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Last Spring, former homeschool instructor Lisa Arrigo partnered with the Roudenbush Community Center to create a series of recreational educational, and creatively-focused classes for local children this summer and fall.
From no bake cooking, to learning about paleontology, and reading classic children’s books, Arrigo’s classes are meant to be a place for kids to learn new things, while still having fun through games and creative activities.
“We have fun. It’s not as structured as, say, an art lesson that you would take your child to every week. They come in, and they create something, and they learn something at the same time. Even if it’s a food activity, they’re learning how to share, take turns, or be kind to each other, if maybe somebody’s creation didn’t come out as nicely as somebody else’s,” Arrigo said.
Arrigo’s love for creative education first began in the 10-year period when she was raising and home schooling her two children, Lucy and Bradley Arrigo, while also running a co-op for homeschoolers. After her children graduated, however, Arrigo decided to continue teaching; this time using a less traditional method.
“Both of my kids graduated, and I finished, and I thought ‘I really want to keep teaching,’ but I didn’t want to teach by the book anymore. I wanted to do something a little bit different that maybe was a little bit out there. Something that kids would enjoy doing, and parents would feel that their kids were getting something from it, but at the same time, it wasn’t so structured,” Arrigo said.
One of Roudenbush’s more imminent events will be a cupcake decorating session for children of all ages, Thursday, July 19. There, kids will be able to frost, decorate, and bring home cupcakes, In discussing the cupcake class, Roudenbush Community Center Director of Community Outreach Stephanie Lanzillo said that she saw Arrigo’s classes as a demonstration of exactly what Roudenbush represents.
“Lisa, the instructor, is amazing. She runs the class and she will be teaching these kids how to decorate cupcakes, and all these different ways that they can bring home some nice treats,” Lanzillo said.
“We’re Westford’s community center, so we try to focus on allowing people of all ages and all walks of life to come in and do something fun, and to know that Roudenbush is the place that you go to get information, to take some fun classes, to further your education in non-university type settings,” Lanzillo said. “Really, our mission is to enrich the lives of our community from the very, very young, to our older population,” she said.
Arrigo sees kitchen fun as an alternative for kids to playing on technological devices. To her, arts and crafts, either culinary or traditional, are beneficial to both a child’s cognitive development, as well as his or her’s inventive side.
Although for most, cupcake decorating might seem to be a purely recreational activity, Arrigo sees kitchen fun as an alternative for kids to playing on technological devices. To her, arts and crafts, either culinary or traditional, are beneficial to both a child’s cognitive development, as well as his or her’s inventive side.
“I love technology as much as the next person, but I think sometimes it’s still helpful to work on those fine motor skills: the cutting, the pasting, even when you’re decorating a cupcake, and you’re using a frosting bag, as silly as it sounds, a child is using their fine motor skills to do that, and they’re also being a little bit creative,” Arrigo said. “There’s nothing that makes me happier than when a child creates something in one of their classes, and they can’t wait to go home and share with their family.”
For parents who might be interested in sending their kids to one of Arrigo’s Roudenbush classes, prices range from $20 to $40, with discounted rates for Westford residents. Classes are also suitable to children of all abilities.
“This is all the stuff that I would love to do if I was a kid, so I like creating these classes for that reason,” Arrigo said. “ I have the best job, I really do, I love working with kids, and I’ve worked with all abilities of children,” she said.