Explorations

four cheerleaders
children gathered around a LEGO box.
a young child drawing Chinese characters.

Explore the possibilities

With a wide variety of classes in academics, arts, athletics and STEM, our Explorations program offers a way for your child to explore a different interest each day of the week.

View At-A-Glance Program Summary

So many options, it’s hard to decide.

Exploration classes are places where children can learn about new interests or become even more engaged in an already beloved activity. Whether your child is a budding actor, tech wizard, athlete, author or dancer, we’ve got something for them to explore!

My kindergartner loves to stay for Explorations classes! Every morning he asks me which Extend class he will attend and how he cannot wait to go to Chess, Spanish, Art or Coding class! Even if I were not a working mom, I’d still enroll him into these enrichment classes. The teachers are loving and engaging. Every class and the Extend program overall is a very engaging learning experience.

Kelly Liebbe, Parent Class of 2034

Meet Our Partners

Dallas Magic Academy

Dallas resident Dal Sanders opened Dallas Magic Academy in 2016; he has been a professional magician for more than 40 years and has performed across the United States and overseas. Dallas Magic Academy programs help students build self-discipline, self-confidence, and interpersonal abilities. The Discover Magic course is an educational program specifically designed to teach respect, creativity, confidence, and preparedness among other things. In fact, it’s best described as a life skills course camouflaged to look like magic lessons. Kids become so engrossed and entertained in learning the magic tricks that they don’t realize they’re acquiring skills whose benefits they’ll reap for a lifetime. Indeed, many opportunities for performing magic tricks arise later in adult life, whether as an ice breaker for colleagues or a doctor who uses magic tricks to put their young patients at ease.

The Knight School

Founded by Head Coach and 20-year veteran classroom teacher David Brooks, Ph.D., The Knight School, and their coaches are powerfully driven to bring the joy of chess to every child in America. During their allotted weekly chess time, coaches initiate a unique, party-based, kid-focused, high-octane approach to learning chess and rocking a very fun chess tournament. The long, boring chess clocks, awkward required silence, mandatory chess notation, and friendless chess tournaments of our grandfathers’ generation are gone! In their place is The Knight School: fun movies, exciting driving music that accompanies their challenging chess puzzlers for candy prizes, their colorful silicone wristbands system in which each color connotes mastery of a different chess tactic, and daily chess tournaments where students play for each other’s Mardi Gras beads! Laughter and friends and silliness abound, and their chess classes ring every single kid-bell. In this party atmosphere, kids get better each week without even noticing.

Jenna Reichstadt

Mrs. Reichstadt is an expert Mandarin Chinese teacher who has over 30 years of Chinese language teaching experience. She holds a B.A. in Education from Anhui Institute of Education from Hefei, Anhui, P.R. of China. She also finished all pre-medical school program with honors at Sonoma State University, California.

SPARK Business Academy

 SPARK Business Academy was founded by J. Chuchi Arevalo in 2013 with the mission to empower students of all ages with essential financial literacy skills and an entrepreneurial mindset.

​SPARK is the financial literacy partner at over 250 public and private schools, including many of the top schools in the country and outside of the U.S.

​Before launching SPARK, Chuchi enjoyed a successful career in finance as a Director at PwC’s Financial Services Advisory practice, where he managed large-scale, multi-million dollar engagements at some of the most prominent global banks and led numerous corporate training programs for staff. Chuchi was a key member of the September 11 Victim Compensation Fund (VCF), which awarded over $7 billon to victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Chuchi earned an MBA with an emphasis in finance from the Georgetown University McDonough School of Business and a BA (Hons) degree in Economics from the University of West London, England. Chuchi is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) charter holder and a Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE).

VineyardApp

VineyardApp was built on the belief that early acts of entrepreneurship and development of real skills pay dividends down the road. All students have great ideas; with mentorship to unlock their ideas, they can begin their journey. Through building on their own, students learn to think critically about a problem and identify ways to solve problems with the tools they have. With so many different camps available VineyardApp wanted to build one where students can walk away with a tangible accomplishment.

VineyardApp cares about how they teach just as much as what they’re teaching. Their instructors are engaging, experienced, and fun. They constantly challenge students’ thinking, and the small group environment lends to students learning from each other in addition to the instructor. Students immediately put into practice the information they learn with activities and exercises, cementing students’ knowledge of the material. Not only that: their class curriculums are version controlled so that teachers are able to submit curriculum improvements after every class.

 

 

Melanie M Brannan

At an early age Brannan loved art. In elementary school her crayon drawings drew the attention of classmates and sometimes the objection of her teachers for not following exact instructions. At the age of 10, her mother gave her a small set of oil paints. The set didn’t come with a paint brush, so she created her first painting on a discarded wooden panel with toothpicks. From that painting, she knew she had found her place. In high school, Brannan won her first two Best of Show awards in art competitions.

