While many of us prep for “Back to School” – one overlooked aspect of the back to school planning, is afterschool. We’ve talked to parents whose children attend a school where the afterschool offerings are too costly, have a limited amount of seating, or do not exist at all. And there are occasions where the afterschool program is not as fulfilling as we’d like it to be.

There are plenty of options for parents who wish to provide their children with some enrichment, a different atmosphere, or both. Below you will find some of our favorite afterschool choices, complete with links to their websites.

Have a fantastic Afterschool program open to the public? Is it Uptown? If we did not list it below, please comment and let us know about it. We’d love to include it and provide parents with all they need for a successful school year!


  • Figure Skating in Harlem: Obviously a favorite of UptownBirdies as both of our daughters are enrolled. See more about the program here. Girls must live Uptown and commit to 4 to 5 days of this year round program. There’s tutoring, and enrichment classes (STEAM, Financial literacy and more) and the best part! the girls participate in a grand show in March – showing off what their hard work and dedication can achieve.


  • JCC Harlem: The Jewish Community Center is a cultural hub for everyone. Their aim has always been to unite everyone in their community, regardless of race or religion. This is demonstrated by their new location in Harlem, where the JCC provides adult and kid programs, as well as events (check out a performance of “The Curly monologues” performed in mid-september about the hair that binds us all). Their Fall/Winter afterschool options include the Harlem Hubhouse, chess, dance, Jewish Culture and more! They also offer pickup from some Harlem schools!


  • Uptown Stories: Whether you have a kid who loves writing or loathes writing, Uptown Stories offers programs with fun themes, to inspire writers an opportunity to put pen to paper – in a creative way. Their afterschool programs run everyday of the week except Friday, as well as Saturday classes, with themes like Screenwriting, Fiction writing, and even a comic book writing class!


  • New York Math Academy: This Afterschool program offers Math tutoring and enrichment. The offer small group sessions, Homeschool classes, as well as one-on-one personal tutoring in Math. Located in Central Harlem, students are expected to attend several times a week, instilling a rhythmic rigor in their young students – who leave as better students and often, as math lovers.


  • Bread&Yoga: Offers a 3-day afterschool program. With small class sizes, progressive educators and pick-up from local schools. They include nutritious snacks and let the little ones enjoy “down time” when they first arrive. There are 2 classes per day, and each day begins at 3:30 with pick up at 5:30pm (or 6pm extended day). There are offerings in Drama, Yoga, Photography, Cooking, Sewing, Drawing and more. Classes are mixed ages and split into 2 groups: K-2 or Grades 3-5.


  • Riverbank State Park: Their Fall/Winter schedule offers a bevy of affordable options for youth (adult and senior offerings too). Many of their classes take place on Saturdays, however Youth swimming, music, art, tumbling and Teen music, dancing and sports are all available on various weekdays. Riverbank registration is notoriously competitive with parents lining up at 5am to get a spot for their child, and with costs per class at $60 and below you can see why. Click here to view the Fall/Winter 2017 Program schedule.


  • The Center by Reach: primarily a hub for homeschoolers, with week long intensives in specific areas (Math, Robotics, Social Studies), The Center by Reach also plans to open it’s doors to everyone with afterschool offerings like tutoring and gymnastics! There are fun activities on Saturdays like “Escape Room” for kids. Stay tuned to their website for more!


  • Uptown Ballet Academy: After years of teaching throughout the Greater New York City area, Jackie Parrott opened Uptown Ballet Academy to share the joy of dance in Upper Manhattan, and to also bring a high level of dance education to the neighborhood. She focuses on providing children with a nurturing and disciplined environment for their dance studies. Classes include Ballet, Movement as well as Boys Class, Move with Me (parent and me dance), Tap, and Conservatory Ballet. Classes start at ages 3 and up.


  • Pouncing Tigers Karate: At this Dojo, students are taught the importance of respect, for their martial arts training, for their instructor, for each other. The lessons are not just about fighting an enemy, or defending yourself – the lessons are about navigating life: exercising restraint, avoiding conflict. Classes are disciplined but fun, and the instructors know every kid by name. Attend practice every week, 2/3 times a week or more, and see their progress every four months with belt promotion!


  • P.A.L.: The Police Athletic League has 20 locations spread across the boroughs, and 5 of those locations are in Manhattan. All of their locations offer afterschool options in S.T.E.M., Art and Fitness for children in grades K through 8.


  • Wayfinders: The Wayfinder Experience is a live-action role-playing company (aka L.A.R.P.ing) that immerses players into a transformative experience that challenges players physically, mentally and emotionally, all the while creating an exciting world of fantasy. Wayfinders offers homeschool classes as well. This experience teaches children teamwork and cooperative play.
Shaneeka Wilson
Author: Shaneeka Wilson

Mom to an adult trapped in a tween's body (HELP!). Passionate about Education, Community Involvement, and Good Coffee. Co-creator of Uptown Birdies.