As the new school year approaches, parents everywhere find themselves in “back to school” mode, searching for school supplies, organizing transportation and busing, attending open houses and back to school events, and of course, finding all of the coolest clothes for their kiddos! But, for some parents, organizing before and after school care is a challenge.
In today’s society, children of all ages spend much of their time in school, child care settings, or before and after care programs. Although some parents can work from home and others are able to stay at home with their children, more and more families seek outside care for their children during the work week.
Heather Grocott of The Children’s Workshop shared that following tips for what to look for when thinking about before and after school care:What matters most when looking into before and after school care:
- Be sure to pay attention to the cleanliness of the building, the appearance of the furnishings, and the personality of the staff.
- When the child walks in the door, what happens? Is there a routine? Is there a sign-in system? Is there an option to have a snack?
- Homework time – are teachers available to foster appropriate homework time in a quiet environment?
- It is imperative for children to have options. High quality before and after care programs acknowledge how children develop and realize that it is important for children to have options and make appropriate choices for their own well-being. Children should be able to choose from 3 or 4 different options.
- What type of activities are taking place within the environment? Is everyone sitting at a table, or are there a variety of choices such as areas (indoors and out) for physical movement, quiet relaxation, and creativity? It is great for programs to offer different games and art supplies, but what else is available for children?
- As you visit different programs, notice an area for parent communication. If you pick your child up at closing, how do you learn about your child’s day? Is there an updated newsletter that goes home each week? Can you learn information from a website or through social networking? Does the program send information home to families via e-mail?
What does Before and After School care look like at The Children’s Workshop?
At The Children’s Workshop, we focus on a “Cooperative Community” within our school age programs. Here’s what you will see in our Before and After School classrooms:
- Weekly lessons – each week, our school age children are provided with the opportunity to learn about a different age appropriate topic that reflects the needs and interests of the children in our care.
- Curriculum Framework – our unique framework for school age – “Workshop Ways to Grow By”- experiences are grounded in being safe, kind, doing your best, and playing to learn.
- Daily Routines – children thrive when they know and understand what is expected of them. Every day, we follow the same routine and schedule in order to ensure each child’s success.
- Community Involvement – many of our schools focus on community service in their neighborhood communities!
- Skills bases approach – we foster the development of skills such as critical thinking, problem solving, confidence, motivation, leadership, responsibility, respect, conflict resolution, personal safety, nutrition, healthy practices, and more!