Brannan received her Bachelor of Fine Arts from Louisiana Tech University in Advertising and Graphic Design. After graduation Brannan opened her own graphic design firm in Dallas which she had for 25 years. Her client list included national and international accounts including Neiman Marcus, Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, Southwest Airlines, and Mobil Oil Corporation.

In 2009, Brannan closed the design firm and returned to painting. She started working with a client who was building a home in Highland Park and wanted a few commission pieces. For years, they would meet weekly discussing art, reviewing comps, and delivering the final pieces. Overall, she painted 27 pieces for that home.

While starting this new career as a fine artist, Brannan taught painting classes to adults and children. She discovered how much she loved to teach the techniques, the history of art and the Masters. Brannan stated, “Teaching has brought so much to my own paintings. When you are teaching a Matisse, van Gogh or Kandinsky, you need to know their story, brush strokes, techniques, and palettes…I will forever be a student of art.”

DIMA Texas

DFW Institute of Musical Advancement (DIMATexas) provides after school music enrichment programs to independent schools in the Dallas Metroplex. DIMATexas was founded in 2018 by Dr. Elida Dakoli when she discovered that there was a need for high quality music instruction in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. She was asked quite often to provide private piano lessons at the school her children attended. DIMATexas has since expanded into a multitude of independent schools, providing more than ten classically trained artists that teach private, semi-private, and group lessons.

Dr. Dakoli began her formative musical training at a young age in Durres, Albania and by the age of twelve she had performed her first solo recital and began performing concerts throughout Albania. At the age of 18, Dr. Dakoli was accepted into the University of Music, Tirana, Albania to study under Professor Anita Tartari and received her Bachelor of Music degree in Piano Performance and Pedagogy. She has won many awards and has performed on some of the world’s most prestigious stages. In 2003, Dr. Dakoli left Albania to study at Baylor University in Waco. She graduated with a Master of Music in Piano Performance in 2005. In 2017, Dr. Dakoli earned her Doctor of Musical Arts in Piano Performance degree from Louisiana State University. She serves as music faculty at Dallas Baptist University. Dr. Dakoli also serves on the Lamplighter Parents’ Association and coordinates The Lamplighter School’s annual Media Center Open House Student Recital. Dr. Dakoli is a Mason & Hamlin Artist and serves as the face of and is a recording artist for PianoDisc.

KidoKinetics

Founded by Terri Braun, Kidokinetics has engaged children with fun, high-energy sports, and fitness classes since 1996. They are a premier sports, fitness, health, and recreation program provider that comes to local preschools, elementary schools, local parks, or community centers.

Terri Braun is an athlete, leader, teacher, and mother of three. Her programs keep children moving and active. The magic of Kidokinetics is that they’ve made sure achieving goals is an exciting experience — one that is so much fun, kids aren’t even aware of the fact that they’re learning.

XFactor Cheer

 Coach Ty Smith is from Chicago and started in competitive gymnastics in elementary school and by the time he was 16 he was an assistant coach. Coach Ty has been teaching recreational and competitive Gymnastics for more than 30 years. He coaches gymnasts on balance beam, vaulting horse, floor tumbling skills and uneven/parallel bars. He also has taught recreational and competitive cheerleading for more than 25 years including stunts, cheers, chants, motions, transitions, voice projection and power tumbling. He is safety certified American First Aid AED/CPR Association Advance Broken Bone Certificate.

8Bit Education

 Serving schools and recreation centers in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, 8Bit Education strives to create fun, engaging STEM curriculum that encourages technical and social skills both in and out of the classroom. 8Bit Education is family owned and operated. They were founded in 2015 because they saw a need for high-quality, affordable STEM Education.

Founder, Adrian Sanchez, Jr., has been in the field of STEM Education for more than 12 years; he has worked with other companies and has seen what is possible when you open the door to the world of tech for students. He believes everyone should be able to have the experience of learning new skills and having fun at the same time!

Adrian works very closely with his brother and lead instructor, Tony Sanchez. Tony ensures the staff are properly trained to their high standards. The Sanchez brothers work diligently to keep each student engaged and will often team up to teach camps and classes. They also work very closely in developing new material and camps.

The final member of the team is Olivia Sanchez, Adrian’s wife. She works closely with the brothers to develop new curriculum as well as recruiting new partners, developing marketing materials, and working on anything 8Bit might need. 

Nexplore

 Nexplore fosters a love of learning in all their students through hands-on experiences designed to inspire and empower their natural curiosity. They are committed to offering a diverse range of learning opportunities where students can explore their passions and strengthen core Life Skills needed to thrive in the 21st century. This includes:

  • Critical thinking, problem-solving, and logical reasoning.
  • Intrapersonal and interpersonal social skills
  • Emotional awareness and management
  • Creative thinking and innovation
  • Physical health and fitness
  • Cultural understanding, global awareness, and respect for humankind

Nexplore’s mission is to foster the joy of learning through enrichment opportunities so that each child may discover and explore a passion that drives him or her to excel and continue their path of education throughout their school years.

