child.

Some programs even offer classes for adults. Who knows, perhaps the next musical genius, movie star, champion ice skater or Olympic gold medal champion might emerge from a local studio or gym. One thing is certain, studies prove that extracurricular activities boost test scores and can increase interest in academic studies. So go on, find something great to help your kids be cool after school.

Among the many choices for your afterschool program dollars:

Wallers' GymJam Academy is owned and directed by 1992 Olympian and 2004 Olympic Coach, Chris Waller and his wife, Cindy Waller. They offer all levels of gymnastics from Parent and Me and preschool ages to the highest levels of girls' competitive team. They recently completed a major renovation to raise the facility to world-class training standards and increased the facility to more than 14,000 square feet. Wallers' GymJam Academy, 26515 Ruether Ave., Canyon Country. Information (661) 251-3390 or

Fun and Fit Gymnastic Center defines success as personal best instead of better than others and help children feel good about themselves. Jeff Lulla founded the centers with the goal of providing a safe and secure environment to help students believe that they can accomplish whatever they put their mind and effort to. Fun and Fit programs include walking - 3-years-old; tumble tots and transitional; 3-6 year-old kid's progressive and day camp 6-17 years; boys and girls progressive, cheerleading, private lessons and demonstration teamFun and Fit Gymnastic Center, 26620 Valley Center Drive, Unit 108, Canyon Country, (at the new Golden Valley bridge over Soledad). Information (661) 255-7244 or

As a professional training program, the Santa Clarita School of Performing Arts offers classes in TV, movie and stage acting, commercials, voice, dance, print and runway modeling. SCSOPA is the only performing arts school in the SCV to have Hollywood agents drop by every Saturday and its students are regularly featured on TV shows, film, commercials and print ads. Santa Clarita School of Performing Arts, 23502 Lyons Ave. Suite 105, Newhall. For information call (661) 222-7910 or e-mail at or online at

Vibe Performing Arts Studio with more than twenty-five instructors, and four hundred weekly students, VIBE has become the largest performing arts school in the Santa Clarita Valley. They offer instruction in singing, acting, instruments and dance for students from infant to adult. Vibe Performing Arts Studio, 24460 1/4 Lyons Ave., Newhall. Information (661) 255-7464 or

The Dance Experience offers lyrical, tap, jazz and hip hop in addition to ballet classes. 26951 Ruether Ave. Canyon Country. Information (661) 251-7460.

Dance Studio 84 offers a full range of dance instruction at al levels. Call Carla Hunt Smallwood for class schedule (661) 775-7655. Dance Studio 84, 27889 Smyth Drive, Valencia.

Or contact Katie Stein at Elite Dance Studios, 29439 The Old Road, Castaic, (661) 295-7774.

A classic in the community, the Santa Clarita Ballet Academy offers a strong, professional, all-inclusive dance program that emphasizes a classical ballet style and a warm, supportive environment for its students. They offer ballet lessons for three year olds through adult dancers. Ballet classes are priced on a weekly and a monthly basis. Santa Clarita Ballet Academy, 26798 Oak Ave., Canyon Country. Information (661) 251-6844.

Keyboard Galleria Music Center has been an indispensable music resource in the Santa Clarita Valley, where owner Dennis Weber has provided professional musical instruction since 1989. Lessons include voice, piano, drums, guitar, bass, violin, all brass and wind instruments.

"We offer private, one on one lessons on nearly all instruments," said Store Manager Jason McKay. "We have 12 rooms and 12 instructors and have classes going on all the time."

McKay said professional musicians teach about 400 students per week, with 30 minute lessons costing $95 per month on average. Piano lessons begin at age 4 and up. Hours are Monday -Thursday after 2 p.m., Saturday all day. Enrollment is continuous throughout the year. Keyboard Galleria Music Center, 21515 Soledad Canyon Road, #120, Canyon Country. (661) 259-5397.

Michael Lyn has taught and played professional rock ‘n roll and classical guitar professionally for more than 20 years. For private guitar lessons, call (661) 857-1717.

With the motto "Music Lessons For All Ages" West Coast Music Academy offers professional credentialed instruction in guitar, piano, voice, drums, bass and more. Classes for children and adults include beginner, performance, music theory and ear training. West Coast Music Academy, 2665 Valley Center Drive, No. 109, Canyon Country. (661) 362-8181 or (661) 253- 9262 or online at

Mindy Cabral, owner of Little School of Music in Saugus, believes singing in groups can boost a kid's confidence. "If it's a really shy child, I would suggest being in a class with other kids because that provides the opportunity to blend in, she said. Because the child is not alone in the spotlight, he or she is able to slowly build confidence with the help of peers. Cabral, who offers voice lessons, said a child's environment also matters in how the child will be able to perform.

Little School of Music, Mindy Cabral, 26111 Bouquet Canyon Road, Unit G-5, Saugus. (661) 222-2239.
Professional rock drummer Kevin McCloud founded Hubbadaddy's Studios just to allow local kids and teens the chance to learn the ropes of rock from real working musicians. Their After School Rock is an engaging hand on musical experience where musicians and vocalists of similar ages and styles get the chance to play together, learn and rock out and play in front of a live audience as part of a real band. All musical styles are included. The program also includes concert performances. So get your rock singer or Guitar Hero out of the garage and into a real rehearsal studio! Hubbadaddy's Studios 26330 Diamond Place, Unit 140, Santa Clarita, or e-mail info@hubbadaddy' or For information call (661) 287-4480.

