Feature Stories

Explorers staff and student outside

Explorers has been one of Minnetonka’s fundamental learning programs for years, and it continues to play an essential role in supporting students each day. Minnetonka’s exceptional team of Explorers staff provide a fun and supportive environment where students can develop to their full potential socially, emotionally, physically and intellectually.

Minnetonka Community Education offers both before and after school Explorers for elementary school students, as well as Junior Explorers, which serves as full-time childcare for kids ages 3 to 5. At both programs, staff members take part in a wide variety of tasks ranging from organizing group projects and activities, supervising students during indoor and outdoor play time, and serving food at meal times.

Over the past year, Explorers staff have gone above and beyond to support students during the coronavirus pandemic and online learning. “When the COVID-19 pandemic began and everything closed down, Explorers stayed open to provide childcare to families of critical care workers,” explained Molly Bahneman, the Program Manager for Explorers at Minnetonka. 

The Explorers staff took many steps to ensure that students were able to stay safe while also continuing to learn and enjoy themselves. Group sizes were smaller, and students did activities only with other students in their same group. The same masking and social distancing policies required at schools were also in place at Explorers. 

Minnetonka would not be able to provide the same level of care for students without the hard work that Explorers staff put in each day. Oftentimes, the hours spent at both Junior and K-5 Explorers play a huge role in the social and academic development of students.  

“Explorers allows for kids to learn through play,” added Bahneman. “Kids have an opportunity to play with other students they may not have the opportunity to play with during the school day. Explorers creates a sense of being safe at school, and helps [the school] to build relationships with families.” 

Make sure to reach out to your Explorers teacher this week and thank them for their dedication to supporting Minnetonka students and families!

Learn more about Explorers.


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