NuMinds Enrichment

NuMinds Enrichment was founded in 2013 by Ben Koch and Justin Vawter with the purpose of awakening education through real inspired learning. They create engaging, mixed-age programs and empower teachers around the world to transform their students through innovative practices, divergent thought, critical thinking, and a growth mindset. They do this by incorporating their core values of presuming the best, thinking like a kid, asking questions, allowing imagination, curiosity & wonder fuel the engine and believing in unlocked potential to pave the way for each class they teach.

Additional Information

Explorations FAQs

What username do I use where?

On the top right corner of the Parish Plus page is our new Parish Plus account login. If you have placed an online PAWS order on this site, you likely already have an account that you set up. If you do not have an account, create one now if you want to be able to see all of your activity for Parish Plus in one place! The username and password for your Parish Plus account is separate from the username and password you use to access the registration (UltraCamp) site.

How do I reset my registration site (UltraCamp) password?

We apologize but the tool to have that system send a password reset does not appear to work consistently. Please email us for assistance with passwords.

When do Extend exploration classes begin?

For Spring 2023 most classes will begin the week of January 9; some classes may begin later. Please review your registration for start dates, end dates and day/time of the class.

How do I register for Explorations?

You may register for Extended Care through the Parish Extend registration site. Please note that your Parish Extend account, login and password are unique to Parish Extend and are not the same as your Parish Plus login or your myPARISH portal login.

How does the waitlist work?

When a class is full, you may have an option to sign up for the class waitlist. If space becomes available, you’ll receive an automatic message letting you know space is available and you have 24 hours to register.

How do I filter for classes?

At the top, right side of each page on the Parish Plus website is a red button that says Browse Programs. This will take you to a listing of all the programs we are currently offering. Once on this page you can filter your results – on the left side of this page are many options for narrowing down your results. You can filter by program type, grade, dates (including day of the week by clicking the plus button), interests and location. You can also use the search bar on this filter to look for specific classes or instructors.

What grade do I select for my Primer child?

Please select Kindergarten for your Primer student’s grade level in your account.

When I register for an Extend class do I also need Extended Care?

If you are registering for an Exploration class and need care beyond the class time, please also register for Extended Care for the same day. You will receive a discount on the price of care when you do both in the same day.

Is there a discount for registering for both classes and care on the same day?

Using the following discount codes at checkout that correlate to your desired day: MON, TUE, WED, THU, FRI will apply a 20% discount to Extended Care for that day when you have registered for care by the day of the week, for example Extended Care Mondays accepts the MON code, etc. You can use as many codes as apply for each day of week when both care and a class are selected. If an Exploration class is selected for each day of the week, you may use the code EXP for the discount when All School Days care is selected. For questions about extended care or discounts, please email Extend@Parish.org.

Do you offer payment plans?

Yes, we offer payment plans via your Parish Extend account. Follow the prompts in the system to set up your plan.

What is the Cancellation/Refund policy?

Parish reserves the right to cancel any class or program for insufficient enrollment in which case the full class cost will be refunded. We will make every effort to cancel classes at least one week prior to the start date.

Our refund policy for when a child is withdrawn from a class is as follows:

  • Cancellation/Withdrawal up to 10 school days before the start of class:
    • Class cost less $50.00 will be refunded.
    • If you choose to transfer into a new class rather than cancel, there is no financial penalty.
  • Cancellation/Withdrawal less than 10 school days before the start of class:
    • No refund will be made less than 10 school days prior to class start date. Unpaid class costs are still considered due.

Fees paid for Extended Care by-the-day, All Day Care and Early Release Care are not refundable. Fees paid for All School Days, or Day of the Week Extended Care are transferable but not refundable.

Please email Extend@Parish.org for all withdrawals or transfer requests.

Where do the classes take place?

Classes are held in classrooms all over campus. Your child will be escorted to class each day.

What happens before and after the class?

Hillcrest: 3:00 pm classes gather in the gym and are walked to their class. 4:00 pm classes attend extended care first and are then walked to their class.

Midway: Students gather in the cafeteria and are walked to their class. At pick up parents will come into the building to sign their child out. Fifth and Sixth grade students may sign themselves out with parental permission. Seventh grade students and above may sign themselves out.

How do I add the name of someone who may pick up my child?

You can add an authorized adult to pick up your child through your Parish Extend account. They will be required to present their driver’s license upon pickup.

How do I access my forms?

To complete the Registration Form, Homework Completion Form, or student sign out permission, please access your forms. To access your forms view this step by step tutorial.

What is your inclement weather policy?

If inclement weather impacts an Exploration class, we will make every effort to make a cancellation decision in a timely manner. In the event of a cancellation, we will notify the primary and secondary contact on the student account. If the school announces closure which includes Extend programs, we will not provide additional notification. If a class must be cancelled for weather or other unforeseen circumstances, we will not refund class fees for missed sessions.

Contact Parish Extend

Have questions about Parish Extend? Reach out to our team – we’d love to hear from you.
Keep up with us on Instagram and Faceboook.