Sept. 15 is the deadline to register for the ESCAPE Children's Theatre production of "The Music Man." Registration will close with 70 kids in each group. The fee is $150 by Sept. 15. First rehearsal is Monday, Sept. 15 at Valencia Valley School in Valencia. Times are K-3 6 p.m., 4-6th grades, 7 p.m. and 7-12 grades at 8 p.m. Ensemble rehearsals every Monday evening and lead roles rehearse on Wednesday nights. For more information call (661) 299-5264.

As the director of the nonprofit California Youth Chess League, Jay Stallings feels chess teaches kids valuable life lessons. "They whine less and think more," he said. Ranked third best chess champion in the United States in 1977, for the last 15 years, Coach Jay has been sharing his knowledge and insight with hundreds of elementary school children in the Santa Clarita Valley.

"Children who play chess grow up to problem-solve," he said. If you are interested in a CYCL chess program at your school contact Jay Stallings or (661) 288-1705.
Release your child's inner artist and/or musician at the SCV Arts Center, where they can develop skills in visual and performing arts. Professional local artists teach classes in graphite, charcoal pastel, pen & ink, watercolor, acrylic, oil, sculpture, pottery, cartooning, animation, Anime and kinder arts. Music and performing arts instruction include piano, guitar, voice, singing (solo and group) and acting for stage and TV. They also host an intense summer camp each year in art and music. The SCV Arts Center is located in the Sutter Point Plaza, 27737 Bouquet Canyon Road No. 113, Saugus. To register call (661) 296-0755 or

The Language Workshop for Children - A Small World offers a revolutionary Thibaut Technique to teach foreign languages to infants and children from six months to nine-years-old. Numerous studies link the study of a foreign language to higher IQ scores and standardized test scores, including SAT and ACT, as well as higher academic achievement through a child's life. The Thibaut Technique's curriculum included vocabulary-building songs, visual aids and language immersion. For more information call (661) 296-2226 or

For quality youth programs and after school care, one need only look to the Boys & Girls Club of Santa Clarita Valley. Currently, more than 3,500 young people between the ages of 7 and 17 are involved in a wide variety of programs including education and career exploration, the arts, sports, recreation and fitness, character, leadership development and healthy life choices under the supervision of trained and dedicated staff members. The club is a non-profit, non-sectarian organization and membership is $24 per child per year. Club facilities are located in three locations. The Central Facility and Administrative offices are at 24909 Newhall Ave. Newhall, between William S. Hart High School and Placerita Junior High in Newhall Park, (661) 254-2582. Sierra Vista Clubhouse, 19425 Stillmore, Canyon Country, on the campus of Sierra Vista Junior High, (661) 251-6017. Val Verde Clubhouse, 30300 Arlington, Val Verde, at Val Verde Park, (661) 257-4021.

The Karate for Kids system is based on a life-skill training curriculum specifically developed by the American Taekwondo Association. The building blocks for the system include monthly themes such as goal setting, confidence, perseverance, self-control, and dedication just to name a few. The Tiny Tiger program was developed specifically for preschool age children ages 2 through 6. This program offers children a strong foundation in essential character qualities such as courtesy, respect, and discipline. In addition, the program is designed to improve children's motor skills and enhance their ability to pay attention and follow directions. All classes are taught using the most safe, fun, and exciting instruction methods available for this age group. ATA Leadership Academies, Paul Kim, 26635 Valley Center Drive, No. 102, Canyon Country. Information (661) 259-8900 or

Gavin Espinosa's Black Belt Academy, 24525 Town Center Drive Valencia, 91355 or 25844 Hemmingway at Stevenson Ranch Parkway, Stevenson Ranch. Information (661) 799-7438 go online to
Gold Medal Martial Arts, in Canyon Country and Castaic, owner and chief Instructor, Robert Gast. "Martial arts as a whole is continuing to grow, because of what it provides in structure and discipline," said Rey Reyes, program director of Gold Medal Martial Arts in Canyon Country. "Our motto and mission statement is ‘traditions of the past, students of today and leaders of tomorrow,' sums up what we are all about, taking traditions, apply to students of today to build them up and create leaders of tomorrow."

Reyes also said many ADD and autistic kids do very well in martial arts programs because it provides them more structure, discipline and routine, They offer Tiny Tigers for kids 3-6; Karate for Kids program for ages 7-12 and Adult 13-up. Monthly fees are $100 to $165 and you can sign up anytime throughout the year.

Gold Medal Martial Arts, 16538 Soledad Canyon Road, Canyon Country, (661) 252-5425.

Contact Gold Medal Martial Arts at 29487 N. The Old Road, Castaic or call (661) 295- 5511.
Perhaps your child is really a fish! The Academy Swim Club and Santa Clarita Swim Clubs offer year-round swimming lessons from infant to adult. Academy Swim Club, 28079 Smyth Drive, Valencia. Information (661) 702-8585. Santa Clarita Swim Club, 23955 Calgrove Blvd., Newhall. Information (661) 255-1438.

Aquatics Center The next Michael Phelps might just emerge from the ranks of the students at the Aquatics Center at the George A. Caravalho Sports Complex. It boasts three pools, including a 50-meter competition pool with a professional timing system, a 25-meter dive pool and an activity pool complete with water play equipment and a 160-foot water slide. Information (661) 250-3700.

Did you know the SCV has a speed skating league, hockey leagues and a figure-skating arena? Well, it does and you can sign up your future Olympic champions at the Ice Station in Valencia, the 92,000 square foot complex that has everything a hockey fan or figure skater should need. The complex contains three rinks, a climate-controlled restaurant, spacious banquet facilities, an arcade, pro shop and a panoramic view of the valley. Public ice skating sessions are offered seven days a week, and the center's Skating Academy provides professional instruction in figure skating and hockey for all ages. The Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada are only 18 months away. Ice Station Valencia, 27745 North Smyth Drive, Valencia. Information (661) 775-8686.


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