FORT RILEY, Kan. - Kiari Quevedo, 4, twirled in her pink leotard like a ballerina and then took off down the mat, somersaulting multiple times, as her mother, Lori Quevedo, a military spouse, watched her through the window.

"This is her favorite day of the week," Quevedo said. "She couldn't even tumble a few months ago."

Classes like ballet and tumbling are offered throughout the year as part of the Schools of Knowledge, Inspiration, Exploration and Skills program available for infants through adolescents.

Classes are offered Monday through Thursday on a pay-as-you-go system, and there is no cancellation fee.

Rashelle Anderson, instructional programming specialist for SKIES, said registration for classes has already begun for December.

Anderson said she encourages new customers to check the website for a listing of open spots in each class after the 15th of each month.

Any child can participate as long as they are registered through Child, Youth and School Services, located at Building 6620, Normandy Road, on Custer Hill.

Children enrolled in Child Development Services, School Age Services, Middle School Teen Center and Outreach Services Programs, as well as home-schooled children, are all eligible to participate in the activities each week.

The SKIES program operates on a four-school system, which includes the School of Sports, School of Arts, School of Life Skills and School of Academic Skills. Activities focus on a child's physical, cognitive, emotional and social development.

Classes range from ballet, tap, gymnastics, tumbling, judo and 'Mommy and Me.' During the spring, swimming, golf and horseback riding lessons also are offered.

A class for children 10 years of age and older is offered to educate them on being home alone and staying safe. Those interested in CPR and first aid certification or becoming a babysitter can take classes through SKIES as well.

"I am excited for the possibilities of where we are going," Anderson said.

Parents who have a spouse deployed can receive a credit of $300 toward SKIES classes for each child. The credits can be applied as early as 30 days prior to the Soldier's deployment.

"Having an activity and a way for kids to express themselves and giving children an outlet is important, especially when a parent is deployed," Anderson said.

"I see even the adults supporting one another, and they get some down time for themselves or to spend with another child one-on-one. It's also a flexible schedule, and financially, with the $300 credit in free classes, it's great for Families with multiple kids and tight budgets," she said.

Most classes meet once or twice a week and have about four classes a month.

"We have high quality instructors, and right now, more than 300 Families are involved," she said. "I'm hoping to do even more."

Anderson said she is always looking for instructors who have a special talent, love to work with children and can pass a background check.

The average class runs 30 minutes for younger children and 45 minutes for older children.

For more information, go to the SKIES website at www.rileymwr.com, scroll to the bottom of the page and click on the CYSS button. By signing in as a guest, new customers can view the activities offered by age, gender or grade of the child.

For more information on how to enroll in CYSS, call 785-239-9885.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16